red' tide'

a brownish-red discoloration of marine waters caused by the presence of enormous numbers of certain microscopic flagellates, esp. the dinoflagellates, that often produce a potent neurotoxin that accumulates in the tissues of shellfish, making them poisonous when eaten by humans and other vertebrates.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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