Algae Blooms: Why They Matter & What Could (and Should) We Do About Them?

Presentation  |  May 14

Phytoplankton are critConsical to the functioning of aquatic ecosystems. As the base of the food chain, they convert energy from the sun into food for other organisms, fueling the productivity of coastal ecosystems. Some species of phytoplankton produce toxins that they use to reduce grazing, gain a competitive edge, or assist in obtaining nutrition.

While these toxic species may not normally pose a risk to human or natural resources when present at low numbers, under the right (or wrong!) conditions, they can form massive blooms that produce enough toxin to kill fish and other aquatic organisms and can cause illness in humans. Other bloom-forming species that are not toxic can deplete oxygen from the water, block sunlight from seagrasses, cause foul-smelling scums, and can clog the gills of fish.

All of these blooms can disrupt ecosystems and negatively impact human health and economies. This talk will describe some of the common algal blooms we have in Florida, including red tide, the impacts they have on human and ecosystem health, and discuss some of the strategies for dealing with them.


Vince received his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with minors in Chemistry and Sociology from Christopher Newport University in Virginia in 1997. From there, he worked as a laboratory chemist before acquiring a position as a tech in the electron microscopy lab at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester, Virginia.

He entered into the graduate program at VIMS in 2001 working on Pfiesteria. Vince earned his doctoral degree from VIMS in 2008 and accepted a post-doctoral appointment at the University of Southern Mississippi Department of Marine Science working on optical detection and characterization of harmful algal blooms in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Following the completion of his post-doc appointment near the end of 2010, he accepted a position as staff scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory in the Phytoplankton Ecology program.

Vince is now the Program Manager of the Phytoplankton Ecology Program at Mote. Holds a B.S. in Environmental Science, Christopher Newport University Ph.D. in Marine Science, College of William and Mary, School of Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

full list of 2019 Presenters

Dr. Jeff Schmid | Evenings at the Conservancy

Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles

Dr. Jeff Schmid

Conservancy Research Manager

Marisa Carrozzo | Evenings at the Conservancy

Western Everglades

Kathy worley &
Marisa Carrozzo

Conservancy Science Director &
Conservancy Senior Policy Specialist

Dr. Jerry Jackson | Evenings at the Conservancy


Dr. Jerry Jackson

Professor Emeritus of Ecological Sciences, FGCU


Joanna Fitzgerald | Evenings at the Conservancy

Wildlife Rehabilitation

Joanna Fitzgerald

Director, von Arx Wildlife Hospital

Dr. Harold Wanless | Evenings at the Conservancy

Sea Level Rise

Dr. Harold Wanless

University of Miami | Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences


Dr. Vince Lovko | Evenings at the Conservancy

Algae Blooms

Dr. Vince Lovko

Mote Marine | Manager of the Phytoplankton Ecology Program


The lecture series frequently sells out. We encourage you to reserve your seat for any of the upcoming presentations. To attend, please pre-register for the event by emailing Sophia Navarra at sophian@conservancy.org or by calling 239.403.4207. You will receive either an email or verbal confirmation of your reservation. If you do not receive a confirmation, we do not have you registered, please contact us again for confirmation. We stop accepting reservations after 3:00PM the day of the presentation.

Doors open at 5:30 PM. Program starts at 6 PM.

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