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As Red Tide returns to Florida coast, government shutdown affects some efforts to track it

Scientists tracking the toxic algae are missing information provided by federal agencies

Reported by for Tampa Bay Times

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - The Red Tide algae bloom that floated away from shore around Thanksgiving has popped back up near the beaches of Sarasota and Manatee counties, but scientists say the federal government shutdown is making it harder to track where the toxic algae is and where it might go next.

Because of the shutdown, federal scientists who were helping analyze data and produce forecasts and other reports are sitting at home, not working in their laboratories.

"Tracking the Red Tide takes a village," explained Barb Kirkpatrick, a harmful algae bloom expert who is executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association, which works with federal scientists.

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