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Definition of RED TIDE
: seawater discolored by the presence of large numbers of dinoflagellates (especially of the genera Gonyaulax and Gymnodinium) which produce a toxin poisonous especially to many forms of marine vertebrate life and to humans who consume contaminated shellfish — compare saxitoxin
: seawater discolored by the presence of large numbers of dinoflagellates especially of the genera Gonyaulax and Gymnodinium which produce a toxin poisonous especially to many forms of marine vertebrate life and to humans who consume contaminated shellfish—see paralytic shellfish poisoning; compare saxitoxin
Discoloration of seawater caused by dinoflagellates during periodic blooms (population increases). Toxic substances released by these organisms into the water may be lethal to fish and other marine life, and they irritate the human respiratory system. Coastal resorts sometimes close when breaking waves release the toxic substances into the air. The causes of red tide are uncertain; it may require the confluence of several natural phenomena, in which human influence may or may not play a part.