Even modest oil exposure can harm coastal and marine birds

October 12, 2017, Wiley

Many birds and other wildlife die following an oil spill, but there are also other potential long-terms effects of oil exposure on animals. In a recent Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry study that examined blood samples from birds present in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and 2011 following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, even birds with small amounts of oil present on their feathers experienced problems related to their red blood cells.

The findings show that even modest oil exposure can cause problems for individual birds and .

"We found that oil-induced injury to birds is far more wide-reaching than previously suspected," said Dr. Jesse Fallon, lead author of the study. "Even birds with relatively limited exposure to oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill sustained damage to circulating and had evidence of anemia, which can adversely affect reproduction and reduce survival."

Explore further: Even light oiling is like flying with a ball and chain for birds

More information: Jesse A. Fallon et al, Hematological indices of injury to lightly oiled birds from the deepwater horizon oil spill, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (2017). DOI: 10.1002/etc.3983

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Ocean acidification may reduce sea scallop fisheries

September 21, 2018

Each year, fishermen harvest more than $500 million worth of Atlantic sea scallops from the waters off the east coast of the United States. A new model created by scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.