Environmental Sciences Fair Project
How do oil spills affect plant growth?


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Project Information
Title: How do oil spills affect plant growth?
Subject: Environmental Sciences
Grade level: Middle School - Grades 7-9
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Low
Affiliation: Phillipsburg Christian Academy (PCA)
Year: 2002
Description: Bean plants were watered with different mixtures of water with oil. Plant devolepment and survival rate was recorded over time.
Link: www.fellowshipch.org...
Background

Environmental Effects of Oil Spills

The oil penetrates and opens up the structure of the plumage of birds, reducing its insulating ability, and so making the birds more vulnerable to temperature fluctuations and much less buoyant in the water. It also impairs birds' flight abilities, making it difficult or impossible to forage and escape from predators. As they attempt to preen, birds typically ingest oil that coats their feathers, causing kidney damage, altered liver function, and digestive tract irritation. This and the limited foraging ability quickly causes dehydration and metabolic imbalances. Hormonal balance alteration including changes in luteinizing protein can also result in some birds exposed to petroleum. Most birds affected by an oil spill die unless there is human intervention.

Marine mammals exposed to oil spills are affected in similar ways as seabirds. Oil coats the fur of Sea otters and seals, reducing its insulation abilities and leading to body temperature fluctuations and hypothermia. Ingestion of the oil causes dehydration and impaired digestions.

For more information (background, pictures, experiments and references): Oil Spills: K-12 Experiments & Background Information

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

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