Dr. George Philippidis, Associate Dean for Research, Receives Florida Red Tide Grant
Dr. George Philippidis, Sustainable Energy Concentration Director
TAMPA, Oct. 20, 2020 – The Patel College of Global Sustainability (PCGS) joins in the fight to lessen the impacts of Florida red tide, a harmful algae bloom that near-yearly plagues the southwest Florida coast. Dr. George Philippidis joins scientists from the world-renowned Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, based in Sarasota, FL, In their effort to develop technologies and methodologies to mitigate Florida red tide, protect Florida’s wildlife, and help support Florida’s economy.
Florida red tides, often referred to as a bloom, are caused by higher-than-normal concentrations of the microscopic algae species Karenia brevis. Cells of K. brevis contain toxins that when ingested or released into the environment can cause mortality in marine animals and respiratory irritation in beachgoers. While scientists have been advancing the understanding of these blooms for decades, the field of finding solutions that lessen the impacts on humans and wildlife alike has often been overlooked and underfunded until recent years. Dr. Philippidis’ team will isolate and study natural marine algicidal bacteria associated with Harmful Algae Blooms in an effort to develop a sustainable mitigation strategy for red tides.
USF-PCGS will be funded by Mote through the Florida Red Tide Mitigation & Technology Development Initiative, an effort by the State of Florida led by Mote in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The Initiative was established in 2019 when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed 379.2273 Florida Statutes into law. This is the second round of projects selected for the Initiative through a competitive grant review process.
“Given the high environmental and societal costs of red tides, we look forward to adding a sustainable mitigation technology to Florida’s toolbox for suppressing and preventing algae blooms. USF, as a Florida and national leader in algae research and technology, is in a perfect position to contribute to the State’s efforts against red tides ” said Dr. George Philippidis, Associate Dean for Research at PCGS and Director of USF’s Biofuels & Bioproducts Lab. “This Initiative allows us to bring the best and brightest scientists, technology developers, engineers, and more together in an effort to fight Florida red tide,” said Mote President & CEO Dr. Michael P. Crosby, who also serves as the Chair of the Technical Advisory Council for the Initiative. “We know that addressing environmental challenges such as Florida red tide is paramount to protecting Florida’s precious marine ecosystem, and I’m looking forward to the advancement of these highly-innovative projects that will push the needle for the newer field of mitigating harmful algae blooms.”
For more information about the Florida Red Tide Mitigation & Technology Development Initiative, additional partner projects, and Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, please visit www.redtidemtdi.org