The recent supermoon created difficult circumstances for an octopus in Miami, which found itself on the floor of a parking garage as a result of enhanced tidal flooding along the South Florida coast.
The “king tide”—a cyclical effect made more pronounced by the supermoon—likely washed the octopus out of pipes underneath the garage, a marine biologist at the University of Miami told the Miami Herald.
Octopuses prefer cramped, dark spaces, and the marine invertebrates are increasingly drawn to pipes as the rising sea in the Miami area means more of them are now underwater.
While this may be first time a resident has reported sighting an octopus in a parking garage, this incident is merely one of many issues the Miami area has faced as a result of rising sea levels. A University of Miami study published earlier this year found that flooding from rising tides has increased 400 percent since 2006.
Tides in general are driven by the gravitational effects of the moon. A supermoon happens when the full moon coincides with the lunar orb’s closest approach to Earth during its egg-shaped orbit. That particular alignment can enhance the heightened tides, known as king tides, which happen periodically around the world.
In South Florida, flooding caused by king tides now more regularly swamps the area, leading the city to take emergency measures to try to stop the rising waters. These include raising and redesigning roads to keep them above the water level.
The main concern remains the groundwater, where underground saltwater is seeping in, threatening the water supply of six million residents.
Luckily for the octopus, the supermoon didn’t spell disaster. Building security scooped up the still living animal in a bucket and carried it to the ocean, according to Robert Conlin, who found the octopus.
Miami is looking to the future, hoping to stem the tide of the flooding. But according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates, this may mean sharing more space with local marine life.