How Your Morning Cup of Coffee Is Helping Scientists Fight Red Tide

Red tide, a natural phenomenon in the Gulf of Mexico, is believed to be caused by human waste near the coast. A first-of-its-kind program to track its origin is currently underway in Tampa Bay. Scientists are collecting water samples from the Hillsborough River to analyze chemical tracers found in everyday products such as caffeine, coffee, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides. The goal is to identify nitrogen hotspots and provide decision-makers and resource managers with the information they need to prioritize actions and interventions. The Nutrient Fingerprint Project uses cutting-edge science to analyze the chemicals. Collaboration is key to success, with Ocean Conservancy working with Tampa Bay Waterkeeper, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, and researchers from top universities across the state.

The science is complex, but the goal is to track things we consume. Caffeine, a compound commonly used in coffee, can help solve the problem by detecting its direct wastewater influence on a specific area. Citizens are also leading the way in addressing the issue by drinking coffee and artificial sweeteners. A group of scientists from various states, California, and Boston, agreed that more data is needed to provide policymakers with sound data to base their policies on the situation.

Read More @ ABC

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