Sea birds, sea otters, and killer whales are among the species that are most affected by oil spills. If oil covers a bird, the weight of the oil makes it impossible for the bird to fly, so they try to clean themselves. Birds then ingest the oil, poisoning themselves. Oil can fill sea otters’ air bubbles, which can cause the otter to die from low body temperature. Finally, oil can clog a whale’s blow hole, and then the whale will try to ingest the oil, poisoning itself in a similar manner as birds.
Also, small organisms such as plankton, bottom dwellers, and even seaweed can be poisoned by oil contamination.
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