Climate craziness of the week: climate change> bigger waves> fish have to swim harder

From the department of obvious science and anything to do with climate change must be bad comes this study from Australian National University:

Shiner surfperch, Cymatogaster aggregata, the study species. Photo credit: Ross Robertson

Shiner surfperch, Cymatogaster aggregata, the study species. Photo credit: Ross Robertson

Waves costly for fish

Big waves are energetically costly for fish, and there are more big waves than ever. The good news is that fish might be able to adapt.

“There has been a lot of recent work in oceanography documenting the fact that waves are becoming more frequent and more intense due to climate change,” says Mr Dominique Roche, PhD candidate from the Research School of Biology. “The habitats that fish live in are changing.” 

“This is not a localised problem, but something that is documented globally,” adds Ms Sandra Binning, also a PhD candidate in the Research School of Biology.

Mr Roche and Ms Binning are co-authors on a study documenting the energy it takes for fish to swim through large, intense waves. Specifically, they focused on fish that swim with their arm, or pectoral fins, which are very common on both rocky and coral reefs.

“By controlling water flow in an experimental chamber with the help of a computer, we were able to replicate oscillations in the water flow like in a wave pool,” explains Mr Roche.

“We looked at how much energy the fish consumed while swimming without waves, in conditions with small waves, and in conditions with large waves. The idea was to compare the amount of energy that fish consume while swimming in these three conditions when their average swimming speed was exactly the same.”

Mr Roche and Ms Binning found that it’s a lot more energetically demanding for fish to deal with large fluctuations in water speed and wave height.

“It’s harder to constantly switch speeds than it is to remain at a constant speed, like a runner changing between running and walking during interval training versus a steady jog. Well, it’s the same for swimming fish,” says Mr Roche.

“Things could get tough for fish in windy, exposed habitats if waves get stronger with changing climate. But there may be a silver lining,” says Ms Binning.

“In the swim chamber, when the water flow increased, fish had to beat their fins faster to keep up. But when the water flow slowed down, some fish took advantage and rode the wave. Essentially, rather than beating their fins frantically, these fish used the momentum that they had gained while speeding up to glide and save energy.

“This means that some individuals are better at dealing with waves than others, and that there is hope for populations to adapt their swimming behavior to potentially changing conditions in the future,” concludes Mr Roche.

Their research was recently published in the Journal of Experimental BiologyView footage of the study species, Cymatogaster aggregata in the swim chamber.

Source: http://news.anu.edu.au/2014/02/03/waves-costly-for-fish/

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Gosh, climate change will cause exhausted fish in the future, because as we all know, fish just can’t adapt to a changing environment; nature so poorly equipped them that something like a change in waves in the ocean will just muck up the whole population, because fish just can’t swim deeper to avoid surface turbulence, or something.

And, because this one species of fish is surely representative of all species and good enough to make a climate change with global ramifications related press release out of. Never mind this fact:

The shiner perch (Cymatogaster aggregata) is a common surfperch found in estuaries, lagoons, and coastal streams along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California. It is the sole member of its genus.

They are one of the most common fish in the bays and estuaries of their range, favoring beds of eelgrass, and often accumulating around piers as well. They feed on zooplankton such as copepods, but have been observed to bottom feed as well.

Cuz, well, the bays and estuaries are connected to the ocean, and the ocean has waves, and they are getting bigger. And because, somehow, a bottom fish will be more affected by waves on the surface.

I downloaded the footage of the study species, Cymatogaster aggregata in the swim chamber, and have made it available here:

This is what passes for science now; it looks like a high school science fair project. Note the propeller. What I see is the velocity of water changing due to the propeller, an enclosed box, and no waves, i.e. an unnatural environment. As Willis is often fond of pointing out, an aquarium tank is not the ocean, and behavior of an animal in an artificially controlled setting is no guarantee it models reality, even in the slightest. This doesn’t even look like a good model, because the fish is movement constricted, and can’t change its depth.

I assume they are basing their work on this study, also from Australian National University:

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Global Trends in Wind Speed and Wave Height
Science, Vol. 332 no. 6028 pp. 451-455 DOI: 10.1126/science.1197219

  1. I. R. Young*, S. Zieger, A. V. Babanin

*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ir.young@anu.edu.au

Abstract

Studies of climate change typically consider measurements or predictions of temperature over extended periods of time. Climate, however, is much more than temperature. Over the oceans, changes in wind speed and the surface gravity waves generated by such winds play an important role. We used a 23-year database of calibrated and validated satellite altimeter measurements to investigate global changes in oceanic wind speed and wave height over this period. We find a general global trend of increasing values of wind speed and, to a lesser degree, wave height, over this period. The rate of increase is greater for extreme events as compared to the mean condition.

Then there’s this little gem in the paper:

wavepaper_table1

That paper is contested on the basis of that table:

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334/6058/905.2.abstract

Comment on “Global Trends in Wind Speed and Wave Height”

Frank J. Wentz*, Lucrezia Ricciardulli

Young et al. (Reports, 22 April 2011, p. 451) reported trends in global mean wind speed much larger than found by other investigators. Their report fails to reference these other investigations and does not discuss the consequences that such large wind trends would have on global evaporation and precipitation. The difference between their altimeter and buoy trends suggests a relatively large trend error.

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Of course this new paper on waves make fish swim harder [Unsteady flow affects swimming energetics in a labriform fish (Cymatogaster aggregata) ] from ANU is published in the same journal (Journal of Experimental Biology) that says ocean acidification will make damselfish go blind: Ocean acidification will interfere with fish eyes

But what I find most interesting is that the original abstract doesn’t even MENTION climate change:

==============================================================

Unsteady flow affects swimming energetics in a labriform fish (Cymatogaster aggregata)

Abstract

Unsteady water flows are common in nature, yet the swimming performance of fishes is typically evaluated at constant, steady speeds in the laboratory. We examined how cyclic changes in water flow velocity affect the swimming performance and energetics of a labriform swimmer, the shiner surfperch, Cymatogaster aggregata, during station holding. Using intermittent-flow respirometry, we measured critical swimming speed (Ucrit), oxygen consumption rates (O2) and pectoral fin use in steady flow versus unsteady flows with either low- [0.5 body lengths (BL) s−1] or high-amplitude (1.0 BL s−1) velocity fluctuations, with a 5 s period. Individuals in low-amplitude unsteady flow performed as well as fish in steady flow. However, swimming costs in high-amplitude unsteady flow were on average 25.3% higher than in steady flow and 14.2% higher than estimated values obtained from simulations based on the non-linear relationship between swimming speed and oxygen consumption rate in steady flow. Time-averaged pectoral fin use (fin-beat frequency measured over 300 s) was similar among treatments. However, measures of instantaneous fin use (fin-beat period) and body movement in high-amplitude unsteady flow indicate that individuals with greater variation in the duration of their fin beats were better at holding station and consumed less oxygen than fish with low variation in fin-beat period. These results suggest that the costs of swimming in unsteady flows are context dependent in labriform swimmers, and may be influenced by individual differences in the ability of fishes to adjust their fin beats to the flow environment.

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So, maybe the whole climate change meme is an addition for the purposes of press release, to gain attention, either way, it all seems fishy to me.

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118 thoughts on “Climate craziness of the week: climate change> bigger waves> fish have to swim harder

  1. I presume these experts have never studied fish in the fishes habitat, actually snorkelled, scuba dived or even swum in the ocean?
    Must be the superior science of modelling reality, while ignoring what actually happens.
    Perhaps their research methods would be enhanced by them taking a privately funded excursion to Break-Kneck Beach on Maui, where this very wave action makes the beach what it is.
    It is frightening when any random surfer, understands a subject better than a government scientist.
    Best case for more funding cuts.

  2. “So, maybe the whole climate change meme is an addition for the purposes of press release, to gain attention,..”

    bingo. just like using keywords lifted from the job posting to get your resume located by searchbots.

  3. ““It’s harder to constantly switch speeds than it is to remain at a constant speed, like a runner changing between running and walking during interval training versus a steady jog. Well, it’s the same for swimming fish,” says Mr Roche.”

    Mr. Roche’s stumble over the blindingly obvious has, as an unforeseen consequence, also described one impact of high-penetration intermittent renewable energy on fossil fuel power plants.

  4. OMG: Waves don’t impact the flow of water under the surface! What is their PhD in? (decided not to answer my own question since it would probably violate a ton of rules about being nice)

  5. i have to say that this renders me speechless. The absurdity of this experiment has me absolutely gobsmacked. The good thing is that it’s absurdity is self-evident, except maybe to those who got the funding for it and those approving the funding. Wow. Just wow.

  6. If the fish have a harder time moving about, so does their prey and being exhausted it will be easier to catch, giving the fish more energy more easily.

    Nature is amazingly well balanced. Shrill alarmists, not so much.

  7. Chris y, What in the world is Roche smoking? Swimming is not like running at all! Fails at fluid dynamics. Is clueless on physic of motion in organisms. Has no idea about currents (vs waves). And this I assume was peer reviewed. Maybe someone should have checked if the peers were awake during their review!

  8. Why would the fish want to swim at constant speed? Why would the fish not want to ‘go with the flow’?

  9. So 12 wind/wave buoys around the world is enough to determine global trends?

    Let’s get rid of 99.9% of all thermometers.

  10. Seriously? Have they really absolutely nothing better to do? I seem to recall fish farms these days are moored out at sea so that the fish have to deal with the natural currents, & grow stronger accordingly, instead of just being in a salt-water tank as many used to be! Why didn’t they just simply ask a grown-up? It would have saved a small fortune!

  11. Billy Liar says:
    February 5, 2014 at 9:21 am
    So 12 wind/wave buoys around the world is enough to determine global trends?
    Let’s get rid of 99.9% of all thermometers.

    They already did… :-(

  12. I guess I should explain some of the absurdities in this piece. I grew up in Nova Scotia, my house being about 100 yards from St Mary’s bay. Any 5th grader from down there will know the following.

    - Waves occur where the water meets the shore. Away from land, the undulations of the water surface are swells. They are completely different phenomenon.

    - Swells and waves are both surface phenomenon. The ocean has something called “depth” where the surface phenomenon has little to no direct effect.

    - if the surface is too rough, fish need simply to swim a bit further down in the water column to avoid swells, or away from the shoreline to avoid waves. So “adaptations” to rough seas is part of their innate make up as fish. Is this not self-evident? It’s called “evolution”.

    - Swells are up and down undulations. They are not side to side “waves”. A floating object will go up and down with the swell, not sideways. If they go sideways it isn’t because of the swell or the “wave”. It is a function of current. Which is another thing altogether.

    Tos imply talk about waves in the context of the study is absurd.

  13. As some who has actually designed and maintained aquariums simulating extreme natural environments I would give this effort an F … if done by High School students. This little box does not even come close to simulating the amount or type of water movement surf fishes encounter naturally. And the idea that fish will be trying to maintain a constant speed is ludicrous. The light unnaturally coming in from the sides of this stupid experiment will have more of an effect on the fishes behavior then just about any other factor.

  14. What a painful read. They don’t even know that fish can surf!

    I want a refund. Simulating current in that manner produces a vortex. Where the hell is PETA!

    Sarc/

  15. “Darwin’s theories of the survival of the fittest and evolution apply here. Because of the waves breaking onto the coast, sea creatures there take the hardest hits and need to be stronger and more adaptable. Along with number 4, waves “maintain a gradient of biodiversity all the way from the surface, down to depths of 30m or more. Without waves, there would not be as many species living in the sea”.”

  16. When they measured the amount of energy expended by the fish did they account for the increase in heart rate caused by the sound of the scientists adjusting that Cuisinart from blend to puree and back?

  17. I don’t know if I am going to laugh or cry. I sure wish I had looked at all those little packages in my cereal boxes. I could have had a PhD and didn’t even realize it. But, putting a fish in a plastic box and messing with it, while it may have been fun, doesn’t give us anything new to think about. A friend remarked to me about the recent floods in Colorado. The streams looked like an atomic bomb had gone off, but, apparently when the Division of Wildlife checked after the flood, surprise, the fish were still there. As was remarked above; blindingly obvious finding. what a joke!

  18. “There has been a lot of recent work in oceanography documenting the fact that waves are becoming more frequent and more intense due to climate change”.

    The fact that a lot of money has spent on this is startling in and of itself. think of the billions of dollars being spent to “link” any topic of interest to “climate change” so as to support the livelihood of tens of thousands of researchers that could be employed doing something more productive like solving desertification, greening the sahel, providing cheap energy to the poor, food to the starving, clean water, health benefits.

    Its a colossal waste of resources!

  19. For all of the bad in the design, at least this “study” used a “real” fish instead of a computer simulation of a fish.

  20. Way back in the day when I was “debating” folks like William Connolly on UseNet, someone linked a report that the coelacanth’s days were numbered due to…wait for it….climate change.

    Right. A fish that somehow, someway, without the earnest assistance of the UN, the WWF and the Sierra Club, managed to survive 400 million years of climate change, much of which was rather catastrophic to other living creatures, is in trouble due to….climate change.

  21. The stupid! It hurts!

    Not the scientists. They are actually making a living with complete nonsense. That is kinda smart. Otherwise they might have to actually work for a living and figure out how to be valuable to society.

    The ‘stupid’ resides with those who fund and publish such nonsense, with the pal-reviewers and with the angry environmentalists with their fists in the air and their heads in the sand (to paraphrase Billy Joel).

  22. Fish abuse! And speaks to Lindzenn’s point about the rigor and intellect of Climate Science. The sad thing is that these newly-minted PhD’s are going to be teaching someone’s children somewhere in the near future. Ugh.

  23. Yup, that’s why I just duck my head under water and let the big waves pass by; all I notice is a slight change in the water’s motion and pressure.

    I think they need to explain how bigger waves affect bigger fish, like that shark that a lady photographed swimming parallel to the beach…

  24. Wrong little gem. The real little gem is the tag of sentence in the previous paragraph, where they are apparently admitting that they cannot resolve the supposedly “significant” increases they discover as an actual accelerating trend or as being purely natural multidecadal oscillation variation. So the entire paper is about ascribing the increase to a cause that the paper itself openly admits cannot be so ascribed. Yes, the jet stream, the multidecadal oscillations, Hadley circulation, and many other things are not stationary. No we do not have adequate measurements over a sufficiently long time span to do more than identify local trends. God knows how they decide whether or not the trend is “significant”, since significance can only be determined after subtracting the unknown natural trend (otherwise we’ll be claiming that the variation of sinusoid functions plus noise is “significantly increasing” when the phase angle happens to be near 0). I’m even dubious of the length of the data series and/or the sampling. ARGO doesn’t really span this interval, and AFAIK there is no actual evidence that e.g. mean surface wind speed is varying on a planetwide basis. If so, it is strangely unreflected in the violence or frequency of storms, the size of the tides, etc.

    I’d be very interested in seeing how dominant rare, large scale but regional events are in their analysis of “significance” as well. With only 20-odd years in the study and no real knowledge of the variance (the sample isn’t big enough for the variance to have even stabilized!) one or two extreme events could explain all of the “significance” at e.g. higher latitudes. That is, the polar storms of the 2000′s that broke up the ice pack could well be the major cause of the significant rise in wave activity, but it is WAY EARLY to conclude that polar storms are more becoming more frequent in some systematic way that hasn’t happened before. Such as back in the 1930′s, my own favorite candidate for the warmest decade of the 20th century, when half the state high temperature records were set and when it was widely reported that the Arctic was nearly ice-free and navigible, when super-ENSOs were creating the US Dust Bowl (and presumably dumping cone-head quantities of heat into the atmosphere like the 1997-1998 ENSO did). All without significant forcing from CO_2.

    Signal? Noise? Natural? Anthropogenic? Not even the paper knows. Everything derived from this non-conclusion is sheer speculation, especially conclusions concerning the biological impact of increased waves if wave activity has really increased at all compared to even the recent geological past. Surface wave action has far more impact on water chemistry than it does on fish stress. More CO_2 is dissolved out of the air. More air is dissolved out of the air. More water is evaporated from the increased surface area by the faster winds (altering the water temperature). The albedo of the water is altered. The transport of nutrients and plankton is altered. But all fish cope with whitecap waves and storms in all oceans or they don’t survive, because the natural variability of storms anywhere year to year greatly exceeds the supposed might-be-a-trend-or-might-not, ask again later reported by this paper. Claiming that fish are or really even MIGHT BE, biologically stressed by the unconfirmed trend is bullshit. In my opinion, of course.

    rgb

  25. This could provide the sequel to Sharknado: Conan Fish!
    What big waves don’t kill, they make stronger, much stronger…

  26. Gosh, this must be like what happens when an aircraft has to fly against a “head wind”…it has to work so hard. NO WAIT, the GROUNDSPEED is effected, but nothing else. WAVES CARRY NO MASS in the open ocean. And these DUMMIES are worried about something in LAGOONS and BAYS??? Get the guys with the WHITE JACKETS. Put them in the padded cells before they HURT themselves!

  27. As a non-scientist, I usually hesitate to comment much, but it seems to me that the data derived measures a short-term impact, and extrapolates the wrong long-term outcome. The fish in the test are being suddenly exposed to stronger currents. Thus they must swim harder, and no doubt some fish might die from exhaustion. However the theory proposes that currents or wave action will gradually increase over time. Thus, the fish will adapt their behavior over time and will also be selected through evolution for those best suited to the new conditions. We know that some fish are well adapted to live in rapid currents – Brook Trout come immediately to mind.

  28. Mr Dominique Roche need not fret. As every child nowadays knows, the fish have allready solved the problem as demonstrated by the advice: “Just keep on swimming.”

  29. An interesting study that seems to show that, without even trying, fish are smarter than PhD candidates.

  30. “There has been a lot of recent work in oceanography documenting the fact that waves are becoming more frequent and more intense due to climate change,”

    Beyond parody.

  31. I’d suggest that our doctoral candidate change majors to something she can handle. Based on her experimental design, I’d suggest puppitry.

  32. This seems more like a party fund than science.
    1. Don’t have beer money for the year
    2. Apply for grant money, use global warming to increase chances of approval
    3. Get grant, buy lots of Fosters
    4. Invite women over for weekly parties and get wasted
    5. Fabricate test apparatus using $10 worth of materials, save last fish you were going to swallow for experiement
    6.Write global warming paper
    7. Get drunk again to celebrate passing peer review, thank self that peers were invited to get drunk also.

  33. Great, to the point commentary & observations, Anthony !

    … And yet this paper made it through the peer review process. Could there be a harsher indictment of the current system of peer review ?

  34. Forgive me but I was under the impression that waves do not move water, they transfer energy. When a wave moves across an ocean the only movement in the water is up and down.

  35. “So, maybe the whole climate change meme is an addition for the purposes of press release, to gain attention,..”
    Well, in fairness the regular winner of the Webby for Best Science Blog does focus on Climate Change.
    It may be a two-way creation process of a social practise.

  36. Instead of putting the fish in a pendaflex file box, and running waves through it; why didn’t these idiots; no they’re not idiots; they’re drongos, go and jump in the ocean with the fish, and see for themselves, just what real fish do in real waves.

    I’ve spent hours, with a snorkel sitting in wavy water, and watching the little fishies at work, and play.

    And the one thing I can tell you is that fish pay no attention to the waves whatsoever; specifically they do not attempt to swim against the waves. In shore waters, where waves lap up against reefs, or other habitats, as the water flows in, the fish flow in with it; the whole school of them, just waft in on the breeze, and they go about their business, with their frame of reference, namely the water, moving wherever it wants, and they all just go with it. You could put a retro-reflector floating with them, at their depth, and lock in your camera guidance to that reference, and you would see, that the whole scene is independent of the water motion.

    In rivers, and streams, predatory fishes like trout, find a quiet spot in an eddy, where they can sit stationary, even with fast stream flows go past, nearby, then they simply dart out and grab what is floating by, and return to their low energy eddy spot.

    This paper has to be the biggest pile of fish guano, we’ve seen this century.

    I wouldn’t give these “people” a C in a 4-H club animal husbandry, homework assignment.

    I once thought of getting myself a PhD in ice-cream making. Maybe, I’ll switch to fish watching instead.

    But how about that; who’da thunk that global warming would raise the frequency of waves in water. Well that’s what “more frequent” means isn’t it.

    Just take a look at that file folder box with the fish in it. Hard to judge the width of the box, but unless it’s a trick photo, I would say, the fish is longer, than the box width.

    Now just how natural do you think it is for a fish; and one that is not a top predator, to sit in a slab of water that it cannot easily turn around in. And even the top predators, need and want to turn on a dime; or else they starve.

    The wave wobbled fishes that I have personally observed, carried out all the usual manoeuvers, in their wafting water, just as if the whole thing was stationary.

    And good news; in the Fish lab, that I used, it was very easy to repeat the experiments, with the water not moving at all, in fact glassy smooth on the surface. You know, I can’t tell from the movies, which ones had the VR (vibration Reduction (Nikon term)) system turned on and which ones had it turned off in quiet water.

    And just in case you are curious; having grown up spending hours and hours swimming in the oceans, in quite intense wave conditions, as well as wave-less conditions, and having transitioned to scuba diving, where I can do the same thing at some depth, when I am meandering around near the bottom or reefs, and rocks, I too pay no attention whatsoever to the waviness or wafting of the water. I’m exceedingly comfortable to simply let the water take me where it will, and I waste no energy, or extra air, concerning myself with the waves.

    Neither do real fish !!

    This is one for the age of silliness.

    Well I see they are Australians; gotta make allowances.

  37. M Courtney says:
    February 5, 2014 at 11:14 am

    “So, maybe the whole climate change meme is an addition for the purposes of press release, to gain attention,..”
    Well, in fairness the regular winner of the Webby for Best Science Blog does focus on Climate Change.
    It may be a two-way creation process of a social practise.

    It’s called the funding angle. There are hundreds of millions of US dollars available every year for studying climate batshit. Please tell WUWT where it can gain access to some of these ‘climate change’ funds? (See the right side bar of this page)

  38. Does this show that even PhD candidates have the memory of a gold fish?

    1) We used a 23-year database of calibrated and validated satellite altimeter measurements to investigate global changes in oceanic wind speed and wave height over this period.
    2) We have no observable difference between monthly height waves over the decades.
    3) Future climate will cause bigger waves and fish to swim harder.

    Typical alarmist paper blaming the religion with no science to back it up again.

    4) Despite warming global temperatures until the last strong El Nino there has been no difference in trend with wave heights.
    5) Climate change to cause no trend in wave heights..
    6) Why bother.

    Number 3) was very opinionated and classed as pseudoscience.

    Look at the warmest regions of the world with the strongest winds? Now look at the coldest places on Earth with calm like conditions? Antarctica must be one of the calmest places on Earth if warmer climate causes stronger winds.

    Oops, what went wrong…….

    ANTARCTICA IS THE COLDEST, HIGHEST, DRIEST, WINDIEST PLACE ON EARTH!

    http://karmak.org/archive/2003/08/UMHandout.Info.html

    “The lowest mean speeds are largely confined to tropical forest climates in South America, Africa, and southeastern Asia; and to mesothermal forest climates over the rugged terrain flanking the Tibetan Plateau”

    A cooler planet causes stronger winds, due to the jet streams are strengthened with colder air towards the poles. It becomes common now in climate science that alarmist claims are usually opposite to real observations.

  39. Jimbo, I agree it’s follow the money. But getting to the front of the queue with the begging bowl requires your name to be known. Getting onto the popular science media radar is a good way to get noticed.

    Climate change isn’t the only source of cash. Waves could be funded by the Navy, for instance.
    But only Climate Change will get into the popular science media, of which I include WUWT.

    But yes, ultimately, it is all about the money.
    Bird got to fly. Fish got to swim. Scientist got keep on earning funding.

  40. These are not climate experts doing the fish experiment, they are biologists studying fish biology. That they have to plead “climate change” in order to get their funding to do fish biology is no fault of theirs, but it is the funding environment they work in. They may or may not have the expertise to evaluate climate change papers, they may or may not actually believe in asserted effects of climate change, they may or may not care about climate change. They are biologists, not climatologists, What interests them is fish. I will not fault them for pleading what they have to plead in the current academic/political environment in order to study fish.

    You find the pleadings of climate change, excessive? Editorialize about the funding environment.

    The study itself may be excessively simple. It probably is. Is it something that has been studied in detail before? I suspect not, the biologists would know better than I do, and I have no interest in getting up to speed on the current state of the study of fish physiology. If it had been done many times before, the results would not be published now, as they would be old news.

    Before one can study fish in three dimensions in an open ocean environment, the techniques of measuring the physiology of what the fish do have to be developed. That can only be done in a simplified, controlled environment, like this one, and adding variables one by one as techniques are developed. To find out how to do the complicated stuff, simple stuff has to be done first. This is some of the simple stuff that has to be done first. Unless you are fully versed in the study and measurement of fish physiology, lay off the criticism of this study. Don’t criticize science because it is not yet perfect.

  41. george e. smith says:
    February 5, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I’ve spent hours, with a snorkel sitting in wavy water, and watching the little fishies at work, and play.

    And the one thing I can tell you is that fish pay no attention to the waves whatsoever; specifically they do not attempt to swim against the waves.

    I look forward to seeing your measurements of the respiration rates and other physiological measurements on those fish.

  42. All this fish talk- just had to go check the area lakes fishing report. No good news.
    Signed: Sick O’Winter

  43. john robertson says: @ February 5, 2014 at 8:55 am
    … It is frightening when any random surfer, understands a subject better than a government scientist.
    Best case for more funding cuts.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    AMEN!

    Good note to send to your Congress Critter or Parliamentary Prat.

  44. george e. smith says:
    February 5, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Thanks for that. I’ve seen marine aquariums that model the reality of a reef better than that experiment did, complete with wave surges and tidal changes. Australia has some of the best diving in the world and they apparently ignored the opportunity in favor of not getting wet.

  45. @mwhite

    In a wave, fluid particles revolve around a point. The shape of that movement depends on the water depth and impact the bottom has on the wave. In very deep water the motion is circular. The motion is never limited to up and down only. The motions can be fully described with equations. The equations applicable to deep water covered in under graduate fluid mechanics courses. Shallow water wave equations a harder and are a graduate level and beyond, and are often not solvable. Interestingly those equations are similar to the equations used in climate modelling.

  46. Humans are supposed to know exactly what the level of everything is on this planet, which matches ideally with requirements of each creature. This has been defined as a level in our recent modern day past from which we should never diverge from………… even if for brief periods.

    All geological, climate and weather records no longer matter and steps are to be taken to minimize their importance because humans have acquired the power to control our planet and make it perfect for every creature.

    This means that we know the correct global temperature, carbon dioxide levels, ocean levels, ice amounts and where that ice should be. If any of these levels change, it’s our job to reset them back to where we have decided they should always stay.

    This also includes things like wave size, changes in regional weather, changes of any sort in populations of creatures.

    Evolution and adaptation are no longer needed because humans will turn the control knob of everything to unchanged.

    Then, all creatures can live in harmony together on our planet exactly the way they were when we decided that exact moment in time was the perfect match for everything.

  47. “By controlling water flow in an experimental chamber with the help of a computer, we were able to replicate oscillations in the water flow like in a wave pool,” explains Mr Roche.

    WOW!! Not only have they included a reference to climate change, they used a computer. Does this increase the validity of the ‘study’.

  48. Mr Dominique Roche, PhD candidate from the Research School of Biology. “
    Ms Sandra Binning, also a PhD candidate in the Research School of Biology.
    Mr Roche and Ms Binning are co-authors on a study documenting the energy it takes for fish to swim through large, intense waves.

    They are, I mean were, candidates for a PhD,

  49. I have experimental evidence that supports this paper. The most extreme waves are of course surf. If fish have difficulty with just waves, then they would find surf pretty well impossible. If the paper’s underlying hypothesis is correct then there would be no or very few fish in surf. I went surf fishing once, and I didn’t catch any. Now I know why.

  50. Alan Robertson says:
    February 5, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    All this fish talk- just had to go check the area lakes fishing report. No good news.
    Signed: Sick O’Winter

    Cheer up! Get yourself a little ice fishing house and one of those tiny rods.

  51. Are fish good athletes?

    The comparative athleticism of fish probably isn’t a thought that crosses many people’s minds. For Sandra Binning and Dominique Roche, its more than just a thought — they’ve built swim tunnels to test fishes’ fitness.

    The husband and wife duo, from the ANU Research School of Biology and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, are ‘training up’ fish that come from areas that don’t get a lot of wave exposure to see if they can become better athletes.

    The results may help determine if these fish are destined to survive in a climate that is predicted to deliver more intense, frequent storms.

    http://www.anu.edu.au/vision/videos/10071/

  52. The AGW ‘research’ bucket continues to be deep and well filled , resulting , ironical, in the pollution of academia by such rubbish.

  53. David L. Hagen said @ February 5, 2014 at 9:01 am

    When its models all the way down, who needs evidence?! Aristotelians!

    Written records of reliable observations of marine organisms began with Aristotle. While Plato taught that intuition is the basis of reliable knowledge, Aristotle, (Plato’s pupil) disagreed. He felt that accurate observation and description of nature, and inductive reasoning and interpretation were the only way to advance understanding of the natural world. Aristotle made many such observations that were relatively accurate. Indeed, his description of the sex life of sea urchins wasn’t confirmed until the 19thC.

    Aristotle’s greatest contribution to science was his development of the forerunner of the modern scientific method. Aristotle had no teachers in the modern sense, predecessors, or corpus of scientific knowledge on which to build. He was the first (of record) to begin such studies and so is rightly called the “Father of Natural History”. He was fully aware of his position as a pioneer. Aristotle wrote:

    I found no basis prepared; no models to copy… Mine is the first step, and therefore a small one, though worked out with much thought and hard labour. It must be looked at as a first step and judged with indulgence.

    Aristotle made several important contributions to oceanography and marine biology. He was the first to record hypotheses about the bathymetry of the seas and noted that the seas and continents slowly change through time. Aristotle described and named 24 species of crustaceans and annelid worms, 40 species of molluscs and echinoderms, and 116 species of fish (all from the Aegean Sea). You will often read that he recognized cetaceans (dolphins and whales) as mammals; he didn’t but did distinguish them from the scaly fish.

    Presumably, David L Hagen, you believe that navel-gazing trumps observation and induction, and that whales are really fish. What makes people believe that they are so superior to the man that codified the logic behind the computer at which I type? Tell us, David L Hagen, what contributions to knowledge have you made that lead you to view Aristotle with such thinly veiled contempt?

  54. as the frequency of the waves gets larger will the wavelength get smaller? Is there a time after the tipping point and runaway climate change that the wavelength will be so small we can’t see the waves. Will they then simply give the fish a tingly and satisfying massage?

  55. A very nice piece of investigative work, Anthony. Curiously, I used to fish commercially for shiner perch. They have tested them in conditions that they describe as follows:

    Mr Roche and Ms Binning are co-authors on a study documenting the energy it takes for fish to swim through large, intense waves. Specifically, they focused on fish that swim with their arm, or pectoral fins, which are very common on both rocky and coral reefs.

    The odd part, as you point out, is that the shiner perch are not found where there are “large, intense waves”. Instead, they live in “estuaries, lagoons, and coastal streams” … I used to fish them in Tomales Bay. The biggest waves you’ll find there are maybe a foot or so tall (30 cm) …

    In coastlines exposed to the open ocean, of course, the wave intensity varies greatly. So whatever the claimed change in average wave height is, it will be dwarfed by the change in wave height from one day to the next.

    Finally, I’ve dived extensively back in the wave-cut channels that form on the seaward side of a coral reef. They are a great place to spearfish, the wave action churns up the food. When I started doing it, I ended up exhausted, just trying to stay in the same place … like the poor fishie in the movie above.

    After while, though, I learned from the fish not to fight the waves, but instead to just let them move me in and move me out. I also learned from the fish how to hide from the waves, using the natural formations to shield myself from the power of the moving water.

    So I agree with all of your well-made points above, Anthony. It’s just another piece of climate hysteria dressed up as science.

    w.

  56. This shows complete ignorance of how waves work. The water is moving vertically, not horizontally, which is why a boat will be raised and lowered by waves but not moved horizontally by them until the waves become much larger than the boat.

  57. Third sentence of the story;

    “The good new is, fish might be able to adapt.”

    Just about had me on the floor I was laughing so hard.

    It’s the third day of my annual CPA audit here in my office, things are going well, but always tense.

    Thanks, I really needed that.

  58. From a point of view of continuum mechanics we know that we need a much larger box of water (maybe 1 * 1 * 0.5 m^3) to generate waves without worrying about deflection effects. In that way these biologists did a poor job.

  59. “””””…..Mike Jonas says:

    February 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    I have experimental evidence that supports this paper. The most extreme waves are of course surf. If fish have difficulty with just waves, then they would find surf pretty well impossible. If the paper’s underlying hypothesis is correct then there would be no or very few fish in surf. I went surf fishing once, and I didn’t catch any. Now I know why……”””””

    Well that’s because you don’t know how to surf fish. The fish are there, specially the perch, and people who know how to do it, do it standing in water up to their knees at most, and they cast their fly only into water that has already “broken” , and is running up the beach (or down).

    The perch let the waves give them a free ride, into the coming and going foamy zone, which is stirring up the sand or mud, exposing the little, or not so little crustaceans that dwell there, so they grab them and let the undertow carry them back to wait for the next wave to break.

    They sometimes catch 40 # striped bass fishing in that thin water. The fish go where the food is.

    If you toss your bait into that ten foot high curl, the wave will take your bait, and you will catch nothing.

  60. You have got to be kidding, this is a PHD level study? Duh, when the water moves, fish have to swim harder. So if the water moves faster, the fish have to eat more food! What moronic professor approved this junior high school experiment??
    Not to mention that most coral reefs are barely touched by waves that go above them..
    I ought to have a PHD just by being able to figure this one out WITHOUT doing a study…
    Jeez…

  61. “””””…..Chris4692 says:

    February 5, 2014 at 11:56 am

    george e. smith says:
    February 5, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I’ve spent hours, with a snorkel sitting in wavy water, and watching the little fishies at work, and play.

    And the one thing I can tell you is that fish pay no attention to the waves whatsoever; specifically they do not attempt to swim against the waves.

    I look forward to seeing your measurements of the respiration rates and other physiological measurements on those fish……”””””

    I’ll get that right out to you Chris 4692; just as soon as I figure out how to make such measurements, without IN ANY WAY interfering in the fish’s absolute freedom of movement, and in their natural environment; you know, the one where the frequency of the waves is continually increasing due to climate change.

    You say these people are biologists studying fish biology. So why do THEY choose to mention climate change ? They did NOT subject their subject fish to climate change; they put them on a stupid treadmill, where they had NO CHOICE, but to swim.

    And what did they discover ? They discovered that when fish are forced to swim faster, they have to wave their fins faster and burn more energy. For just 60 cents, I could have told them; and you, that the fish would wave their fins faster when put on a water treadmill, that forced them to swim, or bang into the file cabinet.; Oh and I would still have enough left to buy a Senior coffee (with two free refills) at MacDonalds.

    Simply wunnerful; left in their natural environment; fish choose of their own free will, to NOT swim any faster when the water is moving around, than they do when it isn’t moving at all.

    They abused their study subjects by creating a completely phony artificial environment, and trying to palm off the behavior as natural. Just like Jane Goodall did at Gombe, when she put out banana feeding boxes to attract chimpanzees to go someplace they would naturally stay away from, and sells this as “behavior in the wild.”

  62. Fish learn (adapt) extremely rapidly.

    On one of my forays, into underwater marine biology research, with a snorkel and a “waving” about school of happy Sergeant Majors (yellow and black striped reef fish off a Sea of Cortez island, I realized that the rocks, I was leaning up against, and banging into at the will of the waves, while sitting on the bottom sand, was festooned with rock oysters; sitting all over those rocks.

    Well sergeant Majors aren’t a whole lot bigger than those oyster shells, and they don’t have oyster shell crushing teeth. So they generally are not a threat to rock oysters.

    But I certainly am, with the little screw driver blade on my multifunction dive knife.

    So while these critters were simply ignoring the hell out of me, as just something that drifted in with the tides, I decided to pop the lid off an oyster and dig it out to cut up for the little fishies. Well thqat completely fake environmental change, totally changed the SM’s behavior, and they flocked to my face mask, and the bits of oyster. They didn’t want to wait for me to cut the oyster up; they were quite happy to just nibble on it in my hand.

    Well pretty soon their was no more oyster, and just an empty shell.

    That worked so well, I decided to try it again, so I popped the lid off another one, with my new found friends now by my hand to get a better look at the process.

    Off came the second lid, and the fish surrounded my hand and chomped on the oyster, without me getting the knife anywhere near it.

    As soon as the oyster was gone, and the SMs could find not a scrap, they ALL promptly assembled around the next oyster.

    OK Joe ! Get with the program and get this sucker open; we don’t have all day !

    It took just two oysters to completely train them to eat the food out of my hand and go to where they knew more was waiting for me to present to them.

    Fish do not die of old age figuring out what keeps moving them around, and trying to fight it. They know to just ignore it.

  63. Australian National University? Didn’t they have their license lifted after launching the “Ship of Fools” (SOF) to get stuck in the Antarctic global warming ice in mid summer? Maybe this is part of the significant research the SOF folks promised after their rescue.

    The research: where do they think these fish have to get to? Most of what fish do is feed themselves and in this experiment, their food not only oscillates back and forth (and up and down) with them, but the food gets stirred up for them. Damn, wasn’t the Biological research division of this university on the SOF scraping barnacles off some uninhabited islands or something?

  64. Ah yeah, this is hilarious. I’m sure these guys probably spent a lot of money on their education. They probably spent a lot more of everyone else’s money on this incredible study to discover what? That a fish can swim? What were they expecting? Maybe the fish just got bored with their stupidity and decided to humour them. Results inconclusive. I suggest they go back and try again, this time with Great white Sharks.

  65. george e. smith says:
    February 5, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I’ll get that right out to you Chris 4692; just as soon as I figure out how to make such measurements, without IN ANY WAY interfering in the fish’s absolute freedom of movement, and in their natural environment; you know, the one where the frequency of the waves is continually increasing due to climate change.

    Until you figure out how to do those measurements, you have nothing. These biologists have done some measurements to your none. Until you actually do measurements, you are one of several million people that have watched little fishies swim around without adding anything to science. That several million people that have watched the fish swim likely includes these researchers, who may very well have made the same observations that you have but they did not write about it because it’s been done before.

    Watching the fish in their treadmill may let the biologists make observations in the wild that will give a clue about what is happening physiologically to the fish as they swim about. Maybe they can devise a way to measure things in the wild. In the meantime they can do their studies to figure out what it is that is meaningful to measure or observe. Meanwhile you are just watching pretty little fishies dart about.

    You say these people are biologists studying fish biology. So why do THEY choose to mention climate change ? They did NOT subject their subject fish to climate change; they put them on a stupid treadmill, where they had NO CHOICE, but to swim.

    They mention climate change because that’s where the money is. Relate your work to climate change, enhance your chances for your next grant. It’s an ugly situation, but there are boatloads of research money available if you can relate your work to climate change no matter how tenuous the connection.

  66. Gary Pearse says:
    February 5, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    That was UNSW.

    But definitely cruelty to animals- they didn’t provide a fish perch.

  67. I suspect the subject of the study is more intelligent than the researchers :-)

    The Git used to catch kelpies (wrasse) in the surf when he was living on the West Coast of Tasmania. Used to fill the freezer from an afternoon’s fishing with a line on a beer can.

  68. I was walking up a hill the other day. Did you know it took more effort to walk up that hill than down it? Amazing! I couldn’t believe it. So I did a study about how plate tectonics …

  69. The Pompous Git says:
    February 5, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    I suspect the subject of the study is more intelligent than the researchers :-)

    The Git used to catch kelpies (wrasse) in the surf when he was living on the West Coast of Tasmania. Used to fill the freezer from an afternoon’s fishing with a line on a beer can.
    _____________________
    Got ‘em drunk and took advantage of ‘em?

  70. [Snip. Read the site Policy page. We do not tolerate commenters being labeled “deniers” just because you do not agree with them. ~ mod.]

  71. More “Intense” waves?.
    Probably missed something along the way but its not a measure I’ve ever heard used in relation to waves before.
    Height, wave length, steepness, stuff like that. But intense?

  72. Chris4692,

    “Until you figure out how to do those measurements, you have nothing. These biologists have done some measurements to your none.”

    The measurements they took are meaningless. The water in a wave is moving vertically, there is no lateral movement unless there is a separate current already in the body of water and any lateral movement comes strictly from the preexisting current. More extreme waves would have no impact on the lateral currents.

  73. OK, Stupid non-scientist comment here.

    The video isn’t simulated waves but simulation of intermittent current.

    Waves in deep water move things in the sea in circular motion according to my school physics book it’s only in shallows where the “bottom” of the wave touches the sea bed that any motion occurs and then only according to the ebb and flow of water up and down the beach etc.

  74. >>fish just can’t adapt to a changing environment.

    Of course they cannot dive deeper, they have to be close to the surface to breathe.

    Oh, wait a minute………

  75. Re Terry Comeau says:
    February 5, 2014 at 9:38 am
    ———
    Actually “Waves” are variations in surface level caused by wind at that location. “Swell” is variations in surface level caused by wind at another location – which may be thousands of miles away, and usually is in the Southern Ocean. The actual motion of the particles in a wave of a swell is circular, and if I remember correctly, up and opposite to the direction of wave front motion as the wave approaches, then moving down as the wave passes, then forward at the bottom of the cycle, and up again as the next wave approaches. The amplitude of the circular motion decreases as the depth increases. At some level, anything from 50 to 200 m, depending on the size of the waves, the amplitude decreases to a negligible level .

    However, this is for deep ocean waves. Closer to shore the bottom end of the circle is affected by friction with the sea bottom, and the circle is distorted, becoming closer to an “epicycle”, and eventually breaking.

    I would suspect that fish tend to travel at a constant speed through the water, easier to observe prey, or escape a predator, no need to worry about trying to keep a constant speed in relation to coral or the sea bottom. Just like the TGV from Paris to Lyon, where the trains were originally supposed to maintain a maximum speed of 270 km/h. At one point, the line dipped and gravity assist meant that brakes had to be applied to keep the speed down to 270. Then power had to be applied to get to the top again at 270. Drivers complained, so SNCF permitted them to travel up to 280 km/h through that dip – result, energy saving, as the gravity assist on the down grade was returned on the upgrade. Likewise, fish do the speed they prefer.

    I suggest that the study was done at the ANU’s famous School of Inconsequential Studies.

  76. Indeed, there is little research on the sea waves …
    … but some are interesting. For example (not only), on the coasts of France (Mediterranean) the biggest waves occurred in … LIA …

    Shah-Hossein et al. (23.12.2013, http://www.schweizerbart.de/papers/zfg_suppl/detail/57/81545/Coastal_boulders_in_Martigues_French_Mediterranean_evidence_for_extreme_storm_waves_during_the_Little_Ice_Age ):
    “The boulders occur up to 100 m inland from the present shoreline …” “Dating of the boulders shows age ranges that correspond to the Little Ice Age (LIA), thus suggesting a relationship between their deposition and the high storm frequency that characterized the LIA.”

    The conclusion?
    Fish (at the time – LIA), exhausted, were breathing intensively – more CO2, and …
    … and therefore (inter alia, but mainly) ended the LIA …

  77. Yet another example of “discovering” something that’s always happened, and always will happen, and becoming alarmed about it. Ozone “hole” anyone?

  78. Thank you David L. Hagen for the link to Richard Feynman on scientific integrity in Cargo Cult Science 1974 Caltech. That was a great read!

  79. These buoys have been accurately measuring 20 years worth of upturn in the SOI
    ( http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/teleconnections/soi-s-pg.gif )
    as corroborated by total AAM as refected in LOD (figures 2b and 4b):

    http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/bitstream/2014/40555/1/01-2224.pdf

    Nothing obviously anthropogenic about this necessarily cherry picked buoy data.

    When SOI is high albatross and flying fish get a free ride. In fact the question arises, did the flying fish evolve their trait in flat water or high surf? And how does increased oxygenation when the SOI index is high affect marine ecology? It ought to reduce the “dead zones.” –AGF

  80. Chris4692 says:
    February 5, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    . . . They mention climate change because that’s where the money is. Relate your work to climate change, enhance your chances for your next grant. It’s an ugly situation, but there are boatloads of research money available if you can relate your work to climate change no matter how tenuous the connection.

    Well known to most here, I presume, but still a welcome admission of the utterly disgraceful state of affairs in academic science. It’s also a reason why there are so many studies attributing all manner of phenomena to “climate change,” no matter how defined, or how local, or how fanciful.

    Any time politics or political ideology starts directing science, corruption follows. Watching fish swim in a box may seem perfectly innocent, but that “tenuous” connection is a tiny instance of how political money corrupts the enterprise, and steers it in directions that can easily be antithetical to the method and integrity of science.

    /Mr Lynn

  81. We pay these oxygen thieves to come up with this cr&p?

    Yes, it’s definitely ‘worse than we thought’!

  82. Mike Jonas says:
    I have experimental evidence that supports this paper. … I went surf fishing once, and I didn’t catch any. Now I know why.

    I don’t buy that – I always have some sort of fish with surf & turf, and I’m pretty sure they’re not coming from the turf.

    Seriously, though – it’s distressing that this is what’s accepted as science today. If this is where we are now, what hope is there for the future?

  83. …. and I’m sure there will not be improved oxygenation of sea water due to more waves crashing on the beach, which won’t help the poor little fishies, either.

    Where do these university research ideas get approved? Fail the Ph.D candidate, fire the faculty advisor, and hell, close the entire Department or college. That’s my policy remedy for such crap.

  84. “This is what passes for science now”
    A very sad observation. It is funny to laugh about it, but to think that this is a “paper” that appears in a journal that calls itself scientific, is peer reviewed and will be used as basis for further studies and references is what makes science now to be no less then a cards house built on sand.
    And there are thousands of such useless papers.
    Money wasted that could have gone for something useful. Science positions blocked with CAGW adepts who deliver only their “science”.
    No wonder some truly scientific papers that contradict or simply raise some question marks to the belief can come only from countries that are not to the same level CAGW infested like china :

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/13/the-chinese-demonstrate-that-uhi-has-a-real-and-essential-effect-on-regional-climate-change/

    and here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/29/important-study-on-temperature-adjustments-homogenization-can-lead-to-a-significant-overestimate-of-rising-trends-of-surface-air-temperature/

    most of the western universities could simply not produce such papers simply due to the self imposed censure. They are blind to such and deny it exists.
    The papers that they produce are exemplified in this post.
    These are very alarming signs.

  85. Waves are an up and down motion. Fish swimming horizontally aren’t impeded. Trashy science if the movie is the basis for the conclusions

  86. “””””…..Chris4692 says:

    February 5, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    george e. smith says:
    February 5, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I’ll get that right out to you Chris 4692; just as soon as I figure out how to make such measurements, without IN ANY WAY interfering in the fish’s absolute freedom of movement, and in their natural environment; you know, the one where the frequency of the waves is continually increasing due to climate change.

    Until you figure out how to do those measurements, you have nothing. These biologists have done some measurements to your none. Until you actually do measurements, you are one of several million people that have watched little fishies swim around without adding anything to science. That several million people that have watched the fish swim likely includes these researchers, who may very well have made the same observations that you have but they did not write about it because it’s been done before……”””””

    Well Chris, I’m not interested in attacking your point of view; or anyone else’s. Dunno about anyone else, But I come here to learn something; maybe help someone else learn something, or find out what others find interesting. but you do perhaps reveal something of how you (and perhaps other think).

    Take this little morsel: “””…That several million people that have watched the fish swim likely includes these researchers, who may very well have made the same observations that you have but they did not write about it because it’s been done before…..but they did not write about it because it’s been done before…”””

    It would amaze you, how many times, I have heard that offered as a reason for doing something.

    Some examples: Years ago (1966) I happened to be on the scene at the very early (modern) start of the LED age. Designed my very first LED Optical System in 1966, for a small Computer company called IBM. Well actually I was working at Monsanto Central Research labs in St Louis, and IBM was the customer for this device. LEDs then were primarily based on the red GaAsP III-V alloy system. Other more exotic materials like GaN were thought to be possibilities; but somewhat unlikely. Monsanto had many PhD Chemists and Physicists, working on these materials. 40:60 % GaAsP already worked, but making it consistently bright, brought many practical problems. Some of these “Researchers” were not at all interested in working on the practical problems of that system; “It had been done before” as you put it.

    They wanted to work on some new intractable material like cubic GaN, get the first published papers that always get cited forever. Didn’t matter to them if what the published subsequently was found to be wrong or worthless; it would be first, and nobody had done it before. Mattered not that Monsanto could not make any profits from their early ramblings. The mundane “it’s been done before” material, in fact became the core of a very successful and early LED product business; ten years before there was any other material technology breakthrough.
    Ultimately Shoji Nakamura showed that GaN didn’t like being cubic, and preferred its hexagonal crystal form, and that launched the current Blue-green-white LED lighting revolution. There would have been no money for Nakamura’s research, but for the diligence with which lesser scientists pursued the practical problems of the it’s been done before technology, and got LEDs off the ground.

    A boyhood and lifelong friend would have been voted least likely to succeed, in our high school graduating class. Good with his hands, and a piece of wood, he was an academic clutz. He eventually drifted into the field of behavioral psychology, and parlayed his manual skills, into significant advances in the mechanical experimental apparatus, often used in such studies; like making lawyers run mazes to see how they learn; (well there are some things you just can’t get rats to do.). Those things published earned him a scholarship to study in the USA. He and his new American wife, became experts on the learning processes of retarded children; maybe the best in the world.
    He often told me stories of research colleagues of his, who had found some niche malady of some newborns, that may have bizarre consequences; but only occurred once in 300,000 live births, or so. They liked working on such oddities, because it had never been done before, so their published papers were cited by others, as the only ones working on that problem. Trouble is, you have to study one hell of a lot of newborns, to find enough one in 300,000s of cases to get any believable statistics.
    Maybe traumatic for the families of those few; but really not a major national or world health issue.
    My friend and his wife each had their own full professorship, and individual research studies, in the mundane and prevalent problems of premature babies, often born of single or unwed teenage mothers; also the crack babies born to drugged up young mothers.

    These problems occur in the tens of thousands, in every city in the USA, not to mention elsewhere. It’s a major public health issue. These “retarded children” become special care individuals for the rest of their lives.

    This couple showed that most of these kids, including the crack babies, are simply “retarded”. their mental development was sub-normal at their premature birth. But nothing else was wrong with them. They developed accelerated learning processes that takes these kids from birth to about age three, and bring them right up to mainstream speed, that injects them into the normal education process, with no residual consequence of their behind the pace start; and at a HUGE saving in public health and educational funding cost.

    This academic clutz, by not rejecting the mundane “it’s been done before” in favor of the
    “nobody else ever did this” mentality has far surpassed in his contribution to society, all the rest of our high school graduating class combined; and there were some stellar performers came ojut of that class.

    If more researchers asked, “what good will this do for people on earth” rather than “nobody did this before”, Science would be agreater contributor to mankind than it presently is.

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