SOUTHAMPTON - Toxic rust tide has spread across the entire Peconic Estuary, creating a lethal threat to marine life, according to Stony Brook University researchers.

The university's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences says the rust tide began as isolated patches near Sag Harbor earlier this month. It has since spread from Riverhead to East Hampton.

In prepared remarks, Professor Christopher Gobler says the rust tide is triggered by climate change and the warmer summer temperatures.

Stony Brook also says elevated levels of nitrogen in the water is also a trigger, and can be deadly to fish and shellfish alike.

Researchers say the rust tide will intensify in the Peconics and spread to Shinnecock Bay in the coming weeks.