Over the past decades, there had been news about oil spills and pollution on different bodies of water. There were countless stories of marine life being affected by these incidents, mostly, dead deep-sea creatures being washed up the shore.
However, the real effect of oil spills on marine life is still unclear. As oil is extremely toxic to all wildlife, the toxic effects on marine life begin when the oil reaches the water. It’s then important for authorities and companies to use spill absorbent items and help save the environment. Here’s how oil spills affect marine life:
When sea creatures come in contact with oil through ingestion or skin absorption, potential alteration in the thermal insulation will occur. Thus, some animals might die of hypothermia. Moreover, there can be damage to marine life behaviour and their reproductive system.
Oil spills can affect seals, dolphins, sea otters, beavers, whales, and sea lions. Their sensitivity depends on how important their fur or blubber is for keeping them warm. As a result, those animals that dwell in cold climate are more vulnerable.
Indirect contact or exposure to the oil spill may affect animals that eat other organisms. For instance, floating oil can contaminate plankton, which includes fish eggs, larvae of invertebrates, and algae. Bigger animals ingest these planktons, making them consume contaminated organisms.
Lack of Usual Food
In instances that there is a large oil spill and a mass mortality happens, it will greatly affect the marine animals. This could affect the ecosystem that can lead to serious long-term ecological effects.
When oil spill and pollution affect the waters, the organisms and animals living in them are negatively impacted too. Aside from that, humans, animals, and seabirds, which eat sea creatures, may become affected too.