The Impacts of Oil Spills on Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems

Topics: Oil spill, Exxon Valdez oil spill, Petroleum Pages: 4 (1229 words) Published: May 14, 2013
Buy custom Impacts of Oil Spills on Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems essay 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 intentional release of liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment. The environment is onshore or offshore leading to pollution. Mostly the key pathway of oil spills is through the marine oil spills. In this pathway, oil is released into the aquatic environment. The process is through spills from tankers drilling rigs and wells. Naturally oil may enter the marine life through oil seeps.

The effects of oil spills are in many cases long-term effects. The short-term effects, though, can also be disastrous.  Oil spills are dependant on wind and currents for faster spreading. When oil mixes with the water, it forms a sticky substance known as "mousse".  This substance clings to whatever it comes into contact with since it is sticky. Some marine animals mistake it for food. Birds usually have a hard time flying after coming into contact with the "mousse". The mousse makes the birds’ feather heavier, making it impossible for the bird to fly thus drowning. The bird also becomes vulnerable to predators since it cannot fly. Predators that feed on these dead birds also end up dying due to poisoning by the mousse (McCoy & Salerno, 2010). The oil enters into the plumage structure of the bird and reduces the insulation capability. The...
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