More than a billion marine animals along Canada’s Pacific coast are likely dead as a result of the heat wave that swept across the west of the country last week, experts say. At the same time, they warn of the vulnerability of ecosystems to extreme temperatures. He writes The Guardian.
The heat wave in Canada and the United States brought temperatures of up to 40 degrees to several places along the coast.
The beach cracked
Marine biologist Christopher Harley from the University of British Columbia in Canada is one of the experts who calculated the likely number of dead sea creatures. It was during a stroll along a Vancouver-area beach that the scale of the disaster became apparent.
– The beach doesn’t tend to creak when you walk on it, but there were so many empty mussels everywhere that you couldn’t avoid stepping on the dead animals when you were walking, says the marine biologist according to The Guardian.
Harley was also greeted by the stench of rotten mussels. Several of them were practically boiled by the abnormally hot water, as he describes it. Dead snails, starfish and clams were also found at the water’s edge.
– It was an overwhelming experience.
May affect water quality
According to Harley, the mass death of shells can temporarily affect water quality in the area because shells, such as mussels and mussels, help filter the sea. This way, the water is clear enough for the sunlight reaches the eelgrass meadows at the bottom. Shells are also home to many animal species.
– A “mussel bed” one square meter wide can house dozens, even a hundred species.
Thus, mass death may affect even more species than those that died as a direct result of heat.
Colleagues of Harley have reported the discovery of Dead Sea anemones, fish species and oysters.
Mussels can multiply to full strength over a two-year period. Starfish and mussels can live for decades and reproduce much more slowly, meaning the species will likely spend longer recovering from the heat wave.