When crude oil is spilled in the ocean, how is the ecosystem affected? A. The supply of nutrients is increased. B. The consumers produce more energy. C. Hydrogen is removed from water molecules. D. Coral reefs and other fish habitats are destroyed.

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In general, oil spills can affect animals and plants in two ways: from the oil itself and from the response or cleanup operations. Understanding both types of impacts can help spill responders minimize overall impacts to ecological communities and help them to recover much more quickly. Spilled oil can harm living things because its chemical constituents are poisonous. This can affect organisms both from internal exposure to oil through ingestion or inhalation and from external exposure through skin and eye irritation. Oil can also smother some small species of fish or invertebrates and coat feathers and fur, reducing birds' and mammals' ability to maintain their body temperatures.

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