Oh Noes! Salamanders shrinking due to climate change

A video of this press release follows. Here’s a screen cap from it.

salamander_shrinking_climate_Change1

CLEMSON, S.C. — Wild salamanders living in some of North America’s best salamander habitat are getting smaller as their surroundings get warmer and drier, forcing them to burn more energy in a changing climate.

That’s the key finding of a new study co-authored by a Clemson University biologist and published Tuesday in the journal Global Change Biology that examined museum specimens caught in the Appalachian Mountains from 1957 to 2007 and wild salamanders measured at the same sites in 2011-2012.

The salamanders studied from 1980 onward were, on average, eight percent smaller than their counterparts from earlier decades. The changes were most marked in the Southern Appalachians and at low elevations, settings where detailed weather records showed the climate has warmed and dried out most.

“One of the stresses that warmer climates will impose on many organisms is warmer body temperatures,” said Michael W. Sears of the biological sciences department. “These warmer body temperatures cause animals to burn more energy while performing their normal activities. All else being equal, this means that there is less energy for growth.”

To find out how climate change affected the animals, Sears used a computer program to create an artificial salamander, which allowed him to estimate a typical salamander’s daily activity and the number of calories it burned.

Using detailed weather records for the study sites, Sears was able to simulate the minute-by-minute behavior of individual salamanders based on weather conditions at their home sites during their lifetimes. The simulation showed that modern salamanders were just as active as their ancestors had been.

“Ectothermic organisms, such as salamanders, cannot produce their own body heat,” Sears explained. “Their metabolism speeds up as temperatures rise, causing a salamander to burn seven to eight percent more energy in order to maintain the same activity as their forebears.”

The changing body size of salamanders is one of the largest and fastest rates of change ever recorded in any animal and the data recorded in this study reveals that it is clearly correlated with climate change, according to Karen R. Lips, associate professor at the University of Maryland’s (UMD) department of biology and co-author on the paper.

“We do not know if decreased body size is a genetic change or a sign that the animals are flexible enough to adjust to new conditions,” said Lips. “If these animals are adjusting, it gives us hope that some species are going to be able to keep up with climate change.”

The research team’s next step will be to compare the salamander species that are getting smaller to the ones that are disappearing from parts of their range. If they match, the team will be one step closer to understanding why salamanders are declining in a part of the world that once was a haven for them.

END

[Added, h/t to reader MarcH]

As opposed to less recent studies from 2005 that indicated the reverse is true!

http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050913/full/news050912-4.html

Fossil hunters in Yellowstone National Park have discovered an unusual way to record the effects of climate change. Specimens from the past 3,000 years suggest that salamanders have grown bigger as the climate has warmed, and may continue to change as temperatures rise and lakes dry up.

During development, tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) can metamorphose and head for land rather than staying in the water. And warmer climes have made salamanders on land outgrow their water-based relatives, says Elizabeth Hadly of Stanford University in California. Hadley and her colleagues examined almost 3,000 salamander vertebrae from the park’s Lamar Cave in Wyoming.

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99 Responses to Oh Noes! Salamanders shrinking due to climate change

  1. Louis says:

    Did the study account for the Seinfeld fact that colder water causes more shrinkage?

  2. bevothehike says:

    You can’t make this stuff up. They modeled a salamander model to validate another model.

  3. Brant Ra says:

    Where is my climate change ray gun!

  4. MarcH says:

    LOL! As opposed to less recent studies from 2005 that indicated the reverse is true!

    http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050913/full/news050912-4.html

    Fossil hunters in Yellowstone National Park have discovered an unusual way to record the effects of climate change. Specimens from the past 3,000 years suggest that salamanders have grown bigger as the climate has warmed, and may continue to change as temperatures rise and lakes dry up.

    During development, tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) can metamorphose and head for land rather than staying in the water. And warmer climes have made salamanders on land outgrow their water-based relatives, says Elizabeth Hadly of Stanford University in California. Hadley and her colleagues examined almost 3,000 salamander vertebrae from the park’s Lamar Cave in Wyoming.

  5. Mark Luhman says:

    Excuse me, has there been a virus introduced in North America that has done great harm to amphibians in the last 30 years. Seems to me it cause large population of frogs to die off? Am I to assume salamanders were immune to it? Answer that question first and maybe you might have something. Here is a link to some of that research http://books.google.com/books?id=20FPwWTZHjwC&pg=PT26&lpg=PT26&dq=virus+kill+frog+north+america&source=bl&ots=qBUC7OPeKo&sig=_3tsyFgmqO5ph2kBPftkXv84nhE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=-FQyU6fXK8WdyQGJo4CQAg&ved=0CEEQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=virus%20kill%20frog%20north%20america&f=false

  6. Outtheback says:

    Or it means that when the world was heading for the next ice age, up to the late 70′s, salamanders needed to increase in size to catch more of the sun’s heat to function and survive.
    If this is indeed temperature related and happening on such a short time scale, rather then simulating behavior why don’t they put them up in the lab and have various habitats at various temps to see how they grow, or not, and watch the behavior rather then using weather conditions to model the movements. Turn the temp down according to this and T-Rex will jump right at you.

  7. p.g.sharrow says:

    They studied salamanders in their computer! Man, I’ve had bugs in my computer even a mouse and from time to time a cat on the keyboard but never a salamander. I do occasionally catch them in my house and put them out into the flower garden. Computers are too hot and dry for salamander habitat.
    Over the last 20 years the salamanders here on our 20 acres have been getting more numerous and larger. Go figure! Modern college professors often publish anything to make higher pay-grade.
    http://pgtruspace.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/an-engineers-tale/
    Sometimes just computer created BS. At least these guys were creative. 8-) pg

  8. Jay Dunnell says:

    So, they’re saying that cold-blooded salamander is doing worse in a warming environment. Now I’m not a biology major nor do I play one on TV, but I was taught in HS biology that cold-blooded creatures thrive in warmer environments not colder ones. In fact they are far more active in warmer environments.

  9. Jay Dunnell says:

    So my biology major daughter informs me that it is more probable that the population of salamanders has exploded and they are shrinking from overpopulation. Kinda like goldfish she says. LOL

  10. john robertson says:

    Is this a step up, from won’t someone please think of the children?
    So if we move salamanders populations to Terra De Fuego, we will have Godzilla in how many generations?
    Twain had it right, science is wonderful.

  11. Susie says:

    If only this worked for humans!

  12. CRS, DrPH says:

    Smaller salamanders make for better fishing bait. I’m well pleased.

    We should compile a “WUWT Glossary”….including terms such as

    Oh Noes!
    The stupid, it burns like a magnesium torch….
    Nothing to see hear, move along…

    etc. etc. Please feel free to build on this one! Cheers, Charles the DrPH

  13. Chris B says:

    “Hunny, I shrunk the salamanders!”

    Anything goes in the wild and wacky world of CAGW Cli sci.

  14. Joel O'Bryan says:

    Junk science is what happens when every conceivable observation becomes the consequence of a supposed “hypothesis”. If the salamanders get bigger, it supports global warming. If they get smaller, that too supports global warming, as they claim here. Junk science is easily seen when their is no null hypothesis.

  15. jim Steele says:

    This is typical of the studies promoting global warming and spamming the literature. If a study promotes AGW, then it gets published without challenge. Anyone who has studied amphibian populations will tell you that many factors can affect body size but this study never addressed all the confounding factors that create a difference in species size. Dry conditions will reduce growth, while warmer temperature can easily promote more growth in ectotherms.

    It is also not clear how age was determined. It is not an easy classify an amphibian’s age which have indeterminate growth. Errors in age classification can easily produce larger or smaller populations. A statistical result of smaller salamanders can be easily created if the latest survey encountered more younger and thus smaller salamanders. In the old days of rigorous science, the editors would thrown this study out. But as journals compete for articles and for headlines that will promote their journal, any correlation gets published no matter how dubious the causation.

  16. Computer model..check, global warming..check, government
    Grant check…check.

  17. garymount says:

    “…as their surroundings get warmer and drier”.
    There is this idea of what’s called a sweet spot, or a range of ideal conditions for optimal conditions. Warmer for example doesn’t necessarily mean worse, it could mean better. It depends on actual conditions, not “the change is always to worse conditions.
    There was also no mention of the increased benefits of plant food known as Carbon Dioxide. During the period studied, the conditions for plants via this enhanced plant food levels, doesn’t seem to have been mentioned.
    I know that when my body temperature is cold, I am less efficient in my movements. This study assumes that extra warmth is always non beneficial warmth, instead of from too cold to just right, its from just right to too warm. Many flaws in this study.

  18. littlepeaks says:

    Wonder how they estimate the age of the salamanders (assuming that older salamanders are larger than younger salamanders).

  19. michael hart says:

    Latter Day salamanders ain’t what they used to be…

  20. jimmyjoe says:

    So, is a larger salamander a better salamander than a smaller salamander?

  21. Dave N says:

    I don’t see the problem: since CAGW causes everything, salamanders are both growing and shrinking. Even if they stayed the same size it could be blamed on CAGW; you know, because it stunted their evolutionary growth/shrinkage.

  22. Lubos Motl says:

    And Denis Kucinich is caused by global warming, too.

  23. Gary Martin says:

    Wow! When I read about this research I realized that I am truly overjoyed to have chosen to enter the business world with a BSc.(Hon.) degree in Geophysics rather than explore the possibilities of further education and a possible Doctorate. I have had the opportunity to have a most remarkably satisfying and fulfilling career exploring for oil and gas and discovering so much of the energy that our society requires to sustain their present standard of living. True discovery , is the envy of academics who provide us with efforts so remarkably lacking fullfilment and unsatisfying as this kind of research. If only as many of them could experience the real ecstasy of actually creating something of economic value and benefit to the world at large. I am so lucky!!! They, I am not so sure….
    This is a sad commentary on so many academic endeavors.
    I f I am listening to this sales pitch and then was to have to make an investment decision…..
    I’m out!

    Always the skeptic,
    Gary

  24. thingadonta says:

    Actually you could reverse the pictures and make it consistent with climate disruption.

    Salamanders have always been getting smaller due to climate change. Salamanders have always been getting bigger due to climate change.

  25. ntesdorf says:

    They could easily replace all those lost tiny salamanders with full-size ‘artificial’ computer generated replicas. No need to feed them either.

  26. Now we know why poly bear populations are so difficult to plot – snakes are moving into the Arctic to escape Climate Change (TM). Whood have thunk it?

  27. sadbutmadlad says:

    So when temperatures were high in the distant past why were dinosaurs so big?

  28. Damian says:

    Shaka when the walls fell.

  29. Eric Worrall says:

    Come on Anthony, you know computer model output is more reliable than mere observations. And if you do have to stoop to actual measurement, its unacceptable to use raw data, until you have tweaked the observations to bring them into line with model predictions.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/16/people-underestimate-the-power-of-models-observational-evidence-is-not-very-useful/

  30. Latimer Alder says:

    These warmer body temperatures cause animals to burn more energy while performing their normal activities. All else being equal, this means that there is less energy for growth

    By extension I imagine they must be looking for the Giantest of Giant Salamanders in the cooler climes of Antarctica.

    Perhaps the Ship of Fools spotted some on their little Christmas cruise. Did anyone ask?

  31. More moronic rubbish masquerading as science, you couldn’t make it up! When will they learn that computer models just do not work, when there are a large number of variables?
    On a similar note our wonderful Met Office had a spokesman on the radio yesterday telling us that UK summers in the future would be hotter and drier than normal and winters wetter and milder due to climate change. He conveniently ignored the spectacularly wrong predictions the Met Office made for the last five years, which have cost the country £millions, also based on computer models.
    Can these salamander experts please tell me why a 100,000,000 years ago, when the world was a lot warmer, huge dinosaurs lived and have now evolved into much smaller birds, in a world a lot cooler!

  32. davidmhoffer says:

    Where are the trolls? Been a complete dearth of them of late. Its like they’re not even trying anymore. I’ve always assumed that they were cold blooded critters distantly related to amphibians and reptiles, you’d think they’d have some insight into this?

    OMG! Warming has shrunk the trolls out of existence! People! If you live close to a bridge, check underneath it for signs of trolls. If there are none, this is proof that climate change has killed off the trolls.

    Wait… what am I saying? That’s nuts, sending people to look under bridges. Why bother? I just created a computer simulation of trolls, ran it 18,000 times, and in each case got the same result. The troll population has been decimated by…. uhm… the climate models say by climate change…. but the climate data says by the climate not changing. Dangit, the whole program is now in an infinite loop…

  33. Rabe says:

    Doesn’t warmer weather provide more food for them? And being able to hunt longer every day should move their energy balance in the opposite direction from what the kids claim.

  34. sophocles says:

    Shrinking salamandars. i’d look more closely at food supply before blaming temperature.Reptiles rates of growth are very sensitive to food supply.

  35. aGrimm says:

    From Ask: “… salamanders were said to be intensely poisonous. Despite this, salamander brandy, a drink prepared by dunking live salamanders in fermenting fruit juices, is reputed to have hallucinogenic and aphrodisiac properties.”

    I think I know what these researchers have been doing. Tsk, tsk.

  36. David Schofield says:

    I wonder if weevils will be affected? If it’s a choice between a bigger one or a smaller one I always choose the greater of two weevils.

  37. Mike McMillan says:

    “Leapin’ Lizards, Sandy! Shrinking salamanders!”
    “Arf !”
    http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/1996/519816_1m.jpg?v=8C658C99E843A70

  38. DirkH says:

    “That’s the key finding of a new study co-authored by a Clemson University biologist and published Tuesday in the journal Global Change Biology that examined museum specimens caught in the Appalachian Mountains from 1957 to 2007 and wild salamanders measured at the same sites in 2011-2012.”

    Did they consider the possibility that the museum curators like to have bigger specimens in their collections? Because they’re more remarkable, mature, colorful and bigger and because bigger details are easier visible to the audience?

    In other words, what they did was compare two completely different sets of measurements. That’s like mixing tree ring temperature proxies with the instrumental temperature record.

  39. DirkH says:

    andrewmharding says:
    March 25, 2014 at 11:42 pm
    “On a similar note our wonderful Met Office had a spokesman on the radio yesterday telling us that UK summers in the future would be hotter and drier than normal and winters wetter and milder due to climate change. He conveniently ignored the spectacularly wrong predictions the Met Office made for the last five years,”

    The same models predict a wet Saudi Arabia, a prediction that, would it come to pass, make it very difficult to sell Global Warming as something negative; so they’re never talking about that and when asked about it, maintain that they still need to improve the models because quite obviously a wetter Saudi Arabia must be some kind of mistake. Ask them about it when you find a warmist! But they’ve gotten pretty small recently, as Alexa measurements show.

  40. DirkH says:

    Oh, and thanks for the Godzilla comparison photo, Anthony; wonderful!

  41. urederra says:

    bevothehike says:
    March 25, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    You can’t make this stuff up. They modeled a salamander model to validate another model.

    Breaking news!
    Climate change causes scientists to become lazier

  42. Mike Bromley the Kurd says:

    Are model salamanders slimy? Or sticky? Do they put a prune-factor in there to account for deadly desiccation? Did I just read what I think I read? Holy Mother of Pearl, these people are second-generation products of a completely unprincipled education. Common Core crackpots. What’s worse, they haven’t a clue how absolutely clueless they are, or that a journal called “Global Change Biology” has sprouted up to regurgitate the meme. Fan-frikkin-tastic.

  43. Mike Bromley the Kurd says:

    davidmhoffer says:
    March 26, 2014 at 12:25 am

    “You know you gotta pay the toll, ’cause even Trolls like rock & Roll…..”

    -Tony Joe White

  44. George says:

    Who on earth pays for this ridiculous, inconclusive research? I wonder whether these bright boys took into consideration the following: There has been no global warming over the past 18 years, so the reduction in growth must have been over the sixteen years following 1980: Are they commenting on every salamander, or are there bigger salamanders to be found elsewhere in the area? Did they compare like with like in their breeding cycle, if not, is it possible that their specimens were not yet fully grown? Were the 1980 specimens collected at the same time of the year for a true comparison to be made? Did they consider whether it is possible that salamanders might grow bigger in the years when there is more sun, compared to the years when there is less sun? Were the 1980 specimens representative of the size of all salamanders at that time, or were they selected because of their size?
    The world is waiting with bated breath for answers to these vital questions, otherwise we are all doomed. Thank god for computer models

  45. Bloke down the pub says:

    There is always the possibility that human nature had some impact on this ‘research’. When preserving specimen, there may have been a temptation to keep the best, ie largest examples.

  46. Lew Skannen says:

    Well I for one feel a lot safer without those dangerous 100 foot high salamanders around stomping people.
    Thank you climate change.

  47. TomB2 says:

    Give the guy a break, he has proven the theory of evolution with nothing more than a computer model. Worth half a Nobel Prize at least!

  48. Jimbo says:

    How come dinosaurs grew so big in all the heat? How come animals shrunk as the world cooled?

    Geologic temperature record

    The southern half, Gondwana, was drifting into an eastern segment that would form Antarctica, Madagascar, India and Australia, and a western portion that would form Africa and South America. This rifting, along with generally warmer global temperatures, allowed for diversification and dominance of the reptiles known as dinosaurs.
    http://www.livescience.com/28739-jurassic-period.html

    The Geological Society of London
    Climate Change
    http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/climatechange

  49. alexwade says:

    It is like some sort of Mad-libs game we used to play as children.

    The (insert name of any animal here) will suffer under climate change because it will (insert bad condition here). Using new computer models from (insert your university / institution / organization here), it can be shown that the (insert that same animal name here) will experience catastrophic population (choose increases or decreases here, whichever is worse in this instance) by (insert a date 10 years after you retire here).

    Recycle, repeat. It doesn’t matter.

  50. Jimbo says:

    Does global warming only affect “Wild salamanders living in some of North America”?

    Giant salamanders are famous for, well, being giant, with record-holding specimens of the Chinese giant salamander reaching 1.8 m and 65 kg. Some fossil species were bigger, with A. matthewi from Miocene North America reaching 2.3 m

    Temperatures over 65 million years

  51. A. Smith says:

    They really should include the cost to taxpayers for conducting this study. When you get money shelled out for measuring salamanders to back your political agenda… HOUSTON>>> WE HAVE A PROBLEM!!!

  52. John says:

    Cause/Effect is assumed in this study.

  53. Gamecock says:

    Salamanders are not affected by climate change in the Appalachian Mountains. They move up and down the mountains to find the climate they like best. Indeed, there are mountain islands of salamander species. They migrated up the mountains and become isolated.

  54. Jimbo says:

    Can I say shrinkgrow?

    Batrachosauroidids have a fossil record that extends from the Upper Cretaceous to the Pliocene (a possible member of the groups has been reported from the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary, however) and they’re known from North America as well as Germany and France. They seem to have been large, long-bodied salamanders, probably with reduced limbs, with subtriangular, poorly ossified skulls superficially similar to those of amphiumas.
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/2013/10/01/amazing-world-of-salamanders/

  55. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    Science is wonderful; you can find an example to match any theory. The essence of the shrinking salamander theory is the little critters are more active in warmer temperatures and therefore expend more energy from the same food intake and therefore grow less. Left unstated is why the more active salamanders don’t spend that extra energy seeking more food, more mates, or any of the other activities which promote species survival. Maybe the warmer climate turns off the genes controlling survival behavior? Attention research whores: major new grant funding opportunity here; get those applications in pronto. Turn the crank on few new computer models, predict some new disasters and just imagine the publication possibilities.

    And on the other side of the coin we have Titanoboa , an extinct species of super boa-constrictor — largest example found had a total length of around 12.8 m (42 ft) and weighed about 1,135 kg (2,500 lb). The key thing with this guy is its size required a much warmer climate than we have today:

    Because snakes are ectothermic, the discovery implies that the tropics, the creature’s habitat must have been warmer than previously thought, averaging approximately 30 °C (90 °F).[1][2][5][6] The warmer climate of the Earth during the time of T. cerrejonensis allowed cold-blooded snakes to attain much larger sizes than modern snakes.[7] Today, larger ectothermic animals are found in the tropics, where it is hottest, and smaller ones are found farther from the equator.[3]

    However, several researchers disagreed with the above estimate. For example, a 2009 study in the journal Nature applying the mathematical model used in the above study to an ancient lizard fossils from temperate Australia predicts that lizards currently living in tropical areas should be capable of reaching 33 feet, which is obviously not the case.[8]

    In another critique published in the same journal, Mark Denny, a specialist in biomechanics, noted that the snake was so large and was producing so much metabolic heat that the ambient temperature must have been four to six degrees cooler than the current estimate, or the snake would have overheated.[9]

    (my comment: I would never dispute a peer-reviewed paper published in Nature, but I note that today the largest ectothermic animals live in tropical zones [snakes, crocodiles, lizards]; as you get further away from the tropics they either disappear or get smaller. I’ve never seen an alligator wandering around the Atlanta area but if you go about three hundred miles, or 480 km, further south, they become common water hazards on public golf courses (you are excused if you don’t play that one where it lies). It appears shedding extra metabolic heat is less of a problem for ectothermic species than not enough ambient warmth in the climate.).

    I don’t think the risk of super snakes has been factored in the likely cost of continued global warming, so it could be even worser than we thought. After all, snakes this big can’t get by eating just survival-inhibited shrunken salamanders, so they’re going to come looking for human-sized meals. Even polar bears, especially those suffering malnutrition because ice-free Arctic seas don’t allow them to eat enough baby seals, will be on the menu for Titanaboa.

    Heavens, are we scared yet?

  56. Tom J says:

    Louis on March 25, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    ‘Did the study account for the Seinfeld fact that colder water causes more shrinkage?’

    I woke up this morning, opened up WUWT, and read this story about teensy weensy salamanders, and the first thought that came to mind was that Seinfeld episode. And I’ll be damned if you beat me to it. I salute you!

  57. Col Mosby says:

    Eight percent change sounds pretty small, especially considering the likely sampling errors they
    experienced. I place no faith in any claimed need to explain such a change. Junk science, apparently contradicted by other studies.

  58. Gary Pearse says:

    “To find out how climate change affected the animals, Sears used a computer program to create an artificial salamander”!!!

    I’m sure I’m not the only one to have commented on this! Gor’ blimey! I think Jim Steele should write a book on Biology the corrupted science. I think a history of this dysfunction would start with Ehrlich. I seem to recall what little biology I studied (geology) was descriptively detailed, informative and certainly unhyped, in the tradition of Darwin.

  59. beng says:

    Stupid. Avg temps in the southern Appalachians aren’t warming — slight cooling IIRC.

  60. cynical1 says:

    All else being equal, this means that there is less energy for growth.”

    Unless you are Australian.

    Here, “Record’ warmth brings an obesity epidemic.

    Must be the air conditioned escape capsules.

    AKA Maccas…

  61. Jim Bo says:

    George says: March 26, 2014 at 3:13 am

    Who on earth pays for this ridiculous, inconclusive research?

    Looks like, for the most part, you do…

    Clemson University

    Employee Full-time Equivalents by Fund Source, Category and Department for 2013

    Biological Sciences: Total: 134.14 Public Services Activities/Accounts – Federal: 106.12

    http://www.clemson.edu/oirweb1/FB/factBook/CUfactbook_dev.cgi?conf_file_name=FBF_EmployeebyFundFBCatDept2_Oprodx&tabbness=2&colapp=8

  62. Gary Pearse says:

    Well we won’t be talking about California and Texas needing rain now at least – both states are getting it good.

    http://www.intelliweather.com/popup/nat_rad_popup.htm

    Oh and could someone in South Carolina go out and collect some salamanders for a photo shoot? I don’t trust any biologist (except Jim Steele) anymore. It certainly hasn’t been warm recently in SC – as an engineer, I would estimate this is worse for salamanders than the warmth.

  63. kenw says:

    So what is the official name of the Murphy’s law variant that states ‘If the data (aka observational research) does not conform to the theory (aka model salamander) it must be discarded.”?

  64. Gary says:

    To find out how climate change affected the animals, Sears used a computer program to create an artificial salamander, which allowed him to estimate a typical salamander’s daily activity and the number of calories it burned.

    Well then, it’s really quite a simple problem to solve. Add some more cooling fans to Sears’ computer to chill down those artificial salamanders. They quickly will regain their former size and the world will be a better place. Catastrophe averted. Whew.

  65. Mickey Reno says:

    Can we please send these computer modelers out into the Everglades to find all the Burmese Pythons now living there because negligent humans released their beloved “pets” after they got too large to care for? They can come back when they’ve found all of them.

  66. Jimbo says:

    Anthony, check this out. At least there is one bit of good news in a warming world.

    Abstract
    Rapid diversification and dispersal during periods of global warming by plethodontid salamanders

    A phylogeny and timescale derived from analyses of multilocus nuclear DNA sequences for Holarctic genera of plethodontid salamanders reveal them to be an old radiation whose common ancestor diverged from sister taxa in the late Jurassic and underwent rapid diversification during the late Cretaceous. A North American origin of plethodontids was followed by a continental-wide diversification, not necessarily centered only in the Appalachian region. The colonization of Eurasia by plethodontids most likely occurred once, by dispersal during the late Cretaceous. Subsequent diversification in Asia led to the origin of Hydromantes and Karsenia, with the former then dispersing both to Europe and back to North America. Salamanders underwent rapid episodes of diversification and dispersal that coincided with major global warming events during the late Cretaceous and again during the Paleocene–Eocene thermal optimum. The major clades of plethodontids were established during these episodes, contemporaneously with similar phenomena in angiosperms, arthropods, birds, and mammals. Periods of global warming may have promoted diversification and both inter- and transcontinental dispersal in northern hemisphere salamanders by making available terrain that shortened dispersal routes and offered new opportunities for adaptive and vicariant evolution.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/104/50/19903.full

  67. Pachygrapsus says:

    Is there an algorithm to correlate salamander size to Hiroshima bombs? I’m comfortable with Imperial to metric conversions, but these new units are driving me nuts.

    On a serious note, studies like these have created the myth of the consensus. Researchers in virtually every field have been taught that the default assumption is a warmer climate , and of course their work is going to be based that premise. If they had been taught the opposite then we’d be reading about monster salamanders in a colder world. In neither case would it mean that they’ve critically evaluated the physics of a changing climate. This isn’t a consensus, it’s just a meaningless game of follow the leader.

  68. Jimbo says:

    Here is something for you salamander lovers.

    Abstract
    Evolution of Gigantism in Amphiumid Salamanders
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0005615#pone-0005615-g005

  69. Jim Bo says:

    Pachygrapsus says: March 26, 2014 at 6:29 am

    This isn’t a consensus, it’s just a meaningless game of follow the leader…and money.

    Fixed.

    A reality that appears to escape most CAGW fawning media. Fortunately, we much less sophisticated, intellectually challenged dullards have somehow managed to figure it out for ourselves.

  70. Jimbo says:

    Haaaa haaaaa. Shukman has finally lost the plot after the Met Office’s latest garbage. Shukman is being a useful idiot to plead indirectly for funds for the useless Met Office. Sad.

    UK’s future climate to be all sorts
    …………….
    “So, lots of uncertainty remains – and the scientists are hoping that bigger computers and better models will help provide clearer answer in future.”
    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26731790

    Rebuttal
    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/warm-cold-drywet-its-all-your-fault-anyway/

  71. Tom J says:

    Silly. All Michael W. Sears had to do to discover the reason behind the shrinking size of salamanders was go out to the local sporting goods or bait & tackle store and apply for the state salamandering license. He would’ve seen, right there on the salamandering license, the new state reg requiring salamanders below a certain size to be unhooked and thrown back. Mystery solved.

  72. ferd berple says:

    Jay Dunnell says:
    March 25, 2014 at 9:26 pm
    I was taught in HS biology that cold-blooded creatures thrive in warmer environments not colder ones. In fact they are far more active in warmer environments.
    ==========
    the largest lizard on earth, the komodo dragon, lives at sea level on the equator on a couple of hot, mostly dry islands in indonesia. outside the tropics lizards get smaller and smaller as the climate gets colder and colder.

  73. Jim Sweet says:

    At least they lose the atomic fire breathing thing in the process….

  74. jayhd says:

    “Sears used a computer program to create an artificial salamander, which allowed him to estimate a typical salamander’s daily activity and the number of calories it burned.”

    As far as I’m concerned, Sears lost all credibility right there. The word “artificial” coupled with the word “estimate” rules out the possibility of any definite conclusion being drawn from the study.

  75. Jimbo says:

    Abstract
    …We compared historic and contemporary size measurements in 15 Plethodon species from 102 populations (9450 individuals) and found that six species exhibited significant reductions in body size over 55 years. …
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12550/abstract

    What about the other 9 species?

    It can’t be a good thing to use Appalachian Plethodon Salmanders as bait.
    http://www.amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Desmognathus&where-species=monticola

  76. techgm says:

    Anthony, I loved the images. – a good 10 seconds of laughter. But are you getting crotchety over the unceasing absurdities that continue to be released as examples of science (paid for with taxpayer money)? You may have hurt some feelings.

    Keep it up.

  77. Brian says:

    DirkH said, “The same models predict a wet Saudi Arabia”

    - can you post a source for that? I’d love to use that in other comments…

  78. milodonharlani says:

    Sad fate of the over-hunted, dammed up, polluted, incredible shrinking giant Chinese salamander:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_giant_salamander

  79. eyesonu says:

    Could a pic of Godzilla holding a human please be included in the lead post. Much like the ones of King Kong holding a beautiful woman ever so gently. Naked please.

    Did global warming also shrink the apes and gorillas? Well we know there are more CAGW apes but are they smaller in size (physical size)? Their brains have obviously shrunk.

  80. Tamara says:

    There were supposed to have been amphibians up to 30 feet long during the Carboniferous period – in warmer temps and higher CO2 than today.
    Like others, I am wondering why they think the museum samples are representative and whether they bothered to examine the food supply, land-use impacts, shifts in geographical range, and whether or not the ever increasing number of curious-creature-catching-kids has anything to do with it?

  81. DirkH says:

    Brian says:
    March 26, 2014 at 8:52 am
    “DirkH said, “The same models predict a wet Saudi Arabia”
    - can you post a source for that? I’d love to use that in other comments…”

    IPCC AR5:
    http://change.nature.org/2013/09/27/latest-mega-report-on-climate-science-sets-alarm-for-action/

    I used google images with the search “change in precipitation 2100″
    Important: look for global maps; don’t look specifically for “Saudi”; because the reports on any given particular region are carefully weasel-worded and results selected to show only the negative outcomes. We are scientists after all and we know where the bread is buttered.

  82. JimS says:

    Other than climate change being responsible for the oceans smelling differently, this has got be one of the stupidest “scientific” claims about what climate change is doing to the environment.

  83. chadb says:

    Population samples of 3, comparison of museum species to wild caught, claims of being able to measure salamanders to within 10 microns, and a stunning lack of giving the variation within populations. Somebody really ought to have reviewed this paper before it was published. They have a total of 1 species (cinereus) that might fall out of the 95% CI if the population statistics were properly accounted for. Also, they rejected “obvious juveniles” thereby eliminating any observer bias. I am sorry, but doesn’t the observer decide what is an “obvious jouvenile?”

  84. catweazle666 says:

    FFS…

  85. george e. conant says:

    Was not it salamanders that first waded out of the waters to walk on land ? I seem to recall a TV series “Dinosaurs!” that had a whole show dedicated to huge salamanders living in tropical conditions that ate anything that moved smaller than them….

  86. milodonharlani says:

    george e. conant says:
    March 26, 2014 at 10:49 am

    The first land vertebrates did indeed resemble enormous salamanders, but modern amphibians are quite different from their Devonian & Carboniferous tetrapod ancestors. The large “amphibians” which lived during the days of the big dinosaurs were also still different from their “lissamphian” relatives.

  87. DD More says:

    Jay Dunnell says: March 25, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says: March 26, 2014 at 6:02 am

    My thought’s exactly. How does it feel to be more informed than an official in the “biological sciences department“.

    Only question now is did the modeled salamander save ‘more’ / ‘less’ / or just 15% off his car insurance?

  88. Jimbo says:

    All this talk of animals under threat is just too one sided. Earth is more robust than we previously thought.

    Abstract
    Systematics and Biodiversity – Volume 8, Issue 1, 2010
    Kathy J. Willis et al
    4 °C and beyond: what did this mean for biodiversity in the past?
    How do the predicted climatic changes (IPCC, 2007) for the next century compare in magnitude and rate to those that Earth has previously encountered? Are there comparable intervals of rapid rates of temperature change, sea-level rise and levels of atmospheric CO2 that can be used as analogues to assess possible biotic responses to future change? Or are we stepping into the great unknown? This perspective article focuses on intervals in time in the fossil record when atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased up to 1200 ppmv, temperatures in mid- to high-latitudes increased by greater than 4 °C within 60 years, and sea levels rose by up to 3 m higher than present. For these intervals in time, case studies of past biotic responses are presented to demonstrate the scale and impact of the magnitude and rate of such climate changes on biodiversity. We argue that although the underlying mechanisms responsible for these past changes in climate were very different (i.e. natural processes rather than anthropogenic), the rates and magnitude of climate change are similar to those predicted for the future and therefore potentially relevant to understanding future biotic response. What emerges from these past records is evidence for rapid community turnover, migrations, development of novel ecosystems and thresholds from one stable ecosystem state to another, but there is very little evidence for broad-scale extinctions due to a warming world. Based on this evidence from the fossil record, we make four recommendations for future climate-change integrated conservation strategies.
    DOI: 10.1080/14772000903495833
    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14772000903495833#.UzMQtJx9CHQ

    —————
    Abstract
    ZHAO Yu-long et al – Advances in Earth Science – 2007
    The impacts of the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM)event on earth surface cycles and its trigger mechanism
    The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) event is an abrupt climate change event that occurred at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary. The event led to a sudden reversal in ocean overturning along with an abrupt rise in sea surface salinity (SSSs) and atmospheric humidity. An unusual proliferation of biodiversity and productivity during the PETM is indicative of massive fertility increasing in both oceanic and terrestrial ecosystems. Global warming enabled the dispersal of low-latitude populations into mid-and high-latitude. Biological evolution also exhibited a dramatic pulse of change, including the first appearance of many important groups of ” modern” mammals (such as primates, artiodactyls, and perissodactyls) and the mass extinction of benlhic foraminifera…..
    http://159.226.74.2/wxdata/En/Show.asp?id=8613

  89. Gunga Din says:

    Contradictory studies that blame Global Warming for the results. The one that seems the best fit is the one that will be touted. The other will be forgotten. As long as the cause is Man.

  90. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    Jimbo says:
    March 26, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I know I’ve said it before, but Jimbo you amaze me. You are consistently WUWT’s quickest and most prolific provider of citations and abstracts. Thanks.

  91. timg56 says:

    I followed the link to the journal and did not find the article in either the April or March issue.

  92. tegiri nenashi says:

    Biology can be considered hard science. One can dive into bioinformatics databases, study complex chains on chemical reactions, invent new drugs… And those einsteins took the ruler and went to the forest measuring 10 species length to cook yet another global warming paper.

  93. Eamon Butler says:

    I’m so F@#!*n glad Darwin didn’t have access to a computer. Has anyone made a study of the ever increasing size of Bull Shit piles, which seems to have a strong correlation with Climate change?

  94. old44 says:

    Good one Grumpsville, there is a film in that, “Snakes on Icebergs”

  95. True Conservative says:

    Wasn’t it a WARM climate when the dinosaurs reigned? Just think how much LARGER they would have been during an ice age????

  96. Robert of Texas says:

    Excuse me!…Helloooo… Pretty sure Godzilla was a reptile (mutant, fire breathing, possibly dinosaurian but drug its tail around and walked really funny), NOT a salamander… Here is a link to the salamander before global warming shrunk them: http://paleocave.sciencesortof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/BB-Japanese-Giant-Salamander.jpg

    Seriously, I didn’t realize they got this darn big! LOL

  97. Steve in SC says:

    The larger salamanders (aka spring lizards) have all been eaten. They are excellent fish bait.
    Check any one of the 15 or so bait shops within 10 miles of Clempson (that is how we say it here)

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