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FOLIO LINE FOLIO LINE M c C l a t c h y - Tr i b u n e

Shorelines and marsh are fragile
habitats and important spawning
grounds. Oil would smother life.

Sea turtles
Officials plan to relocate 70,000 eggs
from nests to Florida’s east coast. Five
endangered species are in the Gulf.

Scientists are uncertain about the final outcome

of the oil spill, but they do know that oil upsets TURTLE

the natural balance of the ocean from its

glistening surface to the dark depths. SPOONBILL
Blue crabs lay
Graphic by Cindy Jones-Hulfachor/Sun Sentinel eggs in coastal
areas now
Images not to scale covered in oil.

Surface oil greatly Whale sharks are Oiled shellfish taste Oysters are now dying Oiled mangrove roots Seabirds with oil-soaked
impacts surface feeders, at risk because they bad to prey, impacting from oil. Those that do damage shelter-providing feathers may get hypo-
larvae and juvenile fish are surface feeders, food in the food chain. live may store toxins in trees and feeding grounds thermia and risk drowning.
and contaminates the sucking plankton, their shells as they grow. for birds and juvenile fish. Predators target birds that
shoreline and marsh. fish eggs and small fish. can’t fly. Only a fraction of
birds will survive cleaning.

THE Oil kills gulf algae Oil hampers the

which is a floating diffusion of air into
FOOD habitat for 145 types of water, breaking Dolphins collect oil when
CHAIN invertebrates, 100 fish, 5 the cycle of replenishing they surface, which can
Phytoplankton and sea turtles and 19 the ocean’s oxygen. affect their eyesight.
algae are at the base seabirds, from the Gulf
of the food chain. Oil to the Atlantic Ocean.
that contaminates Killer oil clouds
the base passes up are lethal to
the food chain to fragile coral reefs.
larger prey.

Oil balls clog whales’

baleen, which filters
plankton and krill. OIL DANGERS
Plankton, microscopic
animals and plants are FACTORS IN Makeup of oil Length of Type of Age of Food supply
vulnerable on the water’s AN OIL SPILL or dispersant exposure exposure marine life contamination
surface and deep into the
Gulf. Present oil also is EFFECTS ON FISH Oil or dispersants ▲ Ingested ● Inhaled ■ Contact
harmful to marine larvae AND MARINE LIFE
released into plankton.
■ Burns to the ■ Fin ▲ ● ■ Toxins collect ■ Larvae and fish
eyes, possible erosion in tissue poisoning eggs are vulnerable
THE Bluefin tuna breed
blindness larger marine life in to oil. Oil can be
only in the Gulf and in
VAST BLUE the Mediterranean.
the food chain. absorbed through
the eggshell.
Deep underwater clouds It is possible that their ■ Scales or
of oil or dispersed oil will numbers may not skin lesions
take its toll on deepwater recover. lead to
marine life. BLUE infection
Marlin, snapper and
grouper are affected by
oil deep in the ocean as
they swim down hundreds
of feet.


WHITETIP Leatherback ▲ Damage to intestinal
SHARK turtles and tract, ulcers, bleeding
SPERM ▲ Clogged gills
sperm whales and diarrhea, inability
WHALE ▲ Kidney damage
dive to to absorb food.
3,200-foot depths.
▲ Burns ▲ Heart, ▲ Enlarged livers
Oil plumes in the
in mouth respiratory rate
depths may be
oxygen depleted
● Inflammation, pneumonia LONG-TERM EFFECTS Reproduction may
with toxic oil and be affected in surviving
and emphysema
methane. Loss of body weight
animals. Spawning fish
from reduced food supply
and marine life require
Dehydration from certain conditions to
animals refusing to drink lay eggs or offspring.

An accumulation of Collected in impacted
THE Oil near and on the
areas: Alabama,
Type of Collected Collected Total Percent
sea floor will threaten dead marine life, animal alive dead collected released
OCEAN deep-sea marine life: waste and oil may Florida, Louisiana,
Birds 975 1,505 2,490 42.1%
FLOOR deep-sea corals, cause an expansion Mississippi, Texas
Sea turtles 157 447 604 1.9%
jellyfish, Atlantic of oxygen-starved and on the Gulf
Mammals 5 54 59 20%
croaker, sand seatrout areas known as dead of Mexico.*
SAND and sand perch. zones and block the
For information, go to and look under
SEATROUT release of rich
Current Ops, Fish and Wildlife Report
nutrients into the
water column, key * Figures as of July 7
to the food chain.

Bacteria on the SOURCES: “What the spill will kill,” by Sharon Begley, Newsweek;
ocean’s floor uses “Researchers predict larger-than-average Gulf dead zone,” University
oxygen as it decom- of Michigan; Deepwater Horizon Response Consolidated Fish and
JELLYFISH poses material. This Wildlife Collection Report; Australian Maritime Safety Authority; Global
DEEP-SEA adds to oxygen Marine Oil Pollution, Information Gateway; NOAA; ITOPF; AP; news
CORAL depletion. reports