sunlight from getting through to marine organisms, and can even make moving about very difficult for organisms (British Petroleum, n.d.). In a closely related vein, the evidence exists that oil spills cause defoliation – which destroys the habitat upon which various marine life rely for their food. This apparently results from the fact that the oil smothers the aquatic vegetation and this destroys the wildlife and marine ecology that exists below the surface (British Petroleum, n.d.). Finally, the oil can wreak damage upon the marine life found in the ocean because it coats gills in an ugly mucous-like film that basically makes breathing impossible. The physical smothering can also impact birds in different ways because the birds' feathers will become matted and separate thanks to the oil; consequently, the water-proofing offered by the feathers is eliminated (Elston, 2010). Thus, the smothering of marine life can be profound and can destroy various species without much in the way of difficulty – even if it acts upon various forms of marine life in somewhat different ways.
Another short-term impact of an oil spill is that the oil spill can literally cause marine species to stop reproducing insofar as oil components – along with the health complications they create – can seep into the aforementioned organisms (Stewart, 2005). The grim reality is that oil spills can cause the disruption of reproductive hormones and behavioural changes that can ultimately reduce the rate of reproduction whilst also impacting how the affected creatures care for their own