Toxic algae bloom may be linked to Indian River manatee deaths


BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A federal researcher has found three varieties of toxins from microscopic algae that he says are responsible for the deaths of 111 manatees, 51 dolphins and 300 pelicans in the Indian River Lagoon in the past year.

Florida Today reports that scientists said manatees have been eating more of the toxins, which stick to seaweed, because algae blooms have killed the seagrass they normally eat.

Peter Moeller, a research chemist at the National Ocean Service in Charleston, said he still doesn't know which algae are producing them, nor do they know how to eliminate it.

Earlier this week, Florida Senate President Don Gaetz announced that a select committee will study the potential environmental impact of discharges from Lake Okeechobee into Indian River Lagoon and other nearby bodies of water.