Effect of Pollution on Marine Life
how pollution affects marine life in the sea
A graph on the Sources and Effects of Marine Pollution
On February 2008 researchers found that the introduction of toxins into the environment and oceans, affected every square mile of ocean on the earth and strongly impacted roughly 40 % of marine ecosystems. Marine mammals are having dramatic increases in more sever illnesses, like digestive system problems, and nervous problems, liver disease, endocrine system damage, reproductive malformations, and growth and development issues. Worse yet is the increasing growth in cancer cases. Many scientists around the world believe these illnesses are being caused by contamination of the ocean with man-made toxic chemicals that are released through drainage into the ocean.
Sea otter soaked in oil after Exxon Valdez spill.
A turtle with a plastic ring stuck around its shell due to pollution
Small plastic peices
A bird consumed lots of plastic resulting in its death
Effects of plastic pollution on sea turtles
Effects of Oil Pollution on Marine Wildlife
Embryos of fish are very vulnerable to the exposure to oil even at super low concentrations of less than one per billion. Therefore, even traces of oil at levels considered safe for wildlife can still cause severe damage to fish and other marine creatures. Animals can become coated in oil of ingest it and die quickly. Massive numbers of animals were immediately killed during the Exxon Valdez oil spill which included 2,800 sea otters, 250,000 sea birds, and 300 harbor seals. Oil pollution can also have other effects like eye and liver damage and irritation to the skin. These effects can reduce the survival rates of animals by compromising their ability to find food, shelter,mate,and avoid predators. Direct contact with oil can make marine wildlife sick for years.
Oil also affects coral reefs that provide a habitat for many creatures, oil causes reduced photosynthesis, reproduction, and growth, and can even kill the reef. Coral larvae are extremely sensitive to the toxic effects of oil.
Effects of Toxic Pollution to Marine Life
- Behavior abnormalities
- Birth defects
- Reproductive disorders
- Other long term health problems
Marine Plastic Pollution Facts
- 80% of marine pollution comes from trash and debris from urban runoff.
- Packaging and food containers are the largest components of marine debris. In 1997 plastic pieces outnumber plankton on the ocean surface 6:1.
- Plastic pollution in the ocean has impacted at least 267 species worldwide, 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species, and 43% of all marine mammal species.
- These impacts include fatalities as a result from starvation, ingestion, infection, suffocation, entanglement and drowning