How did an octopus end up in a parking garage?

An octopus ended up out of its element in Miami earlier this month.

Miguel Morenatti/AP
The moon rises behind the castle of Almodovar in Cordoba, southern Spain, on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. The Supermoon on Nov. 14, 2016, was the closest a full moon has been to Earth since Jan. 26, 1948.

Coal mines have the canary, endangered species have the panda bear, melting ice has the polar bear, and now sea level rise has … the octopus?

Climate change's impact on sea levels has made tidal flooding in Miami more severe, according to scientists. After the "supermoon" earlier this month triggered high tides, parts of Miami flooded and at least one sea creature was left far from home: an octopus that became stranded in a flooded parking garage, reported the Miami Herald.

Miami resident Richard Conlin discovered the octopus, and shared images of the displaced sea creature on Facebook. According to Conlin, the octopus was brought home by building security officers, who returned the animal to the ocean in a bucket of water. [Supermoon Photos: Full Moon Rises Across the Globe]

Marine biologist Kathleen Sullivan Sealey, from the University of Miami, told the Miami Herald that the cyclical "king tides" — a period of especially high tides caused by the alignment of the sun, Earth and moon's gravitational forces— were intensified by the supermoon and likely washed the octopus out of pipes underneath the garage.

"When that much sea water comes in, the octopus is like 'What's this?' and goes to explore and ends up in a bad place," Sealey told the Miami Herald after examining the photos. She said the marooned octopus was either a small Caribbean reef octopus or a large Atlantic pygmy octopus.

Though the building's drainage pipes were designed safely above high-water marks, Sealey said rising sea levels have left some of the pipes partially submerged during very high tides, such as the king tide. These submerged pipes combine two of an octopus’ favorite things, Sealey said: a cramped, dark space with fish to eat.

In his Facebook posts, Conlin noted that his building has been flooding more frequently.

"This flooding to this extreme is new and gets worse each moon," he wrote. "In the past the floor of the garage would be ‘damp’ but this extreme flooding is new." Conlin added that every day for the past six months there has been "some type of water seepage in the garage."

Florida is especially at risk of flooding due to climate change. A recent study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determined that about 13 million Americans could be affected by rising seas caused by climate change, and nearly half of them live in Florida. In Miami alone, a third of the county could be forced to relocate, according to the NOAA study.

And sea creatures that wash ashore may become a more common occurrence, Sealey said, because ocean waters will be pushed deeper onto land more frequently due to rising seas.

"The sea is moving in, so we have to share the space," Sealey said.

Original article on Live Science.

Editor's Recommendations

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.