Marine Conservation
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Effects of Oil on Marine Life

Effects of Oil on Marine Life | Marine Conservation | Scoop.it
Once oil makes its way into the environment, it poses a range of threats to marine life.
Keyra's insight:

-Animals coated by even small amounts of oil may be unable to swim or fly properly, maintain their body temperature, feed or even reproduce. Oil can also cover beaches and other vital habitats, making it difficult for animals to find uncontaminated food and nesting and resting places.

Some animals are more vulnerable to oil than others. For example, young may be less able to deal with either coatings or exposure to toxic substances than adults due to their size, underdeveloped immune systems and behaviors. Marine mammals, seabirds (especially penguins) and sea turtles are all particularly vulnerable to oil on surface waters as they spend considerable amounts of time on the surface feeding, breathing and resting.

Turtles and marine mammals are vulnerable to floating oil at all life stages as they do not appear to avoid oil slicks and they must inhale large amounts of air prior to diving. Turtles also feed in convergence zones, areas where air flows and currents meet, which tend to collect floating oil.

-Exposure to oil can also result in non-lethal impacts, including liver and eye damage and skin irritations. While these effects may not cause immediate death, they can reduce survival rates by compromising an animal’s ability to find food and shelter, reproduce and avoid predators

-Fish embryos are also particularly vulnerable to oil exposure, even at extremely low concentrations of less that one part per billion. Consequently, even traces of oil pollution at levels often considered safe for wildlife can cause severe damage to fish. Animals that become coated in or ingest oil often die quickly. Large numbers of animals were killed immediately after the Exxon Valdez spill, including as many as 300 harbor seals, 900 bald eagles, 2,800 sea otters and 250,000 seabirds.

 
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Blue Whales: The Giants of Marine Conservation, Chile » Whitley Fund for Nature

Blue Whales: The Giants of Marine Conservation, Chile » Whitley Fund for Nature | Marine Conservation | Scoop.it
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-Blue Whales are the largest animals ever to have existed on earth. At up to 33 metres long and 180 tonnes in weight, their sheer size and grace makes Blue Whales ideal flagship species for ocean conservation. And yet, until 1966 when international action brought the Blue Whale under protection, they were killed on a massive scale.

 -With a single whale yielding 120 barrels of oil, in 1931 the slaughter peaked with nearly 30,000 blue whales killed in one season. After that they became so scarce that whalers turned to other species, but blues have not since recovered their former numbers. -Chilean marine ecologist, Dr. Rodrigo Hucke-Gaete, 33, is founder and President of the Blue Whale Centre, dedicated to understanding marine ecosystems and threats to their function. In 2003, Rodrigo headed a team that discovered one of the most outstanding blue whale feeding and nursing grounds known to exist in the Southern Hemisphere. Located off Chiloé Island and the Corcovado Gulf in southern Chile, the Blue Whales found here appear to be thriving, but the exciting discovery was soon overshadowed by concern. Rapidly intensifying economic activities threaten this relatively pristine ecosystem, with pollution, the spread of introduced species, over-fishing and industrial maritime traffic all increasing in impact. -Since 2002, Rodrigo and his team have been developing an effective conservation strategy for Chile’s blue whale population. Partnered with a range of institutions, they are gaining an understanding of blue whale ecology through tagging, survey and photo identification. They are involving local stakeholders proactively in conservation, and work in schools is changing attitudes towards the ocean. 

 

 

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12 Animals Threatened by the Oil Spill: Animal Planet

12 Animals Threatened by the Oil Spill: Animal Planet | Marine Conservation | Scoop.it
12 animals threatened by the oil spill are explained in this article. Learn about 12 animals threatened by the oil spill.
Keyra's insight:

-Oil spills affect the marine animals greatly

-A total of 21 whale and dolphin species that routinely inhabit the northern Gulf are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and two whale species may be in the area of the spill: Bryde's whales and endangered sperm whales, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The greatest threat is if whales get oil in the filtering structure in their mouths, which could lead to starvation and death, notes the The New York Times.

As well, when marine mammals come to the surface to breathe they may inhale hydrocarbon vapors that can result in lung injuries; oil that comes in contact with the animals' sensitive mucous membranes and eyes may produce irritations. Young cetaceans may be injured due to ingestion of oil from contaminated teats when nursing; and there may be long-term chronic effects as a result of migration through oil-contaminated waters.

-Fish may be affected by spilled oil in different ways. They may come into direct contact and contaminate their gills; the water column may contain toxic and volatile components of oil that may be absorbed by their eggs, larvae, and juvenile stages; and they may eat contaminated food. Fish that are exposed to oil may suffer from changes in heart and respiratory rate, enlarged livers, reduced growth, fin erosion, a variety of biochemical and cellular changes, and reproductive and behavioral responses.

-Diving birds are very susceptible to oil spills because they come into direct contact with the oil. A bird's feathers overlap to trap air and provide the bird with warmth and buoyancy. Birds that come in contact with an oil slick may get oil on their feathers and lose their ability to stay waterproof, they may ingest oil while trying to clean their feathers or when they try to eat contaminated food, and they may suffer long-term reproductive effects.

 
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10 Endangered Ocean Species and Marine Animals

10 Endangered Ocean Species and Marine Animals | Marine Conservation | Scoop.it
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists three hundred and sixty eight marine species which are endangered. We bring to you a list of 10 marine species which might vanish completely from the face of earth.
Keyra's insight:

-Traced in the tropical regions of the oceans around the world, these are subjected to being victimized for its fin. Even the process itself is horrifying as the sharks are caught by fishermen, dragged on board and is cut off their fins while they are still breathing.

-The remaining carcass is thrown into the water and eventually it bleeds to death. Albeit there is a ban imposed upon shark finning in many countries, the result has been abortive as the demand and high price paid for it in the Asian market drives the illegal harvest system, endangering these marine species’ survival.

-Found in the tropical regions of all the world’s oceans, gulfs and seas, this Hawksbill Turtle’s population has been estimated to have declined by 80% over the last century. Known to be a subject of heavy trafficking in the tourist trade in tropical regions for its meat and shells, these are being killed mercilessly for quite a period of time.

 -Even though in many countries harvesting of its eggs is banned, the practice could not be ceased completely. The declination of its population has also resulted due to the degradation of coral reef species which the Hawksbill Turtle primarily feed on.

 -Found mostly found around the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, these seals have been facing threats from disturbing human activities for the sake of meat, oil and skin, the ciguatera poisoning, dominating number of males than females, starvation, predation of Tiger sharks and Galapagos sharks etc which have eventually endangered their species.

 -Hawaiian Monk Seals often get entangled in fishing nets and debris and get killed. Only about an 1100 number of seals are left striving for existence. 
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