Karenia brevis (K. brevis) blooms are of great interest and have been commonly reported throughout the Gulf of Mexico. In this study we propose a detection technique for blooms with low backscatter characteristics, which we name the Red Band Difference (RBD) technique, coupled with a selective K. brevis bloom classification technique, which we name the K. brevis Bloom Index (KBBI). These techniques take advantage of the relatively high solar induced chlorophyll fluorescence and low backscattering of K. brevis blooms. The techniques are applied to the detection and classification of K. brevis blooms from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) ocean color measurements off the Gulf of Mexico. To assess the efficacy of the techniques for detection and classification, simulations, including chlorophyll fluorescence (assuming 0.75% quantum yield) based on K. brevis blooms and non-K. brevis blooms conditions were performed. These show that effective bloom detection from satellite measurements requires a threshold of RBD>0.15W/m(2)/microm/sr, corresponding to about 5mg/m(3) of chlorophyll. Blooms can be detected at lower concentration by lowering the RBD threshold but false positives may increase. The classification technique is found most effective for thresholds of RBD>0.15W/m(2)/microm/sr and KBBI>0.3*RBD. The techniques were applied and shown to be effective for well documented blooms of K. brevis in the Gulf of Mexico and compared to other detection techniques, including FLH approaches. Impacts of different atmospheric corrections on results were also examined.