PORTLAND — The University of Maine is getting a $201,000 grant for research on red tide in the Gulf of Maine.

Sen. Olympia Snowe says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant covers funding for the first year of a three-year project to study early detection methods for red tide, the name for outbreaks of naturally occurring toxic algae blooms.

In some years, red tide outbreaks have resulted in hundreds of miles of mud flats being shut down to shellfish harvesting in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Snowe says the research will explore cost-effective ways to properly detect the spread of red tide in the Gulf of Maine.