|Impact of oil pollution on seabirds|In: Environmental Pollution. Series A. Ecological and Biological. Applied Science Publishers: London. ISSN 0143-1471, more
In strictly biological terms, mortality caused by pollution is significant only when it has some impact on the population or community. Continuing losses of seabirds from oil pollution was believed until recently to be responsible for a decline in the population of some species, particularly auks which, because of their population dynamics, appeared unlikely to make good the heavy mortality known to be caused by floating oil. More recent evidence suggests that although southern colonies of auks have declined on both sides of the Atlantic, the cause is probably primarily climatic. Elsewhere in the north-east Atlantic, most auk breeding colonies have increased rapidly in the last decade, despite losses from oil pollution and other causes. This increase has been too rapid and too widespread to be accounted for by natural population growth, but suggests that birds are starting to breed at an earlier age than formerly. It is unrealistic to look for a material reduction of the mortality of seabirds from oil pollution, and preventive, remedial or conservation measures can, at least, have only an extremely localized and trifling impact. Fortunately, although certain risks remain, present evidence suggests that oil pollution is not generally damaging to seabird populations.