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High temperatures in Texas affect marine life as the water heats up

"It can be pretty demanding on marine communities when the water goes above a certain threshold," said CEO and President of the Texas State Aquarium Jesse Gilbert.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — These days, as soon as you walk out of the door, you can feel the uncomfortable wave of heat hit your body. Fortunately, we have access to air conditioning, but for some animals the solution isn't as simple.

As the weather gets warmer, so does the water, which impacts marine life who depend on the ambient temperature of their environment.

"It can be pretty demanding on marine communities when the water goes above a certain threshold," said CEO and President of the Texas State Aquarium Jesse Gilbert.

Higher temperatures also affect how much oxygen fish and invertebrate are able to extract from the water. "Oxygen can become a little bit more scarce in the water," Gilbert added. "It tends to trend downward when the heat is up."

Luckily, Gilbert said fish can move out of the warmer areas when the heat becomes too much for them, but challenges arise when invertebrates don't have a chance to move. That is something to keep an eye on.

Animals who don't have a hard time relocating, like sea turtles and birds, are also affected by the heat. Their experience is a little different, though.

Texas Sealife Center Director of Rehabilitation Amanda Terry told 3NEWS, "they're pretty good at coping with it. When they do get injured, when it is this hot, time is of the essence to get them help."

Due to a lack of water and rain, it's especially difficult for animals to drink and cool off. "If you can leave some bird baths out, things like that, that'll help all the critters. Not just the birds, but anybody else," Terry suggested.

As for the sea turtles, they have the ability to go out to deeper water where it's cooler. But if you do happen to come across one, move them into some shade and then "call a rehab facility or somebody to get those animals help quicker, so they're not baking in the sun," Terry instructed. 

If the high temperatures across Texas continue to rise, monitoring how wildlife respond to it will be especially important. If you see an animal who is struggling in the heat, always remember that time is of the essence. 

Here are three rehab centers linked below that you can call for help:

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