Red Tide Alert (2) - Reading Comprehension

Read the transcript of a news report, then answer T (true), F (false), or NG (not given) to the statements that follow.

Red Tide Alert

Sue: “Residents and visitors are being warned today of a red-tide advisory that has been released this morning for areas affecting the western coast of Lee county, and specifically Pine Island, Sanibel Island, and the Captiva Islands.

Signs have been posted, by local authorities, on beaches in the vicinity alerting the public to marine conditions. To give us more information, we have with us today Bob Seaver, our station’s meteorologist, to explain the phenomena. Bob, for those who are new to the area, what is red tide?”

Bob: “Good morning, Sue. A red tide occurs when a high concentration of microorganisms create an algae bloom in a body of water. In our part of Florida, specifically the Gulf of Mexico, the species that causes most red tides is Karenia brevis.

This organism produces a potent neurotoxin that can affect the central nervous system of fish and other marine life. When a “bloom” occurs, the water in the affected area will become discolored, turning a red or brown. It is also possible that despite the bloom, the water may remain its normal hue.”

Sue: “Is it dangerous to swimmers?”

Bob: “It depends. In some people, red tide can cause skin irritation and burning eyes.

Those with respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, are vulnerable. Let’s be honest, Sue, the stench of the phenomenon, even if the water is not discolored, is enough to put anyone off from taking a dip in the water—and holding your nose is no way to do the backstroke! Anyone can plainly see that swimming with dead fish and shellfish is just not something a normal person would want to do.”

Sue: “How long does this condition last?”

Bob: “It’s hard to tell. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, together with local authorities, do testing on the levels of the harmful microorganism and report the results. So it’s about levels, you see? Sometimes it can last weeks or even a year.

However, that is also a separate issue from the actual cleanup of the dead marine life. In no way does that suggest it’s safe to get back into the water. The best advice, as always, is to stay tuned.”