The Impacts of Oil Spills on Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems

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In this paper am going to examine the factors contributing to oil spills, and their effects on marine and terrestrial ecosystems. This addition of phytoplankton leads to depletion of oxygen levels in water, making it hard for survival of animal and plant population in the water. These oil spills do not only affect the marine system but also the chronic urban contamination and the economic loss. The oil spill has total effect on marine life despite the distance from the oil spill. The closer the oil spill is to the shoreline, the more damage it causes. The effects are also felt toward the offshore and the coastal environment.

Oil spill is an accidental or
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A very small percent of birds exposed to oil spills survives unless there is an intervention by a human (Peter & Smithson, 2002).

The marine mammals that are largely affected by oil spills consists of the Seals, sea lions, polar bears, sea otters, whales, dolphins, and manatees. This is due to their adaptation main power in fur and blubber. The mammals living in a cold environment are mostly affected by hypothermia. Other effects include organ malfunction due to toxic exposure. The organ malfunction consists of interstitial emphysema gastrointestinal ulceration. The mammals encounter a lot of stress due to restriction of diet and continuous exposure to oil. Seals are highly vulnerable to oil spills since they spend much of their feeding time near the surface of the water. Fur seals are exposed to oil adhering to the fur. The adhering leads to the fur loosing insulation ability. The oil coating on fur seals results also in reduction in swimming ability and a lowered mobility of the seals on land. The seals are also affected by poisoning caused by feeding on already contaminated prey and inhalation of oil droplets.

Sea otters usually spend their time on the water surface and are totally dependant on fur for isolation and float ability. The famous Exxon Valdez disaster is blamed to be the main cause of 15,000 otters, due to ingestion of oil. Polar bears depend on blubber and a thick

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