2021 red tide experts

red tide atlantic ocean

As the peak of red tide season approaches, FIU experts are available to talk about how Florida red tide blooms form and their impacts on wildlife and people.

John Berry, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Berry is a chemist with specialization in environmental chemistry and chemical toxicology/pharmacology including a focus on toxigenic marine and freshwater algae in association with “harmful algal blooms” (HABs). He can speak to the toxicity of regionally important Florida Red Tide, other marine and freshwater algae and the effects of HAB toxins in relation to the environment and human health. 

Thomas Frankovich, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
FIU Institute of Environment

Frankovich is an expert on water quality and algal communities where freshwater is discharged into Florida’s coastal estuaries. A marine ecologist and diatom taxonomist, Frankovich works in coastal marine communities relating water quality to seagrass, macroalgal, and diatom communities. His interests include investigations of seagrass die-off, underwater light availability and diatom taxonomy. He is currently monitoring water quality and algal communities where freshwater is discharged into Florida’s coastal estuaries.

Stephen Leatherman, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Earth and Environment
FIU Institute of Environment 
Leatherman is a coastal environmental scientist. He can speak to how red tide forms, its impact on beach quality and tourism and remediation efforts. Leatherman is an expert in sea-level rise impacts, storm impacts, beach erosion and rip currents. He has written or edited 20 books and National Academy of Science reports, as well as more than 200 articles and reports on coastal issues. Leatherman is known to the public as “Dr. Beach” for his annual ranking the country’s “Top 10 Beaches.”

Kathleen Rein, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Rein’s research focuses on algal toxins including the organism that causes the Florida red tide. She’s helped address a wide array of issues related to harmful algal blooms. She can discuss what is the Florida red ride, what causes it and its potential effects on marine life. Rein can speak to potential routes of exposure to algal toxins, their persistence in the environment, and their effects on human and animal health.


Jeremy Kiszka, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
FIU Institute of Environment

Kiszka is a research scientist in FIU’s Marine Sciences Program. He can speak to the effects of Florida red tide on marine mammals, including manatees and dolphins. Kiszka’s research focuses on the ecology, behavior and conservation of large marine vertebrates, including whales, dolphins, sea turtles and sharks. He has worked in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and South Pacific. He is fluent in French.