Beaches along the shore of England's south coast got a surprise over the weekend when thousands of marine animals, most notedly starfish, washed ashore and left the sand littered with their bodies. Other creatures included lobsters, clams, bryozoans, and anemones. Scientists say that the freezing temperatures and recent storms are to blame.
This stranding is one of the biggest on record for the UK but mass strandings are not uncommon, says Andrew Cabrinovic, the Natural History Museum's curator of echinoderms. "They occur to a greater or lesser degree every year," he explains. "However, strandings on this scale do not happen often."
Nevertheless, scientists are not particularly concerned about the fate of the starfish. Common starfish reproduce quickly and the population usually reaches up to hundreds of millions of individuals. Experts are confident the population will survive this extreme event. Want to learn more? Watch the video!