Effects of crude oil on marine invertebrates.
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Laboratory studies indicate that the aliphatic hydrocarbon compounds are not harmful to adult crabs. The monoaromatic hydrocarbons can inhibit behavior that is dependent on chemoreception, but the effect is transient. The polyaromatic hydrocarbon compounds are the potentially dangerous component of oil pollution. Since crustacea and many other species of marine organisms depend on chemoreception not only for locating food sources, but also for detecting predators, finding sexual partners and for locating a suitable niche, inhibition of chemoreception by sublethal amounts of hydrocarbon pollution may drastically limit the productivity of a marine habitat.