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USF Marine Scientists Deploy Robotic Glider to Investigate Source of Red Tide

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Researchers at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science are back onshore following an investigation into whether or not red tide is crawling along the sea floor.

In collaboration with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the team launched a research vessel Friday from Clearwater Beach and traveled 50 miles northwest to an area known to spawn red tide blooms this time of year. They deployed an underwater glider, which is an autonomous robot that collects subsurface data vital to understanding how the ocean works.

The underwater glider is efficient as it has wings and ballast adjustments that allow it to travel while floating and sinking along the way. It uses sensors to measure the likelihood of algae blooms and their location. This is significant as deep-water cells may initiate a new bloom or intensify an existing bloom under certain conditions.

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