Photo by Catherine

Red tide spotted at Carkeek Park

A red tide was spotted earlier today by Ballard News-Tribune reader Catherine.

Don't worry, though, it's not the toxic kind, according to the Seattle Times, which reported on its appearance first near Edmonds. This red tide is the result of an algae bloom, specifically noctiluca, which is often seen in the Puget Sound as the sun warms the water, creating large reddish-brown streaks in the water.

The Times' has more:

"Noctiluca is a harmless single-celled micro-organism that bioluminesces and occurs normally at this time of year. This kind of plankton does not photosynthesize, but gets its red color from the phytoplankton it eats."

They add, "If you see red, brown or orange water in Puget Sound, it is likely this bloom. However, Ecology staff urge caution: It could be a toxic algae bloom that is poisonous to humans and animals."

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