Friday Funny – try eating this ‘crop’ threatened by ‘climate change’

Apparently, all that work in selective crop breeding won’t overcome ‘climate change’

This is the headline and story summary from Eurekalert:

Crop species may be more vulnerable to climate change than we thought
A new study by a Wits University scientist has overturned a long-standing hypothesis about plant speciation (the formation of new and distinct species in the course of evolution), suggesting that agricultural crops could be more vulnerable to climate change than was previously thought.

I’m thinking they’d test this on actual crops, like corn, wheat, soybeans, or the like, crops we consume and that are important to economies. That would make sense, right? But then, I remembered that this is about ‘climate change’, where nothing makes much sense anymore.

From the University of the Witwatersrand:

New study on plant speciation

A new study by a Wits University scientist has overturned a long-standing hypothesis about plant speciation (the formation of new and distinct species in the course of evolution), suggesting that agricultural crops could be more vulnerable to climate change than was previously thought.

Unlike humans and most other animals, plants can tolerate multiple copies of their genes – in fact some plants, called polyploids, can have more than 50 duplicates of their genomes in every cell. Scientists used to think that these extra genomes helped polyploids survive in new and extreme environments, like the tropics or the Arctic, promoting the establishment of new species.

However, when Dr Kelsey Glennon of the Wits School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences and a team of international collaborators tested this long-standing hypothesis, they found that, more often than not, polyploids shared the same habitats as their close relatives with normal genome sizes.

“This means that environmental factors do not play a large role in the establishment of new plant species and that maybe other factors, like the ability to spread your seeds to new locations with similar habitats, are more important,” said Glennon.

“This study has implications for agriculture and climate change because all of our important crops are polyploids and they might not be much better at adapting to changing climate than their wild relatives if they live in similar climates.”

Glennon’s study also provides an alternative explanation for why plants are so diverse in places like the Cape where the climate has been stable for hundreds of thousands of years. Although her study examined plant species from North America and Europe only, she is looking forward to testing her hypotheses using South African plants.

Glennon’s paper has been published in Ecology Letters, a flagship journal for broad-scale ecology research.

Creosote bush flower 

Image: Output for Larrea tridentata (creosote bush) diploid and polyploid populations that shows that both ploidies share similar climate habitats, but differ in how they share that climate.

About Dr Kelsey Glennon

Dr Kelsey Glennon is a Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow in Climate Change Research in the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Global Change and Sustainability Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She became interested in plant genetics while volunteering in the Hunter Lab at Salisbury University in her second year of college. She pursued a PhD at George Washington University in Washington, DC, studying plant hybridisation, its effects on species boundaries, and resulting conservation issues. Dr Glennon came to Wits University from a prestigious NSF Bioinformatics Fellowship at Syracuse University in New York. She is currently doing active field research on baobab trees in Limpopo Province and the medicinally important plant imphepho (Helichrysum odoratissimum).

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Mmmmm, creosote.

Never mind the fact that we don’t eat it nor is it considered a “crop”, it seems quite a leap of logic to me to think that the creosote bush, something that has hardly any cross-breeding, selective enhancement, or other improvements to its genetic makeup to enhance yields and make it more palatable for human consumption would serve as a credible model for the highly modified and coddled crops in use today.

Unless of course, our new climate overlords expect us to be eating creosote in the future. I can’t wait for those protests over “GMO creosote”.

I wonder if the author of this study realized how many periods of climate change the King Clone creosote bush has gone through, in the Mojave desert, no less?

King Clone is thought to be the oldest Creosote bush ring in the Mojave Desert. The ring is estimated to be 11,700 years old. It is considered one of the oldest living organisms on Earth. This single clonal colony plant of Larrea tridentata reaches up to 67 feet (20 m) in diameter, with an average diameter of 45 feet (14 m).

I wonder how it survived the Roman Period “megadrought” found in the USA southwest?

Looks tasty, doesn’t it? Somewhere, Norman Borlaug is ROTFL.

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78 thoughts on “Friday Funny – try eating this ‘crop’ threatened by ‘climate change’

  1. Gee, I wonder how wheat crops will fare when the climate ‘changes’? Oh, wait… different varieties have already been bred to grow in a wide range of climatic conditions.

    I guess we’re too stupid to be able to continue using rational solutions. Actually, given the recent focus and conclusions of so many scientIFic studies, perhaps, worryingly, we are becoming that stupid. Aaargh!

  2. Add the University of the Witwatersrand to the list of universities that publish annoying press releases. I went to their site to figure out what units belong on the X-Y graphics above, but all the information in the press release is here.

    I’ll assume the X and Y are in meters, and then the shading is the strength of the creosote scent measured by the scientist’s pet dog.

    I’ll pretend the dashed line and solid line don’t exist.

  3. “A new study by a Wits University scientist”
    Was the T deliberately left off the name of the university?

  4. The claim that the climate of the Western Cape has been stable for hundreds of thousands of years is absurd. The tiny, but phenomenally rich, floral kingdom found there, is presently the recipient of winter rainfall brought by the westerly wind belt shifting north and kept dry by prevailing southeasterly trade winds in summer. At the end of the last Ice Age it received exclusively summer rainfall with a period in between when it received both, all within thirteen thousand years.

  5. Let’s say I am biologist. I need money for my research. Assume I am not quite a scientist, more a scientist-in-training or a scientist-wanna-be. Let us also say that there are gobs of money lying around for anything that can be associated with global warming. OK heck… why not? I might just come up with a study, about something, like my favorite bush, so I can have a travel budget and get some graduate students to carry my stuff and I get to do talks! Like David Suzuki! Yeah, that’s the ticket!

    Yeah, Bushes they are threatened… that’s the word, yeah threatened, by ah… climate change. Yeah….Oh mann, I can see the academic prizes being hung around my neck by my admirers.

    Sweet!

  6. It lacks the essential emotive angle,
    I have tried to marshal support for the creosote plant BUT – its just not in the penguin or polar bear class at all.
    And i suspect that if it lasted this long, it could also survive any outlandish hypothesis, even AGW.

  7. I have zero expertise in climate science, but nearly 60 years experience in gardening, most of that in the Mojave desert. Creosote is a very interesting plant, but has nothing to do with food. It grows so slowly, that it isn’t of any use for anything – animals don’t even eat it. It is highly flamable, and easily damaged by fire and motorized vehicles, but it survives remarkably anyway.

    As for food crops, all that is really necessary is abundant and low cost energy to deal with almost any climate change imaginable. Green houses and subterranean farms would be effective almost everywhere. The climate hysterics insist on attempting to pour two quarts of liquid into a one quart container – and call it “science.”

  8. Let’s not be quite so sarcastic. According to Wikipedia:
    ‘In 2005, Health Canada issued a warning to consumers to avoid using the leaves of Larrea species because of the risk of damage to the liver and kidneys.’
    Ok, see, there’s lots of people in this world who could safely consume this plant because we know there’s lots of people in this world who don’t have livers and kidneys. Would anybody here wish to take away a tasty, juicy, delectable food source that people without livers and kidneys could potentially enjoy? See, it is a valuable food crop after all – if you don’t have a liver or a kidney.

    Or a brain.

  9. Creosote bush? I used to live in the High Desert area of Southern California where the creosote bush thrives in summer daytime temperatures exceeding 115F while dropping to about 70F at night. Now, that’s climate change!

  10. vigilantfish says:
    February 21, 2014 at 6:12 am

    Gee, I wonder how wheat crops will fare when the climate ‘changes’? Oh, wait… different varieties have already been bred to grow in a wide range of climatic conditions.
    ________________________
    My favorite lefty told me the other day that modern wheat varieties, which grows shorter and produce greater yields, have been assigned the name “frankenwheat” among the trendy health- conscious greenies because it makes you fat. Since she weighs twice as much as me, I didn’t pop off and say “any port in a storm”.

  11. Wits School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences

    You sure this isn’t the famous wits-end university of high quality idiots. It’s great to see how they added the word environment to the list just to ensure plenty of AGW grant money.

  12. Creosote leaves used to be sold in health food stores (and might still be- don’t know.)
    The word was that the leaves, while toxic in inappropriate amounts, de- toxed or otherwise masked the traces of THC in the human body. Scuttlebutt had it that the feds banned its use for that reason.

  13. I don’t understand how the conclusion of the study was reached. If the polyploid and diploid variants of a given genome were living in the same environment, wouldn’t you expect them to resemble one another? What would be the driver for one plant to morph into something else? Wouldn’t it be a better experiment to look for species in neighboring, yet contrasting environments (Mountain tops vs. low valley at the base, for example) to see if there are polyploids that have similar genomes, yet have quite different adaptations?

  14. This cannot be a “proper” scientific study. She nowhere mentions what the climate models predict (ooops, sorry! project) will happen to yields. Can’t do a scientific study with computer models!

    sarc off/

  15. Maybe all those polyploids will kick-in when the climate starts changing? Perhaps we need to fund more studies on this?

    Oh wait…Mission accomplished!!

  16. Alan Robertson
    February 21, 2014 at 6:59 am
    says:
    ‘The word was that the leaves, while toxic in inappropriate amounts, de- toxed or otherwise masked the traces of THC in the human body.’

    Well, Colorado and Washington State just eliminated any imaginable commercial use for this plant.

  17. No link to the paper, but I’m guessing that a fairly straightforward study of the population dynamics of polyploids morphed via press release into a study that “has overturned a long-standing hypothesis about plant speciation” and “means that environmental factors do not play a large role in the establishment of new plant species.” The latter is a ridiculously long reach given all the recent work elucidating how edaphic specialization can drive speciation.

  18. What happens when plant/crop-ignorant climate change artists start speculating.
    Anyone with half a brain nows that global warming would help, not hurt, plant life, especially with an abundant supply of CO2. Ane WE control where those plants seeds go, not Nature, and if we need to move some species to a higher latitude, big deal.

  19. Right, we were thinking in Kansas of switching out wheat for coffee in preparation for climate change but then remembered we don’t live in the same fantasy world as these clowns.

  20. ” …other factors, like the ability to spread your seeds to new locations with similar habitats, are more important,” said Glennon.” Wouldn’t more extreme weather do just that with a … tumbleweed? Hmmm?

  21. I guess if this “scientist” did a study on dogs using cats; she would feel her conclusions were also valid. And they wonder why they are losing the PR battle!

  22. Why all the hand-wringing over every little thing pertaining to climate change obsession? Has anyone done a study of the propensity of climate alarmists and enviromentals to having OCD, since it appears they all have a severe case of it?
    It wasn’t that long ago when the Laurentide Ice Sheet existed where my house is now. Back then there couldn’t have been very much in the way of flora and fauna in my neighborhood, living under the ice sheet and miraculously we now have flora/fauna in abundance, seemingly no worse for the wear.

  23. 1. “Unlike humans and most other animals, plants can tolerate multiple copies of their genes – in fact some plants, called polyploids, can have more than 50 duplicates of their genomes in every cell. Scientists used to think that these extra genomes helped polyploids survive in new and extreme environments, like the tropics or the Arctic, promoting the establishment of new species.”

    The hypothesis USED to be that Polyploids used their extra genomes to survive.
    Note you can test this theory by using ANY Polyploid, not just edible ones. The hypothesis tested was a hypothesis About POLYPLOIDS. so to falsesify that theory you only need to pick a polyploid.

    2. However, when Dr Kelsey Glennon of the Wits School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences and a team of international collaborators tested this long-standing hypothesis, they found that, more often than not, polyploids shared the same habitats as their close relatives with normal genome sizes.

    in other words it is NOT the extra genomes that help polyploids survive.

    3.“This means that environmental factors do not play a large role in the establishment of new plant species and that maybe other factors, like the ability to spread your seeds to new locations with similar habitats, are more important,” said Glennon.

    So comments about how well cresote survive are NOT ON POINT. The hyopthesis was that polyploids survive BECAUSE they can use the extra genome to adapt to a changing environment.
    The study was focused on that hypothesis. They looked at a polyploid. theory tested, falsified as you who follow popper would describe.

    So what IMPLICATIONS does that have for us.

    4.“This study has implications for agriculture and climate change because all of our important crops are polyploids and they might not be much better at adapting to changing climate than their wild relatives if they live in similar climates.”

    Nothing about GMOs. Just a simple explanation.

    A) we used to think polyploids extra genome would help them survive.
    B) we tested that by looking at a polyploid.
    C) we found that extra genome didn’t help.
    D) our food is polyploid, we cannot count on the extra genome to make them more survivable.

    Finally, if you think that polyploids we eat are somehow special, if you think their extra genome will make them more survivable, then you can go prove that.

  24. After reading commentary and comments attributed to Dr Kelsey Glennon ….. my only thoughts were, …… just another published article about a study based on “circular reasoning and junk science”.

  25. “This study has implications for agriculture and climate change because all of our important crops are polyploids and they might not be much better at adapting to changing climate than their wild relatives if they live in similar climates.”

    Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution, always worked in the country and region where he was developing his new varieties. For example, when developing wheat varieties for Mexico, he lived there himself (often in places where there were no roads or tractors), and selectively bred cultivars that would survive at higher altitudes and in lower regions, so that Mexico was able to grow wheat year round, and in areas where wheat had not survived before. He also observed the kinds of rust that appeared and bred for resistance. That is the whole point of modern agricultural varieties.

    It is very intensive, on-site field work, and was always opposed by the environmental activists who complained and campaigned about possible contamination of local species, etc.. The usual. Dr. Borlaug wanted to get to Africa to divert famines quickly, as he had done in Mexico, but the environmentalists protested and successfully attacked his funders. He needed to be on site to do his work.

    This woman claiming that locally developed seed cannot adjust to climate change is ignoring the entire process of developing cereals for a particular area in real time. But many real scientists are carrying on this work and suffering persecution and smears from Greenpeace and sustainability activists. It may be that her work is supposed to contribute fodder to worthless legislation outlawing good locally developed high yield strains, on grounds that the are “not sustainable.”

  26. “Steven Mosher says:
    February 21, 2014 at 8:24 am”

    Noone is arguing the ploidy influence, it’s completely IRRELEVANT. The discussion regards the BS in this line:

    “suggesting that agricultural crops could be more vulnerable to climate change than was previously thought.”

    It suggests no such thing AT ALL. Humans manipulate the ploidy to make varieties that are more suitable to the environment desired. The varieties in Texas are grown at an average temperture of 3+ degrees relative to Kansas. They grow wheat in Mexico. We’ll survive.

    Natural genetic selection takes hundreds of years.

    “This study has implications for agriculture and climate change because all of our important crops are polyploids and they might not be much better at adapting to changing climate than their wild relatives if they live in similar climates.”

    Well heck yes, you idiots. If it warms up, plant breeders will perform another green revolution. Doh!

    Stick with your temperature reconstructions, Mosh.

  27. “This means that environmental factors do not play a large role in the establishment of new plant species and that maybe other factors, like the ability to spread your seeds to new locations with similar habitats, are more important,” said Glennon.

    It’s good to see a study that finally reaches a common-sense conclusion. I have been stating this every-time some study predicts that the warming in the arctic regions is going to mean the trees are going to start marching north.

    “This study has implications for agriculture and climate change because all of our important crops are polyploids and they might not be much better at adapting to changing climate than their wild relatives if they live in similar climates.”

    Unfortunately she believes that wild plants are much more capable of pulling up their roots and marching to new climates.

    The ability of any living organism to adapt to changing environmental conditions is dependent, first and foremost, on their mobility – this is an indisputable fact. If you find it too warm move to a cooler location. Can’t find enough food, move to somewhere with more food. Some other organism is eating you, run to somewhere else. Plants move by seed dispersal – that is another indisputable fact – there are coconut trees growing in Scotland because their seeds traveled from the Caribbean on the North Atlantic Current, not because the trees marched/swam there.

    Evolution of any organisms is dependent on their ability to adapt to the changing environmental conditions – if you can’t move out of danger, the organisms less able to adapt will die. If an entire species, with the exception of a few, cannot survive the change then the survivors pass their genetic ability to their progeny and the species adapts – this is the basic point Darwin made about Evolution and is the reason we have drug resistant bacteria, insecticide resistant bugs and herbicide resistant weeds.

  28. Steven Mosher, you said:
    “However, when Dr Kelsey Glennon of the Wits School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences and a team of international collaborators tested this long-standing hypothesis, they found that, more often than not, polyploids shared the same habitats as their close relatives with normal genome sizes.

    in other words it is NOT the extra genomes that help polyploids survive.”

    Is this what you determined from reading the paper? I don’t see how this can be gleaned from the press release. To me it looks like the showed that the different pliodies are currently occupying the same habitat. That says nothing about whether, if stressed, one or the other ploidies might adapt differently. Did they demonstrate that the specimens they observed were living at the boundary of what might be considered their normal habitat, or that the area was changing in some significant way?

    To use an oversimplified analogy, just because cows and sheep live in the same pasture, that doesn’t mean they would have equal success in all pastures.

    Also, though it has been a while since I studied Evolutionary Biology, I don’t think there was a belief that polyploids had a guaranteed evolutionary advantage. They simply result in extra genetic chances, that may in very rare cases result in speciation. And the speciation is more likely to occur if the polyploid is isolated reproductively from other ploides. So, I don’t see how they can look at this one instance and say that polyploides offer no advantage. They would have to test that against the introduction of all types changes to the habitat – new predators/diseases, new climate (did they demonstrate that?), new competitors, etc.

  29. Different varieties of cash crops are already adapted to a wide range of environments. That’s what the age old practice of selective crossbreeding is about.

  30. Berényi Péter says:
    February 21, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Different varieties of cash crops are already adapted to a wide range of environments. That’s what the age old practice of selective crossbreeding is about.
    ——————————————————————————————————————–
    Don’t tell that to anyone who is opposed to GMO (genetically modified organisms).

  31. Dare I to even make the comment that while GMO as it is considered today is a relatively new process, mankind has been selecting the best plants for next year’s seed since before they even knew they were doing it?

    Savage man once spread the best wheat from the harvest on the ground as an offering to his gods

  32. “This study has implications for agriculture and climate change because all of our important crops are polyploids and they might not be much better at adapting to changing climate than their wild relatives if they live in similar climates.”

    I have found out that

    Creosote bush is the most drought-tolerant perennial plant of North America. It can live for at least 2 years with no water at all, by shedding its leaves and even shedding branches….. The extreme drought-tolerance of the leaves is due to several factors: the leaves are small with a low surface area for water loss (image 7), the leaf cuticle is very thick and waxy, and the high stomatal resistance……Creosote bush gains it name from the resinous odour of the leaves. In fact, these plants are natural chemical factories – they produce a wide range of compounds that protect them from damage by insects and pathogenic fungi and that also prevent them from being eaten by herbivores.

    This is just like rice, the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake. Next time I go to a Indian restaurant I will order a steaming bed of creosote bush with its aromatic resinous odour, to go with my chicken balti.

  33. We must do all we can to protect the Creosote bush from global warming. It needs all the help we can provide. Think too of the children.

    The genetic and fossil evidence indicate that the Mojave creosote is a relative newcomer to our part of California. Eleven to 12,000 years ago, at the end of the Ice Age, this area would have been dominated by juniper woodland and lots of grass. As the climate became warmer and drier the junipers retreated to the nearby mountains, and a new plant, evolved from the Sonoran Desert form, appeared on the scene: our creosote bush. The newcomer was so successful in the competition for scarce water that it soon became the largest and most conspicuous plant of our desert landscape.

    http://www.nps.gov/jotr/naturescience/creosote.htm

  34. Ohhh Mosher, since you like observations and models here you go! The article said the following –

    “suggesting that agricultural crops could be more vulnerable to climate change than was previously thought.”

    We have dangerous, man-made global heating and noxious co2 belching for decades now. Here are the results and model projections. What do you think?

    Abstract – May 2013
    A Global Assessment of Long-Term Greening and Browning Trends in Pasture Lands Using the GIMMS LAI3g Dataset

    Our results suggest that degradation of pasture lands is not a globally widespread phenomenon and, consistent with much of the terrestrial biosphere, there have been widespread increases in pasture productivity over the last 30 years.

    http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/5/5/2492

    ————————————-
    Abstract – 2013
    P. B. Holden et. al.
    A model-based constraint on CO2 fertilisation
    Using output from a 671-member ensemble of transient GENIE simulations, we build an emulator of the change in atmospheric CO2 concentration change since the preindustrial period. We use this emulator to sample the 28-dimensional input parameter space. A Bayesian calibration of the emulator output suggests that the increase in gross primary productivity (GPP) in response to a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial values is very likely (90% confidence) to exceed 20%, with a most likely value of 40–60%. It is important to note that we do not represent all of the possible contributing mechanisms to the terrestrial sink. The missing processes are subsumed into our calibration of CO2 fertilisation, which therefore represents the combined effect of CO2 fertilisation and additional missing processes.
    doi:10.5194/bg-10-339-201

  35. Mike Trembley wrote:
    “The ability of any living organism to adapt to changing environmental conditions is dependent, first and foremost, on their mobility – this is an indisputable fact.”

    Actually, you must have just made that up because it makes no sense. If you are talking about a phenotype, then you are wrong because plants don’t locomote but many can nevertheless accommodate changing conditions. If you are talking about a genotype, then you are hopelessly confused because moving to where the environment is the same as the one you used to thrive in is the opposite of adapting to changing environmental conditions. In short, neither plant phenotypes, nor plant genotypes, “adapt” by changing locations. What you meant to say is that during a glacial epoch, the survival of a species is often predicated upon an ability to follow equitable habitat as that habitat changes location.

  36. “This study has implications for agriculture and climate change because all of our important crops are polyploids and they might not be much better at adapting to changing climate than their wild relatives if they live in similar climates.”

    Very true. We all know that wheat can’t be grown outside it’s natural distibution area in the Fertile Crescent, just like corn, which of course won’t flourish anywhere except in the Mexican highlands.

  37. “We must do all we can to protect the Creosote bush from global warming. It needs all the help we can provide.”

    The Creosote bush is an interesting example of extreme adaptability, since the genus Larrea is otherwise only found in South America, in the deserts from Nazca to Patagonia. Sometime in the not too distant past a creosote-bush seed must have been brought north by some migrating bird and dropped somewhere in the South-West. Its’ offspring seems to have done rather well in their new continent and habitat

  38. STOP THE PRESSES! MAJOR CLIMATE CHANGE ANNOUNCEMENT TO FOLLOW:
    “The creosote bush might not be much better at adapting to climate change than any thing else!” says researcher at Utssa Matta WIts U.

    Yeeeeooowww! Better start hoarding creosote and investing in creosote futures, right away!

  39. One.

    Thin.

    Wafer.

    Hopefully when the CAGW farce implodes it won’t leave as much of a mess as Mr. Creosote…
    (I thought they were going to blame it on the Bush….).

  40. Steven Mosher says:

    Finally, if you think that polyploids we eat are somehow special, if you think their extra genome will make them more survivable, then you can go prove that.

    About half of all flowering plants have arisen through polyploidy, and have usually survived/outcompeted their diploid ancestors, so it does seem that it must be rather advantageous from an evolutionary point of view.
    However the reason most cultivars are polyploid is most often because they are hybrids, and polyploidy is the best way to get around the problem that hybrids are usually sterile. This by the way is a type of GMO that has been going on for better than 10,000 years.

  41. If it gets any warmer, our crops won’t be able to handle the heat. They’ll burn up, we won’t have as much food, and we’ll all starve.

    If it gets cooler, they won’t be able to take the cold. They’ll freeze, we’ll have shorter growing seasons and the crops won’t grow as well, and we’ll all starve.

    So I’ve been told.

  42. Here is an interesting paper on the Creosote bush and it’s history (including the various diploid, tetraploid and hexaploid races):

    http://wwwpaztcn.wr.usgs.gov/julio_pdf/Hunter_ea.pdf

    It also has a short section on the advantages of polyploidy:

    Genetic evidence suggests that polyploids exhibit nuclear as well as cytoplasmic (chloroplast DNA) diversity, which may give a selective advantage to new polyploids. Polyploidy is prevalent at higher altitudes and latitudes and in deglaciated landscapes, and especially in monocots. Polyploid races often exhibit self-fertilization, asexual reproduction and increased drought tolerance, enabling polyploid species to colonize new, more stressful habitats

    It should be noted that all north american creosote bushes probably are descended from one single seed in the fairly recent past, probably making them an extremely unsuitable species for studying the effects of genetic diversity.

  43. Because we are onmivors we adapt our food sources to survive. During the depth of the Little Ice Age european culture moved from cereal crops to tubers and increase their live stock inventory and got along just fine. Human occupy every niche on the planet. A one or two degree increase in temperature, especially at the poles is not going to make any difference in our survival.

  44. “..like the ability to spread your seeds to new locations …”

    We can easily make up for the global warming damage we’ve done that precludes this poor plant’s power of propagation, just promote the idea that there some sort of mythological “power” associated with its seeds. For example, if enough women believe that throwing a few seeds over her shoulder will increase her chances of finding the biggest mark-downs at shoe stores – this plant will be springing up everywhere in no time, Mongolia, the Falklands, Madagascar, Newfoundland, even Jamaica !

  45. tty wrote:

    “It should be noted that all north american creosote bushes probably are descended from one single seed in the fairly recent past, probably making them an extremely unsuitable species for studying the effects of genetic diversity.”

    Thanks for the link to the paper, but I did not see this single seed statement in there. Where did you find the evidence for that?

  46. “Although her study examined plant species from North America and Europe only, she is looking forward to testing her hypotheses using South African plants.”
    ——————-

    Been to North America, toured Europe..

    now looking forward to her taxpayer funded trip to South Africa.

  47. Oh God nooooooooo…

    Oh sweet, swaddling mother nature why have you forsaken us??????

    So it’s worse then ….

    Ah well.

  48. Mosher,
    Let go of your co2 fixation for just one second, let go of the haunting future and go back to the past. Tell me what you see? Even if you seesaw disaster things are ok today, life made it through. Observations and paleo evidence are the big stinker in the room and all the evidence you need. Learn to relax like me. The world is not going to end because of 0.04 or o.8C or 2C or 4C – the paleo says the world thrives and it is now.

  49. “This study has implications for agriculture and climate change because all of our important crops are polyploids and they might not be much better at adapting to changing climate than their wild relatives if they live in similar climates.”

    Why are these little [snip] always trying to frighten us with food? They are a despicable bunch of shameless, fund seeking amateurs who do nothing to advance the human condition. Speculative drivel is their game.

  50. Almost nothing that can be said of L. tridentata has any bearing on plants in general. It is an odd ball species that has been around UNCHANGED for a very long time. It also displays little variation across its ENTIRE range! A highly specialized and stable species is definitely not a good subject to make statements about evolutionary mechanisms in general. The only real thing this study says is that L. tridentata is an amazing species that has evolved to be perfectly adapted to it’s erratic environment.

    The direction of a populations evolutionary trajectory is in the direction that maximizes that populations ability to produce offspring that live long enough to produce offspring.

  51. Well, forget all you know about climate change, and what sort of rock minerals, are going to be showing up in your driveway, or petunia garden, from changing ocean acidity.

    This is from the Palo Alto and mid Peninsula Daily Post, a freebie real estate pushing publication on dead trees. I pick it up at the medical clinic is Mountain View, to do the daily Sudoku puzzles.

    This from today the 21st Feb 2014.

    Study: Global warming will fuel (pun) crimes.

    The DP, plagiarizing from the Los Angeles Times, says, that between 2010 and 2099 climate change “can be expected to CAUSE” 22,000 new murders, 180,000 rapes, and 1.2 million aggravated assaults, (probably from reading guff like this). But this comes from a Mr. Ranson (possible speeling mistake there) of ABT associates (could be Anybody But Taxpayers).

    And for an encore, this extreme weather event calamity, will include 2.3 million “simple assaults”, (like knocking out old ladies with a surprise single punch I assume). Add 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million larcenies, and 580,000 vehicle thefts. All of this mayhem, worth $115 Billion.

    Well there you have it; all gleaned from the haggard moss on the side of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree some where in Yamal.

    ABT is in a Boston suburb in Mass…..

    Well there you have it; Pennsylvania is not the only State enjoying the clown boom.

  52. Creosote used to be used to treat telephone poles and railroad ties.
    Energy transmission and transportation.
    “Coal Trains of Death” (on their way to power plants) are going to kill us all!
    I’m confused.
    Is this study for or against preserving the means of supplying and transmitting affordable energy?

  53. Steven Mosher says:
    February 21, 2014 at 8:24 am
    “A) we used to think polyploids extra genome would help them survive.
    B) we tested that by looking at a polyploid.
    C) we found that extra genome didn’t help.
    D) our food is polyploid, we cannot count on the extra genome to make them more survivable.

    Finally, if you think that polyploids we eat are somehow special, if you think their extra genome will make them more survivable, then you can go prove that.”

    Mosher, to complete your chain of arguments:
    E) Our food crops are all ENGINEERED. WE don’t CARE whether they adapt on our own. We ENGINEER new varieties where and when we need them.

    And yes, traditional methods of producing new cultivars are a form of engineering; just with different means than newfangled GMO engineering.

  54. Watched a documentary about an American harvesting contractor, harvesting wheat.
    His machines started way down south and as the wheat ripened, harvested all the way north
    into Canada. The last harvesting done in flurries of snow. Tells me something about the adaptability of wheat. What are these people smoking?

  55. Steven Mosher – Tricky stuff, this Popper science. You have to check your assumptions too. It’s assumed that plants have to move for survival – but just maybe they can develop these poly-thingys instead?

  56. Steven Mosher raises a number of points, none of which are relevant to theory on polyploidy or to the results of this paper. All organisms are thought to use their genomes to survive, no matter what the ploidy level. Polyploids are thought to be better competitors in disturbed habitats – most of our problem crop weeds are polyploids, as are most roadside weeds. Why no headline that ‘weeds will not be worse under climate change’?

    Many populations of diploid and polyploid plants coexist as do these populations of creosote bush. Hardly surprising, especially since it diploids are the original source of polyploids. What was falsified what the expectation of frequent niche shifts in the populations they studied. Given the extreme life span of creosote clones, that is hardly surprising. Except in Macbeth, plants find it difficult to get up and move. Diploids can move as well as their seeds move. Polyploids are often sterile and survive by vegetative reproduction. I don’t know if this is true of some or all of the creosote plants studied, but I do know that our polyploid crop plants depend on people for dispersal and climate choice, so the results of this paper seem to have absolutely no relevance to the future of polyploid crops. What this study may or may not show is that for this one species (all polyploids are not necessarily equal), diploids and polyploids share similar climatic distributions.

    Only the Abstract is available on-line, but it is much less inflammatory than the press release:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1111/ele.12259/

    Evidence for shared broad‐scale climatic niches of diploid and polyploid plants
    Authors
    K. L. Glennon, M. E. Ritchie, K. A. Segraves
    Whole‐genome duplication (polyploidy) occurs frequently and repeatedly within species, often forming new lineages that contribute to biodiversity, particularly in plants. Establishment and persistence of new polyploids may be thwarted by competition with surrounding diploids; however, climatic niche shifts, where polyploids occupy different niches than diploid progenitors, may help polyploids overcome this challenge. We tested for climatic niche shifts between cytotypes using a new ordination approach and an unprecedentedly large data set containing young, conspecific diploids and polyploids. Despite expectations of frequent niche shifts, we show evidence for alternative patterns, such as niche conservatism and contraction, rather than a prevalent pattern of niche shifts. In addition, we explore how interpreting climatic niches plotted on environmental niche (principal component) axes can generate hypotheses about processes underlying niche dynamics. Dispersal capabilities or other life‐history traits, rather than shifts to new climatic niches, could better explain polyploid persistence in the long term.

  57. Col Mosby says:
    February 21, 2014 at 7:37 am

    What happens when plant/crop-ignorant climate change artists start speculating.
    Anyone with half a brain nows that global warming would help, not hurt, plant life, especially with an abundant supply of CO2. Ane WE control where those plants seeds go, not Nature, and if we need to move some species to a higher latitude, big deal.
    ——————————————————————————-
    I have an East Indian lime tree, my inheritance, in my living room with some beautiful limes on the tree and a bunch of new blossoms. The fruit is a lovely deep orange color with an exquisite flavor, fine for fish and chicken, or a mixed drink. It gets to go outside in May. Afterwards, I will have to make a greenhouse for it, as it will be to big to come back inside by next winter. As you point out we can grow anything, anywhere. I use a t-5 fluorescent, as they are very efficient and low cost in operation.

  58. A) we used to think polyploids extra genome would help them survive.
    B) we tested that by looking at a polyploid.
    C) we found that extra genome didn’t help.
    D) our food is polyploid, we cannot count on the extra genome to make them more survivable.

    Finally, if you think that polyploids we eat are somehow special, if you think their extra genome will make them more survivable, then you can go prove that.

    A) We used to think that red cars were faster.
    B) We tested that by looking at a red car.
    C) We found that the red paint didn’t help.
    D) Our cars are red, we cannot count on the paint to make them faster.

    Finally, if you think that red cars we drive are somehow special, if you think their paint will make them faster, then you can go prove that.

    Yup. Makes exactly as much sense.

  59. Matt Skaggs says:

    ” Thanks for the link to the paper, but I did not see this single seed statement in there. Where did you find the evidence for that?”

    The Creosote bush was almost certainly dispersed relatively recently from South America to North America by a bird (as noted on p. 530 in the paper). Such a sweepstake dispersal event is very unlikely to have occurred twice, or to have involved more than a single seed, given the morphology of Larrea seeds.

  60. I awoke a short while ago from a bit of restful sleep. As I lay there a stream of thought entered into the forefront. A piece of a puzzle that had been missing became clear to me. I started to go back to sleep, but realized that I was not likely to reenter sleep at this time. The thought had been too stimulating. It had keyed me upward. Then as I thought further about the experience, I came to the decision that I should tell this story, as for too many times in my life I have let things that should have been said or done unfinished. Some of these pieces that were left unfinished had negative consequences for me and for others at times. I regret some of those consequences deeply to this day. I will start from the beginning.

    All of my life from an early age, I have been aware of change/s. That includes change within me, changes in society, and changes in nature at times. The first awareness of change was in 1956. I turned 6 years old in May of that year. Around that time was the first inklings of a different stream of thought from within. That summer, which followed the great flood of 1955/56 in the Pac NW, I learned my first observable lesson of what nature can and will do at times. It can cause large changes. In this case a wonderful redwood stump fort alongside of Lagunitas Creek in Samuel P Taylor Park had been a victim of the winter flood. This would have been the first season where I was to be allowed to join the older boys and play in that fort. Now it was but a shell of it,s former glory. It wasa harsh yet clear lesson about the power of nature and that nature changes the natural world. The second part to understanding change in the years 1956/57 was that I had started to become aware of changes within me, of changes within my awareness and mentality. This was shortly after the solar minimum

    The second point of advancement in this process came in 1966. I turned 16 that year. This was the year after the great flood of 1964/65. Which was also around the time of the solar minimum. In the years prior, I had been steadily working towards increased understanding of the spiritual side of myself. I had made good gains along the way by this point in time. Working together with my brother the two of us were on the dge of discovery. The main factor in this was that which was in me. I was the catalyst, but added to that was the strength of love and trust that brothers can sometimes have. We shared that love and unbounded trust. Then, all of that came to an end. My brother tirned 18 that year. The Vietnam war was was rapidly escalating and my brother was a dropout. He made the choice to leave the country. He went to NY and then on to Spain. I was devastated. I wanted to go with him, but he pointed out that our parents would have also been devastated, if I had also left. I could understand that. Yet now my partner, my key to further progress on the path had been taken from me. The last two years of high school saw a drop in my grades as a consequence. Yet because I had made so much progress on the path, in an honest truthful search I was given an unexpected wondrous gift. At the end of the year of 1966 at the age of 16 the Holy Spirit came to me one night. Up to that point in time in my prayers, I had always asked for two things for myself. I had prayed for the gift of faith and for understanding/wisdom. Both of those requests were filled at the end of that year. Although, the gift of faith turned into the gift of no longer needing faith, as understanding replaced the need for faith. That is how that works. Then early in 1967 there was another major understanding/gift that had correlations to one of my ancestors, St Theresa of Avila, Spain.

    The third point of change came in 1976/77. This was the decade where the 9 year flood cycle was broken. That is the time of the climate shift to warming. In that year I faced death three times, where I did not see where I would live through the next minute/s of my life. Obviously, I survived all of them. The first event occurred around 6/6/1976. There would be a record of the accident to pinpoint the exact day. Part of what caused the accident was due to the drought from the previous winter. That evening there was a light rain, which was the first rain in 7 or 8 months. The other part to that accident was due to my drinking. Six people had died going off at that same spot on the Klamath River where I went off. My one thought as I went off was “goodbye baby”. Then 2 months after that in August, and 2 more months once again in October, the other 2 near death moments occurred, one from being in a runaway truck loaded with lumber, and the other from being chased down a mountain by a 50,000 pound rolling pin of Ponderosa pine. I should have never told my wife about the rolling pin. She insisted that I stop working in the woods, but we needed the money. As a result she took the children and went to Sacramento in November of 1976 to stay with her parents in protest. In one of the greatest mistakes of my life, I called an end to our marriage. In the beginning of 1977, I had a very unusual aware dream. Part of that dream comes to meet me in 1986. This was also the years around the solar minimum.

    The 4th point of change happens in 1985/86. There had been a heavy rain the year before, around the solar minimum. I had been run over by a vehicle in SF and had my right arm and leg broken in multiple places. Then at the end of 1985, there was a chance for an upswing in my life. My family opened a new restaurant. I went back to work as the kitchen manager, which I was very proficient at. Although we were soon faced with bankruptcy right away from problems elsewhere with the restaurants we had. I worked like a man possessed, which helped me heal and re-strengthen my broken body. In 1986 a lovely woman from Ireland came to work for us. She was the woman who I had seen in my aware dream in early 1977. The fact that she was from Ireland made complete sense in that my dream took place on foreign soil. I knew that it was foreign soil by the vegetation and the smell of the air during the aware dream. Ireland thus made complete sense to me, and brought wonderment to me once again as I thought ‘how could this be and why?’. We survived the bankruptcy.

    The fifth point of change came in 1996/97, the year of the semi biblical flood in No Cal and So Oregon. In January of 1996 I had an unbidden thought come to me that there was going to be a huge rain coming with the next winter. I then told quite a few people about this, because the thought came from a certain spot within me. Thoughts that come from this spot, come to pass or are correct in what they show me. That is why I was telling others about the premonition. I had never foretold a weather event before in my life. This was a first. In the fall of that year we had lost the valuable lease on our SF theater district restaurant. This was due to being stabbed in the back by a scheming lawyer. Once again the future had become tenuous for me. The winter set in and a semi biblical rain event occurred. My father had a great opportunity to acquire a lease option on a 2 acre property in Marin with an existing restaurant on it. Prospects seemed great, except there was a question of money. My dad struggled to raise the funds to do a full renovation. I suggested that we just spruce up the place and open the doors. He was not willing to do that. Later in 1977 I moved in with my folks into their Marin house. My dad was trying to play options to raise money. he had a partner who showed him how to get away from using brokers by going online. Being that I was now living with him, he told me one morning that I was now going to learn about the stock market. Throughout my adult life he had tried to get me interested in the stock market. He figured that my gifted mentality could aid him in this endeavour. So here we were. After 6 days of listening and looking over his shoulder, I told him that I could make sense of what I was seeing. So he gave me the go ahead to make a decison and place an order. He had about $36,000 left. He said that I could use $2,000 for myself and he would follow with the rest. I made an SP 500 move that was the opposite of what he had been thinking. I explained that I saw a good spot for the next 48 hours. In 36 hours my $2,000 had increased to $12,000, and his closer to the money option was now worth $290,000. He had gained over $250,000. I said sell and he said wait one more day and it could be a million. I again said sell and he then said ” so the student is going to teach the master?”. The market reversed. He still made about $20,000. My 12k had gone back to the 2k of his money, and that was it. He had killed the golden goose. Shortly after I moved to Oregon to stay with my younger brother. That was also the year of the solar minimum.

    And now for the elusive 6th point of change. I had never connected the dots to see it prior to my waking up several hours ago. The years are 2006/07. In 2006 I was fired from a good job by my boss, who was a ‘master’ at everything he had ever read or thought about. The job was color matching paints and stains for refinishers and contractors, and I found it fascinating. I had no experience at it, but soon became very good at it. In the 2.5 years in which I had worked for him I had produced 2,600 successful color matches/formulas. However, as usual, there was a problem right from the beginning, which stemmed from a lawsuit between him and a partner who shared the other half of the warehouse they had purchased together. His ‘partner’ in the building was crazy enough to the point where I brought my gun to the warehouse and kept it there. Shortly after being fired in August of 2006, I woke up one morning to find that I could no longer see out of my right eye. I lived like that for 5 years, afterwards. I soon took a job though, as a crewman for a standby for oil spills in the Carquinez Straits area around the refineries there. It was a 24 hour sit by job in a building at the end of a pier. That winter in 2006/07 there was a heavy rain where the waters of the Sacramento River actually cut us off from the land for about 4 days. It made one a bit nervous to feel the sway in the wooden pier and the building. We had boats ready for escape, if necessary. The years 2006/07 were the end of the warming. The solar minimum was the following year.

    That now brings me to my last thought for the evening or early morning and the 7th possible future point of change. I have already stated more than once at different websites that the next California flood should be due around 2016/17 or perhaps 2017/18. Now after looking at the above record of how years ending in 6 have been the dominant turning point throughout my entire life, then I would have to predict that 2016 is a high probability year for the next point of change in nature and perhaps in myself. I can well imagine how strange all of this will be to any who read this. I would find this thought strange, if someone else presented it. Afterall, I am a skeptic as most here are. In fact without being skeptical from my early years, I could have never achieved the gains that I made in my spiritual growth, as they would have been built on a false foundation. Feel free to make any comment. I stand by what I wrote here. I feel very clear and strong minded at this time.

    About 6 years ago, I had started smoking weed on a regular basis as something was causing me terrible sleep problems. I had lost several jobs because of the sleep problems. The sleep problems ended when I left the town of Benicia and moved into the mountains. Curiously, my blood pressure which had become high for the first time in my life while living in Benicia, also returned to normal within several months of living here in the mountains. Who knows why? Eleven days ago, I made the decision to clear the fumes from my mind. I want my full mentality back so that I can take the next step in re-educating myself further. I thank the many here who have shared great thought on this site and who have thus aided me in this endeavour. I am also very serious about this conversation, and the implications that it holds for the future well being of the world at large. The last coherent words that my mother spoke in her last day were to me. There were 6 of us visiting in her hospital room that day, three of my siblings, my father, myself, and a family friend. I was sitting on her right side. My mother was lost in her mind for the most part due to the morphine, which she hated. Suddenly, she reached over and grabbed my arm with what must have been all the stregth left to her weakened body. She looked straight into my eyes and asked ” Are the children safe?”. What could I say? I am an honest truthful man. Yet I had to answer back to my mother ” Yes the children are safe”. Then she drifted back into the morphine and random thoughts. That was her last day on Earth. Her final words will always be remembered.

  61. goldminor
    Interesting story especially about the options trading. Is that why options traders retire at the end of a short rope attached to a tall tree?

  62. Rick says:
    February 24, 2014 at 7:22 am
    —————————————
    It is funny how one event can alter future events. If my father had listened to me, would I have ended up in this conversation about climate change? If I had listened to my wife and not ended up divorced, where would that path have led? Would I have had that dream of standing on a hill in a foreign land next to a beautiful golden haired woman? Would that same golden haired beauty have still moved to SF and would the family restaurant at that location have come to pass? Yet here I stand as of today with my memories of all of that behind me and ready to face what the future may yet bring. I did end up with 2 beautiful children and now 6 grandchildren, all of them are excellent students. I do feel blessed with that. I have been given many treasures, which has made the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune easily digested.

  63. It is known as the Root, because it will display the root of your issues.
    Embrace the uncertainty and know that karma is in play and, over all, think.
    Now is the time to be more honest with a sweetheart.

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