Keeping the public safe during red tide events is at the heart of GCOOS Harmful Algal Bloom activities. When it comes to knowing when and where red tides are taking place, communication to residents, tourists, and businesses is key.
Recently, Florida Sea Grant and GCOOS, with funding from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), collaborated on the development of a model to provide Florida’s agencies with a statewide strategic infrastructure to communicate information about red tide.
The model was developed with input from 1,100 Florida residents and natural resources, public health, tourism, media, small business, and hospitality professionals. In addition to a robust collection of these data delivered in nine public reports, the team — Florida Sea Grant’s Dr. Lisa Krimsky and Betty Staugler, and GCOOS Outreach and Education Manager Dr. Chris Simoniello — worked with artist Sara Franklin to create a poster addressing some of the most frequently asked questions and misconceptions that came to light during the study.
Among the priorities identified by participants were the need for consistent messages, guidance on recommended actions to stay safe, and where to go for more information.
“Our goal for the poster was to provide a visually appealing source of science-based information covering priority content that came to light during the study,” said Simoniello. “We want to help people better understand what Florida red tide is, how best to protect themselves and their families, and where to go to find credible information, including alternate activities to help protect the local economy if the beach is not an option.”
In addition to featuring sea life in watercolor details, the poster includes links to resources such as the Red Tide Respiratory Forecast, and the Visit Florida, Florida Department of Health and FWRI’s red tide web pages.
You can also download a high resolution version of the poster to print and use free of charge!