Clams Mussels and Other Invertebrates

There is usually a sharp decrease in the populations of invertebrates in the vicinity of oil spills because, unlike fish, they do not have sufficient mobility to move away from the area of the spill and they live in sediments that contain adsorbed oil. These mollusks absorb oil into their systems, where it inhibits the production of eggs and sperm, causing an abrupt drop in their populations. Oil is also toxic to the adults, as shown by the large quantities of dead mollusks, crabs, and sea urchins that washed up on the shores of France after the Amoco Cadiz spill. The populations of these invertebrates gradually build up again over a period of several years.

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