Take Two

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Alex Cohen & A Martínez

Beachcombing: Hunting for red tide with algae-seeking robots (photos)

by Sanden Totten | Take Two

Carl Oberg, an engineering technician for the USC Robotics Research Lab, prepares the submersible robot Rusalka for an underwater mission to monitor levels of acid and other climactic factors in the Pacific Ocean. Grant Slater/KPCC

 Red tide is that naturally-occuring phenomenon during which algae take over a stretch of ocean, turning it red. At their most intense, these algal blooms produce toxins that sicken - and at times kill - sea animals.

Scientists say red tides are happening more frequently in Southern California, and with more toxicity. But they don't know why.

In the latest story in our Beachcombing series, KPCC's Sanden Totten introduces us to a robot that scientists hope will find some answers.

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