Ocean heat waves causing concerns in the Coastal Bend

Posted at 10:36 PM, Jul 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-27 09:01:43-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Extreme heat and a lack of rain and wind has led to unprecedented water temperatures in the Florida Keys, damaging life under sea.

In the Coastal Bend, residents have felt those triple digits. This raises the question if marine life is safe.

Ed Busky, the director at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. He said the lack of oxygen can cause problems for marine life.

"It is somewhat of a concern because as water temperatures goes up, the ability of the ocean to hold oxygen decreases," he said.

These heat waves are also potentially killing off sea creatures.

"Because if you get oxygen really low it can kill fish and shrimp and crabs and things at the bottom," Busky said.

Quinn Hendrick with Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries agreed that water temperature can affect small organisms causing a chain reaction.

"It just really trickles up from that point. You start to see bait fish kill off and that's impacts larger fisheries and the birds who rely on those fish species," Hendrick said.

While our waters remain at average temperatures for now and the sea life remains safe for now. Ocean heatwaves present us with bigger future problems.

"The more heat energy there is in the ocean, the more energy there is to form hurricanes and tropical storm," Hendrick said.