On a basic level, oil spill effects will damage waterways, marine life and plants and animals on the land.
In this section Oil stranded on the shoreline adjacent to a fishing farm. The effects of oil spills can have wide ranging impacts that are often portrayed by the media as long lasting environmental disasters.
Such perceptions are understandable as they are often fuelled by distressing images of oiled birds and other wildlife. It is true that an oil spill can have severe short term effects, especially when organisms are considered on an individual basis.
For example, has the ecosystem retained its normal functions or how quickly will they resume following an oil spill?
Read more Under normal conditions many of the ecosystems most frequently affected by marine oil spills are accustomed to natural disturbances. For example, shallow coral reefs are some of the most dynamic environments, frequently exposed to the intense forces of typhoons and tsunamis.
Disturbances of this nature typically create space for new organisms to settle and grow. In time, natural processes repair damage caused by such events, returning an ecosystem to its previous functions, albeit potentially comprised of different individual organisms.
Natural recovery processes are also important in remediating the effects of oil spills. Recovery can be assisted by the removal of oil through well-conducted clean-up operations, and may sometimes be accelerated with carefully planned restoration measures.
Other key factors include the biological and ecological attributes of the area; the ecological significance of key species and their sensitivity to oil pollution as well as the time of year.
It is important to remember that the clean-up techniques selected will also have a bearing on the environmental effects of a spill. Read more Oil spills may impact the environment in the following ways: Physical smothering of organisms: This is caused by oils with a high viscosity, in other words heavy oils.
They can be replaced by different species undertaking similar functions in which case the implications for the ecosystem as a whole may not be severe.
However, more detrimental is the niche in the community being replaced with organisms performing completely different functions thereby altering the ecosystem dynamics. Loss of shelter or habitat through oiling or clean-up operations. What Characterises Recovery for the Marine Environment?
Extensive research and detailed post-spill studies have shown that even major oil spills will rarely cause permanent effects. Furthermore, marine organisms have varying degrees of natural resilience to these pressures on their habitats.
This natural variability means it is unlikely that exact pre-spill conditions will be reached. It makes determining the point of recovery following an oil spill, and the time it will take, difficult to accurately predict.An oil spill can have a number of direct and indirect effects on fisheries.
Valuable fishing and shellfish areas may be closed for fishing for shorter or longer periods because of the risks of the catch being tainted by oil. Spilled oil affects both marine organisms and animals which live near the coastline. It can decimate populations of certain species, and causes slow, agonizing deaths to others ¹.
There are a number of ways oil effects the environment. Effects of oil spills When oil is spilled or leaked into in waterways and the ocean, it spreads very quickly with the help of wind and currents.
A single gallon of oil can create an oil slick up to . If you're an energy company arguing that oil spills might be a good thing for the communities hit with one, you're doing it wrong.
Long-term damage to species and their habitats and nesting or breeding grounds is one of the most far-reaching environmental effects caused by oil spills. Even species that spend most of their lives at sea, such as various species of sea turtles, must come ashore to nest.
Gulf oil spill. Education. education. oil spills. Share This.
In addition to large oil spills such as this, non-point sources of pollution continue to threaten our ocean ecosystem. These sources can be as significant as the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill and are more directly linked to individual behaviors.
Oil spill effects on wildlife.