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Does red tide cause bad shellfish?

People often associate red tide with shellfish poisoning, but researchers don't have a solid connection between poisoning and this phenomenon. Red tide occurs when dinoflagellates, or the single-celled organism that shellfish eat, explode in population, tinting water reddish. Sometimes dinoflagellates ingest toxic alkaloids, which makes them toxic to the shellfish that consume them - and therefore toxic to humans. However, dinoflagellates can become toxic without a population explosion, so scientists don't think that red tide is a reliable indicator of bad shellfish.

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