- Last week’s extreme heatwave that gripped British Columbia may have killed over one billion inter-tidal animals like mussels and starfish.
- The marine ecologist compared a mussel on the rock enduring the scorching temperatures to “a toddler left in a car on a hot day”.
- From June 25 to July 1, the province’s death toll was 719—three times higher than normal—and the heat was “a significant contributing factor to the increased number of deaths.”
“It’s “a frightening warning sign,” said one observer.
“Heartbreaking,” another commented.
“Can we now mobilize en masse to save all Earthly beings?” asked another.
Those were some of the responses to new reporting by the CBC on how last week’s extreme heatwave that gripped British Columbia may have led to the deaths of over one billion intertidal animals like mussels and starfish that inhabit the Salish Sea coastline.
Christopher Harley, a marine ecologist at the University of British Columbia, told the outlet about how he had noticed a foul odor from dead intertidal animals on rocks at Vancouver’s popular Kitsilano Beach as the city experienced record heat. Harley then set off with a team of researchers to gather data on nearby coastlines.
What the researchers noticed, CBC reported, were “endless rows of mussels with dead meat attached inside the shell, along with other dead creatures like sea stars and barnacles.”
They tracked temperatures too, recording 50°C (122°F) on rocky shoreline habitats, well above the high 30s (around 100°F) mussels can endure for short spurts. Harley likened a mussel on the rock enduring the scorching temperatures to “a toddler left in a car on a hot day”—stuck “at the mercy of the environment” until the tide returns…”
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