Hurricanes and Marine Life

When hurricanes blow through an area, they don’t just have an impact on humans. These intense wind events also cause great damage to the ecosystems (pdf) they touch. They harm marine animals by spewing pollution and debris onto their habitats. While there are a few animals, such as sharks and dolphins, that can sense the change in air pressure as a hurricane approaches and swim away, many animals cannot or don’t know to leave. Stationary animals such as coral polyps are forced to take the full force of the hurricane. In years following hurricanes coral cover has been reduced by 15 to 20 percent. As for fish, after hurricane Andrew hit Louisiana, an estimated 9 million fish were left dead.