Water Plant / Oil Spill

Oil Spilling in Sea and ocean


With their brown and yellowish markings, seaside sparrows (Ammodramus maritimus) blend in really with marshgrass.

Credit:

Philip Stouffer, Louisiana State University

In marshlands along the coastline of Gulf of Mexico, it's not hard to hear the razor-sharp, buzzing phone calls of seaside sparrows (Ammodramus maritimus)—even if they could be hard to spot. These five-inch, brown birds with vibrant yellowish eyestripes make by themselves visible once they perch, but rapidly vanish from view while they flit between the tall lawn. No matter, Sabrina Taylor, Phil Stouffer, Stefan Woltmann, and Christy Bergeon Burns, biologists at Louisiana State University, invest their time searching for these tiny birds to ask a silly question: How do marine oil spills influence pets that go on land?

It appears counterintuitive to start with. Seaside sparrows never dive or swim in the ocean's surface, like pelicans along with other seabirds. Their particular reliance upon grass for meals and housing means they don't endeavor far from the marsh, and not out to ocean. So it's not likely that their feathers had been oiled by the 3.19 million barrels of oil that flowed from a deep-sea fine during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill this season. Rather, the possibility results in the sparrows along with other land creatures can take place months or many years following the spill, because they eat food and live in lawn polluted by oil. And unlike pelicans, which now dive through oil-free surface waters, the effects on sparrows may well continue for decades in the future.


Sabrina Taylor, a wildlife biologist at Louisiana State University and lead scientist when it comes to gulf analysis Initiative, releases a seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus) in the Louisiana marsh.

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