Now it's CO2 killing "Nemo"

From the “CO2 is the most deadly omnipotent force in the Universe department”, comes this tragic story of poor Nemo the clownfish, so disoriented by CO2 that he can’t choose the right path to swim. Rebuttal(s) follow in subsequent posts, but first here is the story on the research from James Cook University. Original press release here, ABC news story below. Look for a Disney/Pixar sequel soon, sure to frighten the children. – Anthony

Red  Sea Clownfish (Amphiprioninae)

Rising CO2 levels could see some small fish engage in 'risky' behaviour. (stock.xchng: Stefan König)

Rising CO2 may lead Nemo to danger

By Katherine Nightingale for ABC Science Online

Global warming could have an unexpected effect on the clownfish star of Finding Nemo and his kind, by making them indulge in risky behaviour, say researchers.

Previous research indicates that as carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere climb the surface water of the oceans could become acidic.

Scientists have already shown that this acidification interferes with fish larvae’s sense of smell and ability to find a suitable home.

Now research led by marine researcher Professor Philip Munday of James Cook University (JCU) has found it could also make fish less aware of – and even attracted to – predators.

They publish their research this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

As part of the study, the researchers put clownfish and damselfish larvae into seawater equivalent to that which would be found if the atmosphere contained 700 ppm and 850 ppm of CO2 – levels that could be reached by the end of the century.

They found that after four days, half of the larvae in the 700 ppm group were less able to detect the smell of a predator, while all the larvae in 850 ppm group were actually attracted to the predator scent.

Damselfish larvae that were then released onto a reef were more active and behaved more boldly than normal, spending less time near shelter and more time near predators. They were also five to nine times more likely to die than normal fish born in 390 ppm conditions.

Profound implications

The results suggest this could have a huge impact on ocean biodiversity.

“Being attracted to the smell of a predator isn’t likely to be a very good thing,” Mr Munday said.

Professor David Booth, a marine ecologist at the University of Technology Sydney who was not involved in the study, says the behavioural choices made by young fish are thought to strongly affect populations.

“This finding of negative effects on such choices could have profound implications for the dynamics of fish populations,” he said.

The researchers are now trying to pin down why acidification causes the fish to behave more boldly, as well as looking at the wider effects on population balance in reef ecosystems.

Mr Munday says, for example, different species could have different tolerances, and acidification could make predators more or less inclined to eat.

Professor Geoffrey Jones, also of JCU and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said the research took the level of concern about the effects of climate change on coral reef fish “to a whole new level”.

“Without drastic action to cut emissions, all we can do is hope that fish will be able to adapt,” Mr Jones said.

“However, given that the rate of CO2 increase is unprecedented, there are no grounds for optimism.”

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

Scene from "Finding Nemo" 2003, Disney/Pixar - balloon added

Gosh, look at this, CO2 (confirmed by sampling and analysis) bubbling right out of the sea floor next to healthy reef corals. More on this later.

Co2 bubbling from the sea floor near health corals near Papua New Guinea. - photo by Bob Halstead, Townsville, QLD, AU.

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131 thoughts on “Now it's CO2 killing "Nemo"

  1. “Global warming could have an unexpected effect on the clownfish star of Finding Nemo and his kind, by making them indulge in risky behaviour, say researchers.”
    Like, uhhh…unprotected sex? Very bizarre choice of words!

  2. In the end when you read the article it all comes down to “could/if/may” doesnt it? The authors are trying to portray their research as reality when in fact it is as far from reality as its possible to get outside congress/parliament.
    Like all the other stocking fillers, hundreds of them, they look real but on closer inspection they are just faked fronts. They are all the same, ‘ifs and mays’ based on biased supposition of an unproven effect caused by a trace gas that has somehow in the eons of the earths evolution not happened before even with great CO2 concentrations.
    It aint science is it? Its rekord soviet traktor targets, made up hogwash and badly made up slapdash hogwash at that, it should be laughed at and failed if it came from a eighth graders term paper.

  3. Well, if Nemo likes the smell of the sharks and if the predators “could” be less inclined to eat, then that’s a bad thing?
    “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6)
    And maybe, when that glorious day comes, these rentseeking idiots will give over with their infantile scare stories?

  4. Marvelous stuff. Thanks for that, Anthony. My nerve endings are all-a-shiver -oops, sorry, that should be all-a-sweaty! Poor Nemo. Somebody challenge these guys credentials, please. I find the conclusions some of these ‘pseudo scientists’ mind boggling. Fruit loops and space cadets, all of them. How do they draw a salary? CO2 emissions have historically been as high as 1700 ppm with earth’s temperature cruising at a pleasant average of around 22 degrees -with no human contribution. Don’t they know anything? It’s hard to believe so many, otherwise passably intelligent human beings can be so seduced by money and prestige (I know, I realise, there’s nothing new in that) by there sycophantic peers to perpetuate these myths.
    Somehow, I think Nemo will survive -he’s a cartoon, for heaven’s sake! (Just like these fellows!)

  5. Well, this fits in well with the announcement that fish actually talk to each other.
    Some reef fish, such as the damselfish, made sounds to attempt to scare off threatening fish and even divers, he said.
    Breitbart link
    There’s a joke in this somewhere, but I don’t speak damselfish.

  6. A few years ago, Pixar put out a Christmas card that had a half open box of sushi, on it, with some of the pieces orange and black and white.

  7. So CO2 now causes “risky behavior” in otherwise cautious individuals?
    That explains a lot. The government should fund a grant to some suitably credentialed academic with nothing better to do to conduct research into whether lowering the CO2 content of the air in gay bath houses reduces the frequency of unsafe sex.

  8. It reminds me of an experiment that could have been done in London many years ago. There was a moth (I think) that was most likely to be white, but occasionally would be black. An experiment that placed those moths against a black background (such as created from soot from factory chimneys) would have those moths being killed in great rates because they would be so visible.
    Obviously a major threat to the moth species. Doom and disaster!
    Of course, what actually happened was natural selection changed the moth to being predominantly black with some white ones. The moth species survived quite happily. When conditions changed and the London air was cleaned up, the moth changed back to being predominantly white.
    The report says that half of the larvae were disorientated at the 700ppm level, so that means half weren’t. Clearly, that half (with apparently some resistance) will be the ones that the next generation will spring from, with a good probability of inherited resistance.
    You put a person from ice cold water into very hot water, and they’ll have an extreme reaction, probably involving yelling and cursing. You ease them slowly from ice cold water to very hot water, and they’ll cope quite well.
    To me the study, while technically accurate, is clearly not relevant to how the fish species will react if CO2 levels increase.

  9. Ask any aquarist who grows corals to see if they use a Calcium Reactor.
    Deposits of dead coral are mined, chopped up into bits, sold and packed into the reactor.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aragonite
    CO2 gas is then bubbled through — the acidification breaks down the calcium compounds in the dead coral and provides nutrients for the living and growing new coral.
    http://www.marinedepot.com/calcium_reactors__index-ap.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_reactor
    CO2 gas is a big friend to healthy reef ecosystems…

  10. So they released fish that had lived in the safety of a laboratory fish tank into the wild and wonder why most of them got eaten because didn’t recognize predators.
    Did they do a study on how many young Nemo’s are actually born stupid and never make it to maturity?

  11. Wow – did any of you people actually read the paper before commenting?
    So – scientists do a study, publish the results, and the best you can come up with is to call them fruit loops and space cadets or to quote from the bible without ever having laid eyes on what they have written.
    Here’s a hint people – before opening your mouth or putting fingers to keyboard, go away and read the thing that you are about to comment on. That way you might be able to claim a modicum of credibility (it also helps to have a science education as well – and no, graduating high school does not count).
    REPLY: Your sort of comment also suffers from foot in mouth disease. Look here and tell me where the full paper is? http://www.pnas.org/site/misc/highlights.shtml#fish
    That’s the preview at PNAS. The full paper isn’t there, its behind a paywall The press release doesn’t have a link to the full paper either, http://www-public.jcu.edu.au/news/JCUPRD1_058449
    They journal system leaves the public out in the cold, unless the public is willing to pay twice for the publicly funded work.
    -A

  12. You should know, when people use the words “climate change” without pre-qualifying those words by putting the words “Man-Made” before those words just like QE2 did, those people are just trying to trick people with word games.

  13. Is there a secret competition amongst AGW types in which they publish increasingly bizarre articles and publications just to see what the public will swallow?

  14. You sound like an idiot, just like the Queen of England at the UN, when you say the words “Climate Change” when you really mean “Man-Made Climate Change”. Those are two completely different concepts. Climate Change has been happening for millions of years and nobody can stop it, period.

  15. The sad thing about these psuedo science mumbo jumbo excersises is that they deny funding to real scientists trying to do real research, money is flowing in the wrong direction entirely.
    This is setting back science and preventing it from creating the ideas the we need to survive and thrive, the very last thing the above ramblings represent is scientific endeavour, it represents a modern desire to grab funding for some people to go scuba diving in great locations on someone elses dime.
    You have clown scientists investigating clown fish funded by clown politicians, what exactly is the correct term for a group of clowns?

  16. This is very serious subject. It obviously needs some big grants for further long term study over the next decade or two.

  17. So you raise the larvae in artificially low alkaline water for 4 days, then put them in normal seawater and their senses get screwed up – boy that’s a surprise.
    It isn’t the lower pH that is the problem, it is the change. Doesn’t anyone do real science anymore?

  18. mandas says:
    July 8, 2010 at 12:24 am
    Wow – did any of you people actually read the paper before commenting?

    Mandas, many of us have indeed read it, and many of us are completely jaded by the torrent of alarmist BS put out by “scientists” these days. When tax-funded “scientists” are all saying that everything about this natural gas is dangerous in every way (runaway high temps, record snowfall, sea acidification, extinctions, kamikaze clown fish) when we know there is nothing unprecedented about these levels, it just makes me want to puke each time I read this crap. I mean, how did poor Gaiya survive this long? And ok, so they’re not actually saying the CO2 levels are unprecedented, but rather the “rate of increase” is unprecedented – but still there is no real world evidence to suggest that the current “rate of increase” is in itself dangerous.
    “Without drastic action to cut emissions, all we can do is hope that fish will be able to adapt,” Mr Jones said.
    “Drastic action” my arse. What the aptly named Prof (Geoffrey) Jones is saying is, we need to go back to living in the stone age, or else the end is nigh (at least for Nemo).
    Professor Geoffrey Jones, also of JCU and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said the research took the level of concern about the effects of climate change on coral reef fish “to a whole new level”.
    A whole new level! It seems “worse than we thought!” is sooo last year! It’s now taken to “a whole new level!” Somebody give the professor a valium, he needs it.

  19. Please, please, please, always, always, always, prefix the term Climate Change with the word “Anthropogenic”, it sounds far more scientificky & technical & clever than boring old Climate Change! Back to sleep. BTW the way its been very warm in June & July in the UK, must be man-made global warming! What’s it like in the Colonies in your Summer/woops Northern Hemisphere Global Warming period?

  20. I wonder what kind of acid these fish were being fed (or the researchers for that matter).” One for me, one for you…..

  21. Did they report exactly how the pH of the seawater changed when they got to 850 ppm?
    My understanding is that seawater is currently a weak alkali (pH 7.5ish to 8ish). It’ll take a heck of a lot to change it to an acid (pH<7.0) as claimed in the article.
    I am always deeply suspicious of the motives of those who discuss 'ocean acidification'. I suspect that they are deliberately trying to generate images of Brighton Beach being lapped by waves of fuming concentrated nitric acid or of the White Cliffs of Dover fizzing away as 'aqua regia' in the English Channel eats through the base and our proud national symbol collapses ingloriously into the sea. No bluebirds there any more – they all fell from the sky to the corrosive once-upon-a time briny hoggin.
    Which is of course total hogwash.
    It is stretching the English a language a very long way to claim that by making the sea an even weaker alkali, somehow this is contributing to a dangerous and terrifying acidification.
    And for 'scientists' to do so merely illustrates how far they have come from their supposed role as impartial seekers after the truth of the way nature works to advocates of a particular world view. Shame on them.
    'Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled'.
    Richard P Feynman, Nobel Prize Winner – and a true Scientist.

  22. what a load of B S I have had tropical fish for 30 years acid level on the higher side has no ill affects at lease in my tank . I am going to ask for a grant

  23. “mandas says:
    July 8, 2010 at 12:24 am
    Wow – did any of you people actually read the paper before commenting?…..”
    Go on; it’s my turn to feed the troll.
    You’re missing the point – we would like to discuss the science, but you may have noticed that the ‘scientists’ get their press statement out first so scientific debate is irrelevant. They have got their message out and that’s that. If someone does find a fault with their work [and that is easy] then do you really think there will be a big press release correcting it? It’s not about the science it’s about the grants and publicity.
    cheers David

  24. “dwright says:
    July 8, 2010 at 1:56 am
    I wonder what kind of acid these fish were being fed (or the researchers for that matter).” One for me, one for you…..”
    Reminded me of this character from a UK comedy sketch series!

    cheers David

  25. “Now research led by marine researcher Professor Philip Munday of James Cook University (JCU) has found it could also make fish less aware of – and even attracted to – predators.”
    I know how the fish feel; I’ve been attracted to predators for years; fortunately I married one of them; perhaps that’ll work for Nemo.

  26. Some more research is needed yet. I am not advised as to how the predator, also presumably affected in some way by the presence of this nasty toxin, will respond to the advances of Nemo. Mass hybridization? There is a lot of grant mileage in this one yet.

  27. CO2 is affecting the brains of these researchers, making them behave more boldly than normal and exhibiting attraction to politicians, journalists and government money. Be careful – politicians are elected by the population, who are turning against these protection racketeers disguised as scientists, so elected politicians might sometime soon start predating on these spivs and con-artists.

  28. Do you really think these guys believe the crap that continues to spew from their keyborads?
    Really…?

  29. “Global warming could have an unexpected effect on the clownfish ……
    Previous research indicates that as carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere climb the surface water of the oceans could become acidic.”
    I’ll just end here!
    “could”, might, may, …….. What crap!
    The oceans can NEVER become acidic no matter how much due to co2 output. Would not the ‘melting’ ice caps and glaciers dillute the oceans as well?
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006…/2006GL026305.shtml
    “This paper’s results concerning average seawater salinity and acidity show that, on a global scale and over the time scales considered (hundreds of years), there would not be accentuated changes in either seawater salinity or acidity from the observed or hypothesized rises in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. ”
    http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/acid.htm
    See also:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;320/5874/336
    http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=7545&tid=282&cid=63809&ct=162
    http://www.co2science.org//articles/V12/N5/EDIT.php
    http://www.co2science.org/articles/V12/N22/EDIT.php

  30. From the Catlin Survey – FAQs
    “Why is it called Ocean Acidification? The ocean is alkaline and model predictions suggest it will never become acidic. ”
    “Acidification refers to the process of the lowering of the ocean’s pH on the pH scale. If the ocean’s pH falls it is referred to as acidification regardless of whether the water remains alkaline i.e. above pH 7. ”
    http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/faq.aspx
    Need I say more!!!

  31. Speaking of clownfish, this work was published in June 2009:
    Effects of ocean acidification on the early life history of a tropical marine fish
    http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/276/1671/3275.abstract
    Munday et al. found that when they reared orange clownfish eggs and larvae in sea water with high CO2 concentrations (current, 550, 750 and 1030 ppm) they found “no detectable effect on embryonic duration, egg survival and size at hatching. In contrast, CO2 acidification tended to increase the growth rate of larvae.” Large size is usually considered to be advantageous for larvae and newly settled juveniles.
    As for adult fish, the researchers write that “most shallow-water fish tested to date appear to compensate fully their acid-base balance within several days”

  32. Reference the peppered moth experiment that Graeme W refers to, my recollection is that this study was debunked because the author was found to have stuck the moths to the trees…but I may be wrong

  33. What does “seawater equivalent to that which would be found if the atmosphere contained 700 ppm and 850 ppm of CO2” mean? In some of the calcifying “experiments” the plankton were tested in sea water whose pH was raised by hydrochloric acid, not CO2, so that the HCO ion concentration did not change.
    There are 2 real problems with this experiment. The first is, of course, that it has been performed by mother nature long ago, and falsified – little Nemo is still here despite 1,000 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere in the past.
    The second is that it is not possible for atmospheric CO2 to reach 700pm to 850 ppm if all the known fossil fuel was burned this century because the sea is too highly buffered by Ca and living creatures.

  34. Correct me if I’m wrong…But arn’t clownfish the fishy equivilants of serial killers, luring other fish back to their home where they can be killed quietly and then slowly decapitated to make a meal for the clownfishs extended family?
    I just assumed Finding Nemo was part of hollywoods usual habit of giving sea-monsters a cute’n’cuddly PR makeover (cf the little mermaid)
    To which point..I’ll happily say “More CO2 please”
    On a (slightly) more serious note “being attracted to a predator isn’t likely to be a good thing” – It is from the predators point of view – why are we taking sides here?
    and of course
    “Center for Excellence for Coral Reef studies” – I just don’t know what to say about how much wrongness I think is in that name for any serious research.

  35. If it really is true that “Crocodiles dive less in warmer waters” and that this is a problem for the poor dears (http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2010/07/07/2945955.htm), then why don’t they solve it by moving to cooler waters? Could it be that they don’t need to dive as much as the daft clownfishes just swim up to their jaws and get eaten up without any serious effort on the part of the crocodiles?
    Perhaps this is what the warmists object to – extra CO2 encourages laziness among top predators. If so, are the objections to extra CO2 moral rather than scientific?

  36. Hell! I have been fighting the ****8888 dynamite fishing lunatics off Cyprus for years……! I need to re-evaluate! Its not explosives its……. Lysergic acid diethylamide or have I got the wrong type of acid? I would go further but Anthony would surely snip and fairly so!
    Then again, no discernible sign of a sea level rise in Cyprus so………… My boat still is moored at the same point that it was in 1963……..Its been a long long day so I must go and check my understanding of Ph levels AGAIN! Could someone remind me of the % figure for the current man-made CO2 levels and the Ph of the oceans ………and I do understand it varies for different depths and locations.
    So much inputs to the models huh!

  37. mandas says:
    July 8, 2010 at 12:24 am
    Mandas or is it Madass?
    Read the posts so far along with references then rebutt all our arguments, otherwise you don’t have a leg to stand on. What we have here is pure speculation. No wonder so many, including myself, were initially taken in by AGW. Now I’m much more sceptical, something you should try more often.

  38. Sorry, but how can a someone calling themselves a scientist come up with this drivel!
    “Previous research indicates that as carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere climb the surface water of the oceans could become acidic.”
    Always look for the weasel words when people try to pass speculation as fact. It’s a sure sign of cargo cult science.

  39. Its either face/palm or head in the hands crying with dismay at such absolute, sorry best stop i can feel a rant coming on about how come i never get jobs where talking absolute crappola pays the bills.

  40. If it cools, man will be blamed. It’ll be the CO2. Huh, you say? I’ve got proof in the ice cores. Temperature went up, then CO2 went up, then temperature went down. See the CO2 rise before the temperature drop? Case closed. OK, I’m glad we’ve got that bit of the science settled.
    ============

  41. This just in folks :
    “Rising CO2 may cause you to stub you’re toe, holler blasphemous words, and result in grandma hitting you over the head with a rolling pin.”
    News at 11.

  42. This is tantamount to child abuse, no? I mean, we already have “stressed out” kids in the UK because of the “scare campaigns” spat out across the MSM, the UK and most westernised countries! Well, history proves that, if you target the young and easily influenced, you win the battle, for a while. I need not make any references to past events.

  43. KIDS! Repeat after me:
    Talking Clown Fish DO NOT EXIST! So, pushing your agenda by using an imaginary fish to appeal to my emotions WILL NOT WORK!
    Jose

  44. Nemo has a bigger following than polar bears, it appears. If they can only figure out how AGW is killing Miley Cirus, they could get the tween voters firmly on their side.

  45. Now research led by marine researcher Professor Philip Munday of James Cook University (JCU) has found it could also make fish less aware of – and even attracted to – predators.
    So somehow the predators who live in the same environment are not affected. How does that work?
    Prof Munday I’ll give you a government grant just to shut the f** up.

  46. Let me see. The solubility of CO2 in brine decreases with temperature. So now what is it? Are the oceans getting colder because global cooling is setting in. Or are they getting warmer and thus less able to dissolve CO2 in them. The only clownfish around was Mr. Munday.

  47. Science Fair material at best: “let’s see what happens when we juice up the CO2!” Then make unwarranted conclusions on false premises… yeah, that’s the ticket.

  48. “Being attracted to the smell of a predator isn’t likely to be a very good thing,” Mr Munday said.
    Speaking of smells, judging from this news release, this Alarmist “study” reeks of
    confirmation bias. C02 was “guilty as charged” before they even started. The only thing they needed to “find” was how it was guilty, to what extent, and of course how “bad” it will be if man doesn’t stop his evil habit of, well LIVING.
    CAGW/CC government-sponsored, further-funding- needed psyience at its best, unfortunately.

  49. “James Cook University (JCU)” …..Is that the explorer Cook? Who was attracted to some islands, and got killed?

  50. Let me tell a story that may be vaguely relevant. Several decades ago I bought a house in Bulawayo (in Rhodesia in those days) which came with a large ornamental pond with a couple of dozen fan-tailed goldfish. My wife and I were very proud of the rather flamboyant fish, but the frogs that came with the pond kept us awake at night. I sought the advice of several uninformed friends who were of no help. Then one day I mentioned it to an old Afrikaans farmer who advised me to put salt in the pond. I considered the matter and decided that before going to that extreme I should telephone a brother-in-law (now long passed on) who lived some hundreds of kilometers to the north. He was a retired veterinary professor and his blessing seemed desirable. He said “No Ken, don’t do that, if you put in enough salt to get rid of the frogs you will kill the fish.” Not wanting to kill the fish despite the sleep disturbance I let matters be. Then one day I bumped into my farming acquaintance and told him of
    my brother-in-law’s contrary advice. “Ag man ” said Koos the farmer, “professors read books, they don’t know practical stuff. Put salt in, put plenty salt. The frogs they won’t like it and they’ll go away. The fish, who knows whether they like it, but the fish got nowhere to go. He will adapt.”
    After double handfuls of salt applied on three or four evenings, the frogs were gone. The fish – he adapted, and when I came to part with the house some years later, the fish were still thriving.

  51. Ocean pH, particularly that of shallow water over reefs, varies widely by time of day and by tide. If clown fish can survive the range in pH of a day on a reef, they can survive the tiny variation that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would cause.

  52. Wow is this press release ridiculous!!!!
    “Every time we start a car or turn on the light part of the resulting CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, turning them slightly more acidic. Ocean pH has already declined by 0.1 unit and could fall a further 0.3-0.4 of a unit if we continue to emit CO2 at our present increasing rate.
    He forgot to mention that God kills a kitten too. A 0.1 drop in pH is nothing in the historical context. I encourage everyone to read this from the Science and Public Policy Institute – Effects of Ocean Acidification on Marine Ecosystems
    ——-
    “We already know this will have an adverse effect on corals, shellfish, plankton and other organisms with calcified skeletons. Now we are starting to find it could affect other marine life, such as fish.”
    Again, more blatant lies. More studies have been done which show that a less-basic ocean (please, lets stop using the term “acidification” when the pH remains > 7) actually promotes shell growth. Again see link above and its many peer reviewed references on the matter.
    ———–
    “Earlier research by Professor Munday and colleagues found that baby ‘Nemo’ clownfish were unable to find their way back to their home reef under more acidic conditions. The latest experiments cover a wider range of fish species and show that acidified sea water produces dangerous changes in fish behaviour.”
    So lets just throw the fish into an unknown habitat in conditions they are not used to and see how they react and go with those conclusions…rather than let them adapt naturally over time.
    ————-
    “If humanity keeps on burning coal and oil at current rates, atmospheric CO2 levels will be 750-1000 parts per million by the end of the century. This will acidify the seas much faster than has happened at any stage in the last 650,000 years.”
    Again, acidify? So dropping the pH from 7.9 to 7.5 is acidifying the ocean? I know certain NOAA personnel like to drop chalk into vinegar to demonstrate what we are doing to the oceans, but this is nothing but pure alarmism and being untruthful and non scientific.

  53. “They were also five to nine times more likely to die than normal fish born in 390 ppm conditions.”
    OMG! Since clownfish can lay thousands of eggs and their population is fairly constant that means that 99.8% plus of clownfish die before breeding. If you increase that by five to nine times that means that their studies showed that between 499.5% and 899.1% of the eggs died.
    We are doomed!

  54. If you look at this by example, it’s pretty obvious that rising CO2 levels have driven a large number of otherwise “sane” politicians and scientists to “madness.”
    Why not the same with clownfish ?

  55. CO2 makes clown fish turn only right. They lose their ability to turn left, making them vulnerable to shuriken attacks.

  56. I am no Monarchist but the Queen of England doesn’t produce the content of her own speeches. She reads whatever the UK Government of the day approves for her to read and sticks entirely to the script especially on big set piece occasions like an address to the UN.
    So if she says things that sound dumb it’s not necessarily her fault, blame the Pols. She may believe what she’s told to say and she may not, she’d never say either way.
    Now Prince Charles is another matter, as heir to the throne he’s not as tightly bound by protocol so he has a lot more leeway to use his own judgement, or lack thereof, in making his pronouncements.

  57. Had to laugh, the Google ad above the comments link was for “Dry Ice Blasing Services”, Nationwide On-site Heavy Industrial Dry Ice Blast Svcs – EnviroFriendly link didn’t work, but I assume they are using dry ice bits for sand/cornhusk-blasting alternatives. Dry ice would be a good alternative as there is no residue from the blasting material, but the irony of placement of the ad is rich.

  58. I’d like to see the physics of Doom on Carbon Dioxide. It must be leaking into our Universe from an Evil Counterpart Universe. It’s killing everything.

  59. I think fishes really smelled the “professors” scent. Who knows? maybe they are denialists too.☺
    Gotto go to the US and buy some Universities in exchange for some false jewels, mirror pieces and nice collars I have.
    “Bohngo, Bohngo, great professor magician only say wise things”
    Just can’t believe how deep you have fallen down, my once all powerful americans!!

  60. In poker terminology, a “fish” is someone who donates to the game–i.e, doesn’t understand and is easily taken in. According to my Webster dictionary, a “clown” is “2. a joker or buffoon, jester”, and “6. to act like a clown”. In the press release, it’s easy to identify the “clown fish”. I believe the predators mentioned in the release are the blogosphere skeptics. I agree that the “clown fish” are becoming disoriented, but I’m not sure it’s the fault of CO2. It might be caused by decreasing funding.

  61. Enneagram says:
    July 8, 2010 at 8:06 am
    “[…] Just can’t believe how deep you have fallen down, my once all powerful americans!!”
    They had bogus science and snake oil salesmen through all history, they just manage to weed out the chaff after a while. Always ranges from funny to painful to watch.

  62. “pablo an ex pat says:
    July 8, 2010 at 7:33 am
    I am no Monarchist but the Queen of England doesn’t produce the content of her own speeches. She reads whatever the UK Government of the day approves for her to read and sticks entirely to the script especially on big set piece occasions like an address to the UN.
    So if she says things that sound dumb it’s not necessarily her fault, blame the Pols. She may believe what she’s told to say and she may not, she’d never say either way.
    Now Prince Charles is another matter, as heir to the throne he’s not as tightly bound by protocol so he has a lot more leeway to use his own judgement, or lack thereof, in making his pronouncements.”
    PC will never hold the throne, it isn’t “popular” with the idiotic British public.

  63. “They found that after four days, half of the larvae in the 700 ppm group were less able to detect the smell of a predator, while all the larvae in 850 ppm group were actually attracted to the predator scent.”
    This is 100% BS

  64. If, could, might, perhaps…
    With this kind of certainty, I’d rather be sitting on a warm, sunny beach.

  65. as an Aussie I am Mortified that one of ours is so blatantly stupid, and if I could I would place said “scientist” ha! science?? in some acid water to reflect on his theory!
    with a nice big man in a grey suit as the predator of choice to be sure it was done properly:-)
    I did read that the clown fishes WERE at risk of extinction? hmm? or severe depletion..BUT
    it was due to people blasting the hell outta the reefs where they live, to catch them!!!! for kids who wanted a Nemo!

  66. As we male humans are natural predators, from now on all we need is carrying with us a CO2 cylinder and spray some on the girls we want.

  67. Wouldn´t it be happening the same with those who suddenly feel attracted to jihadists? ☺☺☺

  68. This is the bait and switch tactic used during acid rain. Chemical signals are used by fish to identify mates, to send and receive alarm signals. Salmon actually hatch early in response to the chemical “signature” of their redd mates being eaten eaten by invading sculpins. We know that low pH, as an example, can disrupt the ability of salmon to receive and learn the chemical signature of predators. Negative impacts to fish from declining pH is nothing new.
    However – given the fact low pH can adversely impact fish does not imply (A) acidic conditions are or will occur or (B) that the cause of an acidic condition is the result of any given assumption (CO2 or SO2).
    During the acid rain “crisis” we were treated to a drum roll of papers about the impacts of low pH on Atlantic salmon as the result of acid rain. The papers assumed acid rain impacts and then researched the impacts of low pH. The “availability” of papers on the impacts of acid rain was then used to justify the existence of acid rain. Basically if we can write enough papers with the same assumption we can market it as proof of the assumption. (There was a paucity of papers actually testing the assumption that mineral acids were driving the system- sound familiar?)
    The impacts to salmon from low pH are very real however the primary drivers for this acidity was and is organic acids from among other things the regrowth of forests and the loss of agriculture in a large part of the salmon’s range. Salmon continue to be adversely impacted by acidity because we cannot talk about a major cause of reduced pH- organic acids. All politically correct acidity must be the result of acid rain (mineral acids). Models “proved” acid rain- models justified the Clean Air Act amendments-models promised the rivers and lakes would recover. The models 20 years later have been proven wrong (well not wrong according to EPA because as always we just weren’t aggressive enough in our SO2 controls.) And salmon continue to decline because the pH they require is held hostage to the myth that acid rain controls will restore their rivers to the “natural” condition.
    A word of caution to those concerned with climate change— acid rain teaches us no amount of contrary scientific evidence- no amount of failure to predict- are capable of undoing an environmental “belief.” Acid rain was the test run for the quest for the environmental Holy Grail- Global Warming. We may help the climate cause by making EPA explain the failures of its previous modeled crisis.

  69. IF the increased CO2 interferes with the sense of smell in fish THEN it will PROBABLY interfere with the sense of smell of predators too. So while Nemo is getting more frisky Jaws MAY be starving to death.
    Do you think I’m getting the hang of this style of writing yet?

  70. It’s embarrassing to learn some scientists are so ignorant of how impossible it is for the oceans to become “acidic.” Less alkaline, yes, but acidic??? Idiots!!!

  71. I notice while reading this that thier observations all seem to be short term, what about the adaptabilty of the test subjects over the long term. I notice the paper did not have anything about what kind of effects the same conditions have on predatory sea creatures, short term much less long term adaptability. IMHO is this not part of the peer review process, to ask these questions,and the authors are supposed to go back to the drawing board, Is this the whole process of having multiple people on staff to put thier minds together to come up with other experements to test the theory against!!!!!!!! I am a simple man with plenty of common sense that i use, but i am not seeing it being used by acdamia

  72. Enneagram says:
    July 8, 2010 at 9:11 am
    As we male humans are natural predators, from now on all we need is carrying with us a CO2 cylinder and spray some on the girls we want.

    a Co2 fire extinguisher is not that subtle 🙂

  73. Neo says:
    July 8, 2010 at 7:24 am
    If you look at this by example, it’s pretty obvious that rising CO2 levels have driven a large number of otherwise “sane” politicians and scientists to “madness.”
    Why not the same with clownfish ?
    ——————Reply: Because clownfish are neither elected nor grant-funded. Only humans seem to have an overabundance of a “stupid” gene.

  74. Richard deSousa says:
    July 8, 2010 at 9:29 am
    It’s embarrassing to learn some scientists are so ignorant of how impossible it is for the oceans to become “acidic.” Less alkaline, yes, but acidic??? Idiots!!!
    ———-Reply:
    Richard is right. It is possible for a solution or substance to undergo “acidification” but that certainly doesn’t mean the end result is a solution or substance that is acidic. Anything higher than a pH of 7 is basic/alkaline; anything less is acid/acidic. And at a pH of 7, it is neither; it is neutral (no predominance of either H+ or OH- species).
    One could entertain the idea that all the CO2 from fossil fuel consumption is simply returning it from whence it came; some millions of years ago that CO2 had to come from the atmosphere, so returning it to that primordial level is simply re-establishing an ancient environment.

  75. “Global warming could have an unexpected effect on the clownfish star of Finding Nemo and his kind, by making them indulge in risky behaviour, say researchers.”
    Clownfish are having UNPROTECTED SEX, that’s the whole problem!!

  76. Wow! Not only is the acidification slant totally bogus, as sea water is a complex buffer system, but it is highly unlikely that CO2 could get to 700 ppm, at least it will not be from our activities.
    There is simply not enough carbon for us to burn to make this happen, since CO2 partitions 50 to 1 into the oceans, we would have to release 50 times more CO2 that needed to double atmospheric CO2. At best we could do 20%, but not 100%.
    These guys also have no idea that the changing CO2 will select for CO2 tolerance in any case and the clown fish will be fine. Just as is true with all other species, their gene pool has seen much greater changes many times over millions of years and they are still here. And, real world, some species die and new ones arise. My God. it’s evolution in action! Golly Gee, Batman! Where did that come from?

  77. Ken Harvey says:
    July 8, 2010 at 6:50 am . . .
    Good one Ken. Howzit?
    I am still living in Harare but I think the folk ate the frogs cause there are none to be heard.

  78. grayman says:
    July 8, 2010 at 9:33 am
    “I notice while reading this that thier observations all seem to be short term, what about the adaptabilty of the test subjects over the long term.”
    The thrust of this research demonstrates what is already known for fish. Magicians understand misdirection- it is at work in the selling of ocean acidification. Don’t pay attention to the girl in the sequins (clown fish). Focus on the claims that this study actually recreates the oceans response to increasing CO2 levels. Been down this road before- focus- focus – focus- on whether or not the ocean behaves as claimed with respect to CO2. Attack the the methodology- not the results.

  79. Patrick Davis says:
    July 8, 2010 at 8:16 am
    “PC will never hold the throne, it isn’t “popular” with the idiotic British public.”
    Now I would acknowledge that not all of my fellow ex country folk are the full shilling but the vast majority of them are and it strikes me a little odd to call them all idiots. It’s a little over the top in an ad hominem type of way to broadbrush an entire nation don’t you think ?
    As for Prince Charles I care not a whit about whether he’s the next monarch or not. I am not a Monarchist but I do know that provided he outlives her of course it would take an Act of Parliament for him not to succeed his mother as Monarch whatever the British public think.
    I also believe that he wants the job, he’s been interning for it for over 60 years now.

  80. mandas says:
    July 8, 2010 at 12:24 am
    Wow – did any of you people actually read the paper before commenting?
    It’s a fair cop guv. The study appears to have been done methodically and with a great degree of care. I disagree with their ridiculous alarmism though as they tend to ignore that evolutionary responses can be quite rapid when the species has a high reproductive output.
    Loss of habitat and human predation is a more pressing problem and they really should not extrapolate from one narrow study an overall impact on a complex system such as the ocean. It is though one of the better studies I have read and they appear to have been as thorough as can reasonably be expected when dealing with a difficult subject.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/24/1004519107.full.pdf

  81. I have recently discovered in a meta-study an important co-factor that correlates very well with the effect that CO2 caused AWG has on animals and plant life. This is the C-factor*. The C-factor multiplied by the CO2 anomaly perfectly ranks the effects CO2 will have on the flora and fauna in all of the studies published in Nature and Science.
    If C-factor = -10 to +10, and Benefit = -10 (extinction) to +10 (massive growth) then:
    Benefit = – (Cfactor x CO2 anomaly).
    Examples of C-factor: Clown Fish = 10; Polar Bears=8; Koala Bears=10, Dandelions = -5, Scorpions = -7; Tarantulas = -10, Anopheles mosquito = -10
    *note: the C-factor is the Cuteness factor and decided by a class of junior high school girls.
    Please send grant money to fund my 30 year research proposal to study the effect of the C-factor in a tropical paradise.

  82. MartinGAtkins says:
    July 8, 2010 at 10:48 am
    “[…]I disagree with their ridiculous alarmism though as they tend to ignore that evolutionary responses can be quite rapid when the species has a high reproductive output.[…]”
    It is also likely that the genome pool of a fish species contains a pool of recessive gene variations from a past with different environmental conditions. A change in conditions will shift the fitness balance between individuals and lead to rapid spread of such a “hidden”, already existing gene; this is how an “experienced” species – one that has lived through changes – can survive changes in the future. Such an adaptation of a population is in this case possible without a new mutation.
    Epigenetics (methylation patterns of genes) might also lead to a rapid adaptation of the phenotype of the offspring.

  83. This article reminds me of an old joke:
    A scientist (probably a global warming alarmist, but that’s not established) trained an ant to dance when he (the scientist) played the violin. In the interest of science the scientist decided to study the ant’s ability to dance sans legs. So he pulled off the ant’s front two legs and played his violin. Other than losing his balance every so often, the ant danced remarkably well. The scientist then pulled off the ant’s back two legs and played his violin. The ant’s motions couldn’t really be called “dancing”, but he was obviously trying. The scientist then pulled off the ant’s middle two legs and played his violin. The ant lay there like a brick. The scientist gave the matter some thought finally concluding in a scientific paper that when you pull of all six legs of an ant, he becomes deaf. His paper is currently under PNAS review.

  84. To Idiota:
    Thanks for answering my question. As I expected the realities of the past are once again contradicting the models of the future.
    Of course, if they’d simply looked at the history of the species, and what they lived through, then they wouldn’t have been able to scam up some of that easy global warming money for “research.”

  85. Pat Moffitt says:
    July 8, 2010 at 9:15 am
    ‘We may help the climate cause by making EPA explain the failures of its previous modeled crisis.’
    I believe there is another failed modeled crisis: the ozone hole.
    http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html
    Perusal of the graphs on the above site shows that despite what many people would like to believe, the ozone hole is not recovering and was already at about its current size before any changes were made by regulation of ozone depleting gases.
    Go figure.

  86. Robert says:
    July 8, 2010 at 9:35 am
    I was thinking in a hand size small pressurized container made perhaps out of PP . Anyway a small block of “dry ice” would work the same. ☺

  87. How long did the fish’s poor little nosies have to adapt to the CO2 increase to 700 – 850 PPM in the atmosphere. (and what adjustments to the water temperature and Co2 absorption for this shocking greenhouse Earth).
    It’s good to see mony so well spent!

  88. Wow Anthony, so this is your reply to my earlier post where I criticised you (and others) for commenting on something you haven’t read:
    REPLY: Your sort of comment also suffers from foot in mouth disease. Look here and tell me where the full paper is? http://www.pnas.org/site/misc/highlights.shtml#fish
    That’s the preview at PNAS. The full paper isn’t there, its behind a paywall The press release doesn’t have a link to the full paper either, http://www-public.jcu.edu.au/news/JCUPRD1_058449
    They journal system leaves the public out in the cold, unless the public is willing to pay twice for the publicly funded work.
    So you can’t read it (which you admit), but you thought it was valid to make comments anyway? Is that your normal modus operandi? (wait, don’t tell me, I think I know the answer)
    You have the gaul to suggest that I have foot and mouth disease, yet I am not the one who made comment and expressed an opinion on a paper I haven’t read, on a subject I know nothing about – that would be you.
    And for the record – I have read the paper. I am an Australian wildlife scientist, and I DO know what I am talking about on this issue. And the journal system does not leave ‘the public’ out in the cold. Just like every magazine in the world, they charge people to access their publications. Why don’t you act like the scientist you like to pretend to be and go out and buy a subscription?
    REPLY: Why don’t you petition to make publicly funded science readable by everyone? It’s not full disclosure when a PR is put out, but the real paper is held at ransom. I don’t agree with your argument. Privately held magazines, sure, charge subscription. No worries. But publicly funded science pushed into the public forum by PR without the paper to go with it is just wrong in my opinion. If you are so upset about the paper not being read by people, post a link to it then.
    And let me tell you something sir, I take exception to this snotty comment from a supposed scientist writing comments from a government institution:
    So you can’t read it (which you admit), but you thought it was valid to make comments anyway? Is that your normal modus operandi? (wait, don’t tell me, I think I know the answer)
    If some reporter (with no science training) can write about it in any newspaper or magazine, solely from the press release issued, why the HELL can’t I?? Your elitism astounds me.
    -A

  89. I am a keen scuba diver and have for some time been considering leaving my job in insurance to do a degree in marine biology as it is the behaviour of creatures I encounter during my dives that fascinates me. I fondly recall spending the better part of half hour during a dive watching a couple of coral trout seemingly vie for occupancy of a crack/crevasse in the coral.
    What is holding me back are concerns on how rabidly AGW, the position of JCU seems to be. I would assume this relates to where their funding derives from but it makes me think that only those who support the AGW hypothesis would be welcome in this field of science (at least at JCU). Studying the behaviour of clownfish in itself isnt going to attract sufficient funding. It has to be the impact of man-made global warming on clownfish.
    How about a study on the impacts of human settlement in the vicinity of delicate reef systems (read sediment from farm activities). How about a study of the impact of enso events on sea levels and what implications this has for coral bleaching (outside of higher SST’s due to AGW causing coral bleaching). How about just plain scientific studies on the behaviour of the marine biospehere which isnt tied into climate change?
    The article above does nothing to alleviate my concerns.

  90. “……If some reporter (with no science training) can write about it in any newspaper or magazine, solely from the press release issued, why the HELL can’t I?? Your elitism astounds me.
    -A…..
    So you truly believe it is acceptable to make comment and form an opinion on a paper that you haven’t read, on a subject you know nothing about? Is it elitism to expect people to form opinions based on some form of informed knowledge, rather than just a preconcieved set of prejudices?
    To be quite frank, I don’t care whether you or any of your other readers actually read the paper or not. That’s up to you and them. But I do take offence at people like yourself who make ill informed comment on things before they have the slightest idea what they are talking about. You make great claims to being a sceptic, and you have a huge following of people all over the world who hang on your every word and blindly accept your word as gospel on matters related to climate. It would appear that those people are being deluded – because you are forming your opinions and attempting to sway the opinions of others based on a complete lack of knowledge, particularly with regard to this issue. And you certainly are NOT a sceptic. A TRUE sceptic is someone who does not accept things at face value, but wants evidence before forming a view on a matter. You have formed your view on this issue without ANY knowledge – you have just dismissed it because it doesn’t fit with your worldview that climate change is not real.
    If you want to tell people about the weather, go ahead. You are an expert and you know what you are talking about. But when it comes to the affects of environmental change on wildlife you are completely ignorant, and should refain from comment until or unless you attempt to garner some knowledge on the subject. I isn’t me who is suffering from ‘foot (in) mouth disease’ on this issue – it is you.
    REPLY: Oh puhleeze. I’ll expect you to complain the ABC reporter and Discover magazine and many others for covering this story, and forming an opinion using descriptive headlines, without “reading the paper first”. CC me a copy of your complaint. Otherwise you are just hypocritical. The issue here is that IF the paper was included with the PR, I’d have read it right then at the same time. That inclusion is something that should be done with all science PR’s but isn’t, but some Universities do. When papers are available I read them and I cite them with a link here on WUWT. As it stands we aren’t allowed to link this this publicly funded peer reviewed paper in full because of the journal/paywall system. Also, if I subscribed to every journal that we covered PR’s on, I’d be broke. I don’t have the luxury of unlimited govrenment coffers for such things. There’s also been cases where I’ve requested the paper and been denied. Shades of CRU.
    You also assume I know nothing about the issue. You assume I have no benefit of knowledge gained about the issue prior to writing from either experience or research. You assume wrongly, like most government employees you seem to think you know what the public thinks. You of course have no idea what I’ve researched or learned, you only speculate from a position of being a pissed off anonymous government employee with no knowledge of what I did prior. You simply react because you don’t like my opinion. You may have noticed that I wrote “Rebuttal(s) follow in subsequent posts…”. That is because I already have research materials in hand. For example, where do you think the undersea photo from PNG came from? Do you speculate that I just “made it up”??
    You have formed your view about me without ANY knowledge of what I know/don’t know beyond what you read, exactly what you accuse me of. All speculation on your part, and wrong. Per my experience it is not the normal MO of a scientist, to accuse someone of having no knowledge while at the same time they have no knowledge of how the person formed the viewpoint.
    Just because some offbeat peer reviewed paper gets advance PR is hardly reason to accept it without question, much less take it on the word of an ABC reporter. Take offense all you wish, but unless you are willing to come forward and put your credentials and name to your complaint, you are just another troll. Some other articles are forthcoming on this issue. Troll on those.
    Also, you should read the policy page (link in the header), before you write anything else.
    – A

  91. Since, the article is not freely available to the general public, I feel a commentary on the ABC news story is certainly not out of line. And the news story itself certainly is cringe worthy raising far more questions than it answers.
    I’m a keen scuba diver and spend at least 4 weeks per year diving the reefs of Far North QLD. I’ve been doing so for a number of years and my observations are that the majority of damage to the Great Barrier Reef comes from the impacts of nearby human settlement. Go to the outer reefs and they look as good today as they did when I first started diving on them. Clownfish seem to be as abundant as ever and I havent yet been able to shoot footage of a clownfish willingly swimming into the waiting jaws of a predator.
    When a lot of the funding that allows you to go out and study the reef relies upon a linking to AGW then it predetermines the nature and result of those studies. JCU is rabidly AGW and this is one of the reasons I shelved plans to pursue a degree in Marine Biology there.
    As far as the clownfish go. I’m sure they will adapt to minor changes in the level of ocean acidification. There is a parasite that is affects rats and mice causing them to be drawn to the scent of cats instead of being fearful. This parasite is widespread and yet it hasnt lead to the extinction of mice or rats.
    With regards ocean acidification. The overexaggeration of the impact of ocean acidification has been covered by previous threads on this blog. The ocean is in fact currently alkaline with a global average somewhere in the vicinity of 8 (7 being neutral, less than 7 acidic and over 7 alkaline) and is unlikely to become acidic any time soon.

  92. Mandas – I haven’t read the paper, only the abstract. You claim to have read it so can you tell me if they looked at all the larval stages of the clownfish in their study? Did their sampling take into consideration that there are critical periods in each larval stage when there is a higher mortality rate? Did they sample over more than a year or sample in different years to account for seasonal differences and to generate an average data set of fish larvae survivability (this is typical of research developing fish larvae survivability curves)? Did they correct the sampling to account for bias when it is well known that larger, stronger and faster larvae will avoid the plankton net? Did they check for larval parasites that might be present in the field samples to determine if there was an adverse effect on the larval mobility and orientation ability? Did they address the fecundity of clownfish as some fish have an enormous fecundity to balance the natural high mortality (some have egg-yolk larvae survival rates as low as 2.8%)? Did they correct for larval extrusion through the sampling net? Just curious.
    Also it is well known that the oceans are supersaturated with regard to calcite and aragonite and after a doubling of CO2 they will still be at saturation and there will be little change in pH. The ocean is not abiotic and bacterial degradation of many low molecular weight organic acids (produced anaerobically) results in the formation of bicarbonates which act to buffer the system. A major component in the buffering of the oceans is the carbonate system.
    Finally, I liked the previous comment of how the paper says the larvae can smell at 700 ppm but can’t at 850 ppm CO2.

  93. The Clownfish were held in (4) 60L aquaria that were aerated all day with CO2 with no water exchange. The sea water was flushed from the tank at night with a CO2 aerated water exchange. The number of night time exchanges are not stated so I am assuming it was only one. I have a very hard time believing this set up mimics the dynamics of a coastal reef system. None of the biological pumps, mixing or sinks are present in the experimental enclosure and the fact that this was not a continuous flow thru system is problematic.

  94. mandas
    July 8, 2010 at 4:42 pm
    “And for the record – I have read the paper. I am an Australian wildlife scientist, and I DO know what I am talking about on this issue.”
    No you don’t. Some of us here actually do know something about the biology of Pomacentridae.
    First the studies methodology is ridiculous. It in no way represents a any real ecosystem. It has so many problems that I am surprised that any wildlife biologist would take it seriously. Any experiment that could have demonstrated what these guys claim to have demonstrated would have needed to be far more complicated and would have taken far longer than what has been presented. In fact it would be so difficult as to be damn near impossible.
    Second, it totally ignores the unique reproductive adoptions found within the suborder Labrodei. In the families Cichlidae and Pomacentridae, which I am most familiar, anywhere from 5% to 10% of each brood, displays exactly the same behaviour depicted as unusual. Very few larvae make it to maturity, and even fewer ever become females. It is the purpose of super-males to distract potential predators from bothering the rest of the brood. Just because some individuals head to “danger” does not mean that they will be eaten, at least right away. Almost all members of Pomacentridae are incredibly aggressive and will attack just about anything. ( I had one large female, in particular, that I had to be very careful of when working in her tank. If I lost concentration she’d attack me and her bites could draw blood!) This goes double for super-males. Most super-males will eventually become food before maturity, but even if they make it to maturity, they wont reproduce.
    This comes back to the difficulty of doing this experiment. If I have a tank full of fry, and I net out half of them, they will not be equivalent. The netted out half will have almost all of the super-males.

  95. Once again, I am at a loss to understand how and why people are commenting on, or being critical of this paper when they haven’t read it. ‘Churn’ at least is asking some intelligent questions about the paper, but the comments by David W such as this: “…..Clownfish seem to be as abundant as ever and I havent yet been able to shoot footage of a clownfish willingly swimming into the waiting jaws of a predator….:”, are completely irrelevant. No-one is saying that clownfish are swimming into the jaws of predators. What the paper is saying is that under certain environmental conditions, they exhibit different behavioural responses – and that’s all the paper is saying!!
    For example, for those of you who haven’t read it, here is a small excerpt which speculates WHY this may be occuring:
    “…….For example, disrupted internal acid–base balance caused by exposure of elevated CO2 might potentially affect neuronal pathways (30, 31) that could
    mediate a range of functions, including olfactory discrimination, activity levels, and risk perception. Detailed investigations of the physiological processes responsible for the behavioral changes we observed would be required to separate these alternatives…..”
    The authors also indicate that the issue may not be serious, because some sub-species of clownfish already live quite happily in higher CO2 levels:
    “…..For example, CO2 concentrations in surface waters within several kilometers of Kaneohe Bay (Hawaii) average ∼400–500 ppm (29). Consequently, larvae may be adapted to CO2 concentrations concentrations in this range, because they are already encountered in the environments inhabited immediately before and after settling
    to reef habitat….”
    The authors also discuss the potential for an evolutionary response to adapt to changing environmental conditions:
    “…..Assessing the capacity for biological adaptation is important for predicting the impacts of rapid climate change on ecological communities (32–34), although rarely is this possible. Our results suggest that 700 ppm CO2 is close to the threshold at which
    adaptation of behavioral responses might be possible in reef fishes, provided that the variation in sensitivity to elevated CO2 we observed between individuals at this concentration has a genetic basis. The olfactory capacity of approximately one-half of
    the larvae was unaffected by exposure to 700 ppm CO2, and these individuals exhibited less risky behavior in the field (remained closer to shelter) compared with affected individuals. Even a slight survival advantage could lead to rapid selection
    given that a large proportion of all fish larvae that settle to coral reefs are consumed by predators within the first few days (35)…..”
    So you see, if you actually READ these things before making hissterical comments, you might discover that the paper (like all good science papers) describes its research methodolgy, its results, and provides some discussion points on a range of issues. Press releases RARELY provide the full story (and are often wrong anyway), so it is important to go the source to discover what is REALLY being said. You should NEVER rely solely on a press release or the opinion of a blogger.
    So I will reiterate – read the papers before commenting. It stops ‘foot in mouth’ disease!

  96. I wrote earlier:
    [sarcasm on] How long did the fish’s poor little nosies have to adapt to the CO2 increase to 700 – 850 PPM in the atmosphere. (and what adjustments to the water temperature and CO2 absorption for this shocking greenhouse Earth).
    It’s good to see [grant money] so well spent![/sarcasm off]

    I forgot to sign-off: “Embarrassed of Melbourne” (Victoria), on behalf of Queensland, the far north-eastern state of Oz. However, people up there are not all affected by the warmer weather and higher CO2 levels, and some good things do come from there. For instance, there is this bio-extract for Bob Carter whom hails from a more hands-on part of the same university as that “Nemo scientist”:
    EXTRACT: Bob Carter is a Research Professor at James Cook University (Queensland) and the University of Adelaide (South Australia). He is a palaeontologist, stratigrapher, marine geologist and environmental scientist with more than thirty years professional experience, and holds degrees from the University of Otago (New Zealand) and the University of Cambridge (England). He has held tenured academic staff positions at the University of Otago (Dunedin) and James Cook University (Townsville), where he was Professor and Head of School of Earth Sciences between 1981 and 1999…”
    Check out his book: “Climate: the Counter-consensus (Independent Minds)”
    Available for UKP 8.51 from Amazon UK

  97. Mandas says:
    July 8, 2010 at 10:49 pm
    Once again, I am at a loss to understand how and why people are commenting on, or being critical of this paper when they haven’t read it. ‘Churn’ at least is asking some intelligent questions about the paper, but the comments by David W such as this: “…..Clownfish seem to be as abundant as ever and I havent yet been able to shoot footage of a clownfish willingly swimming into the waiting jaws of a predator….:”, are completely irrelevant. No-one is saying that clownfish are swimming into the jaws of predators. What the paper is saying is that under certain environmental conditions, they exhibit different behavioural responses – and that’s all the paper is saying!!
    Sadly, though this is far from whats being said the ABC news story. A point that you seem blindlingly oblivious to. Heres an idea, before you get all high and mighty about people reading the paper (which has restricted availability), how about you actually read at the news story. You did read it didnt you or did you just go straight to your trolling?
    The news story talks of “a huge impact on biodiversity”. Of fish behaving “more boldy than before”. That “such choices could have profound implications for the dynamics of fish populations,”. That “the research took the level of concern about the effects of climate change on coral reef fish “to a whole new level”. And to put the final nail in the coffin:
    Without drastic action to cut emissions, all we can do is hope that fish will be able to adapt,” Mr Jones said.
    “However, given that the rate of CO2 increase is unprecedented, there are no grounds for optimism.”
    Now whatever the content of the actual research peice that I’m not inclined to fork out the money to gain access to, I’m calling the ABC news story for exactly what is. Utter horseshit. Are the authors of the paper going to ask ABC to print a retraction if this is not what they are saying? I highly doubt it.
    I’m of the opinion that the tone and quality of what gets reported in the media is far more important than a research paper produced by a bunch of elitist, arrogant fools who were funded to get a predetermined result by people whose motives are far from pure. A research paper which due to its distribution method will be read by only a minority of individuals as opposed to the many more who will be misled by rubbish distributed through the ABC story.

  98. mandas
    July 8, 2010 at 10:49 pm
    The quotes from the paper that you provided make me feel a lot better about the quality of research being done here. Sounds like these guys are trying to do real science. I, like most people, really underestimate the capacity of press releases to misrepresent that which they are reporting. I find it frustrating that, for most of us, the only thing we have to go on are these lying press releases that are trumpeted wide and far. I really want to read this paper. Though I am pretty certain that I would find problems with the methodology of this experiment, it sounds like an interesting read.

  99. mandas –
    Predator avoidance is the result of alarm signalling initiated by a fish “smelling” the odor of an injured conspecific. The next odor received is then “learned” as a threat. As an example we can cut a young trout at a hatchery replace it back into the raceway and then enter the scent of a pike and all the fish in the raceway will “learn” that pike are a threat. This paper makes no mention as to how the clown fish are to recognize the predator threat plume as there is no mention I saw of injuring any of the clown fish. It would seem critical that this paper state how the clown fish are to recognize the odor as a predator threat. Unless it can- it is difficult to make a claim that it is the predator odor that is being avoided.
    Similarly the observations of how the young fish reacted within 3 minutes of release onto a natural reef to which it has not been acclimated or accustomed seems to make way too may assumptions.

  100. mandas says: July 8, 2010 at 10:49 pm
    From the press release:
    As part of the study, the researchers put clownfish and damselfish larvae into seawater equivalent to that which would be found if the atmosphere contained 700 ppm and 850 ppm of CO2 – levels that could be reached by the end of the century.
    As you are well aware, Mandas, the absolute effect of CO2 on ocean ph is very much in dispute, with wide estimates and poorly constrained error bars. Since you have access, either post here the authors definition of “seawater equivalent” for review, or the validity of the entire experimental process used in this research is based upon an ill-defined assumption. That would put this in the category of flawed research, appropriate for a Disney movie.

  101. Tim Clark- The researchers used aquaria for the clown fish and pumped in a air enriched CO2 mix. The paper has no diagram of the system as designed and the written description provided is incomplete. A big problem is that the clown fish water was only replaced “flushed” once a day. Pumping an enriched CO2 air mixture into a glass aquaria cannot replicate the complex carbonate chemistry of a natural system. The paper unfortunately provides no analysis of the water chemistry and surprisingly no pH data. They also do not explain why the set up for the clown fish was not the same as the damsel fish which was a flow through system but used for an entirely different purpose in the study. Bottomline -the lab system they created may in no way reflect how the actual reef system will respond to increasing levels of CO2.
    The authors acknowledge the potential that clownfish may have already adapted to higher CO2 levels but somehow find that their projected 90% mortality in 30hours at 850ppm would not allow continuing adaption. Lost is the fact that clownfish will not see a sudden jump to 850ppm CO2 as it may take -as they admit- more than a century for this to happen. So until they show at what rate adaption is or is not possible-they can’t make this logic jump.
    I also have a huge problem with their assumption that the predator odor the clown fish were supposed to avoid would indeed be perceived as a predator or a threat. Fish learn the smell of a threat by an injured relative releasing a “I’m hurt smell” or kairomone. The next new smell is processed as what caused the hurt – linking threat (something injured something just like me) with what caused that injury (predator). They did not discuss how the freshly hatched clownfish were supposed to know this new smell was a threat and did not discuss and directed injury of clownfish prior to the addition of predator odor. My understanding is that fish are born naive to the smell of predators. Without this information we have no idea why the clownfish may or may not have avoided the smell of a “predator”. Perhaps the the smell of the predator was novel or a sign of a food source. Who knows because the study does not say how we should know.

  102. Oh dear!!!!
    David said this:
    “…….Sadly, though this is far from whats being said the ABC news story. A point that you seem blindlingly oblivious to. Heres an idea, before you get all high and mighty about people reading the paper (which has restricted availability), how about you actually read at the news story. You did read it didnt you or did you just go straight to your trolling?….”
    Ummm no – if you read my post, I said this:
    “……Press releases RARELY provide the full story (and are often wrong anyway), so it is important to go the source to discover what is REALLY being said. You should NEVER rely solely on a press release or the opinion of a blogger…..”
    Which is my whole point!!! Never rely on what is written in newspapers or on the opinions of bloggers who have not read the source document that they are commenting on. You need to read the original document!
    If you want to be critical of the newspaper report for not reporting correctly then good! If you want to be critical of the report for not providing a link the source material that is good also. And if you want to be critical of science journals for not providing open access then that is fine as well. Finally, you should also be critical of Anthony for making comment on the paper when he hadn’t read it either.
    I will say it once again. Stop relying on inadequate press reports and the opinions of bloggers. Read the source material before forming an opinion.

  103. mandas says:
    July 9, 2010 at 4:38 pm “Read the source material before forming an opinion.”
    Mandas- I have read the source material and have posted comments to you– perhaps you can respond to my comments or do you only reply to straw men?

  104. Oh no. itt’s worse than ewe thought. It’s not merely the sky that is falling.
    If only it was the AGW clowns that were threatened with extinction, we could all be happy

  105. mandas says:
    July 9, 2010 at 4:38 pm
    Oh dear!!!!
    David said this:
    “…….Sadly, though this is far from whats being said the ABC news story. A point that you seem blindlingly oblivious to. Heres an idea, before you get all high and mighty about people reading the paper (which has restricted availability), how about you actually read at the news story. You did read it didnt you or did you just go straight to your trolling?….”
    Ummm no – if you read my post, I said this:
    “……Press releases RARELY provide the full story (and are often wrong anyway), so it is important to go the source to discover what is REALLY being said. You should NEVER rely solely on a press release or the opinion of a blogger…..”
    Which is my whole point!!! Never rely on what is written in newspapers or on the opinions of bloggers who have not read the source document that they are commenting on. You need to read the original document!
    If you want to be critical of the newspaper report for not reporting correctly then good! If you want to be critical of the report for not providing a link the source material that is good also. And if you want to be critical of science journals for not providing open access then that is fine as well. Finally, you should also be critical of Anthony for making comment on the paper when he hadn’t read it either.
    I will say it once again. Stop relying on inadequate press reports and the opinions of bloggers. Read the source material before forming an opinion.”
    Unforutnately, Mandas, as the majority of people will read the news story and only an handful will read the actual paper itself, it makes a heck of a lot more sense to highlight the deficiencies in the news story as they are the most likely to create an erroneous understanding in the wider community.
    JCU almost certainly had the opportunity to address the problems with the story as it would seem Prof Munday and Prof Jones from JCU had communications with ABC regarding the paper but reading Prof Jones quote it appears the were quite happy with the crap ABC put out. I guess when so much of your funding relies on being pro AGW you dont get too critical eh?
    Thats the problem with so much of climate science. So much of what finds its way into media stories is just sensationalist drivel. Its little wonder the public is losing faith in the field of climate science. Perhaps, if climate scientists took a little more responsibility in ensuring their research is accurately portrayed this wouldnt be occuring. Instead they seem to be quite happy to have the results of their research turned into stories of incoming armageddon as long as it keeps the research dollars pouring in.
    This research paper regardless of its accuracy or flaws probably never warranted the type of story ABC ran. At best JCU did little to stop this, at worst they were complicit in the manner of the reporting.
    As far as Anthony is concerned, I’ve re-read the orginal blog post a number of times and it appears mainly directed at the news story which is where the immediate problem lies. This does not warrant criticism.
    I would also add that others in this thread have already pointed to some of the flaws in the paper itself. Since you’ve clearly got access to the paper how to you respond to those posts.

  106. Mandas, further to the ABC account of the paper, for bulk consumption, what about this article released by James Cook University (JCU) itself? Is this JCU release not authoritative enough?
    Carbon emissions threaten fish populations
    SOME EXTRACTS: July 7, 2010 – Humanity’s rising CO2 emissions could have a significant impact on the world’s fish populations according to groundbreaking new research carried out in Australia…
    …“Instead of avoiding predators, they [baby clownfish] become attracted to them. They appear to lose their natural caution and start taking big risks, such as swimming out in the open – with lethal consequences.”
    Dr Mark Meekan from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, a co-author on the paper, says the change in fish behaviour could have serious implications for the sustainability of fish populations because fewer baby fish will survive to replenish adult populations…
    …“In our experiments we created the kind of sea water we will have in the latter part of this century if we do nothing to reduce emissions. [my bold added]. We exposed baby fish to it, in an aquarium and then returned some to the sea to see how they behaved.
    “When we released them on the reef, we found that they swam further away from shelter and their mortality rates were five to eight times higher than those of normal baby fish,” Professor Munday says…

    BTW;
    1) I see in the full article, that JCU use the description “more acidic” to describe what is actually less alkaline seawater. Sounds more scary eh?
    2) The methodology in the experiment, and the conclusions drawn, strike me, as an engineer, (or any applied scientist I do suggest), to be academic nonsense with so many holes in it you could drive a London double decker bus through it. (good for future funding though)
    3) Taxpayers substantially fund universities for this sort of stuff. That rather irritates me, and insult is added when we are asked to pay for the paper, or rely on press releases.

  107. Pat Moffitt,
    I think you make some good points, but you seem to be missing my point completely.
    I am not now, nor have I said, the paper is perfect, or that it is not open to criticism. I encourage people to make criticisms of the paper – every paper – and to point out any limitations in the methodology and results. That’s how science works.
    My point always has been that that is EXACTLY what people should be doing, and not criticising something they have not read. Go back and read some of the comments from people who have posted here. They are ill informed. They come from a preconceived world view and they automatically determined that there was something wrong with both the paper and its authors, when the commenters had no idea what had been said, or by who. That is just disingenuous, and it weakens any case you might like to make on your opinions.
    I have said it before and I will say it again till people here – and everywhere – get it. Read the source material before criticising, and don’t rely on newspaper articles and opinion websites as being reliable sources for anything. You know – be sceptical (and not just of opinions you don’t agree with – be sceptical of opinions you DO agree with as well).

  108. Why is it they need to put a price on these publications. Given the level of funding for climate science, I’m sure its actually not to raise money but rather to discourage anyone apart from other scientists to access it. I find your arguments disingenuous Mandas.
    You know very well that very few people will read the research paper but plenty will see the news story. Don’t try and tell me this isnt the way climate scientists want it to be.

  109. Mandas-
    I don’t agree that what we are seeing is science. Science doesn’t use press releases as a marketing tool. And their press release claim “In our experiments we created the kind of sea water we will have in the latter part of this century if we do nothing to reduce emissions” is utterly false. How in the world is pumping CO2 into a glass aquaria with little water exchange representative of the infinitely buffered oceans?
    And come on- you don’t think using Nemo had a lot to do with this study. If you are a scientist and concerned about ocean acidification you spend your time first on developing what data is needed, next you go out and get the data, then you develop some hypotheses and test them. You share your ALL your test results with others. If there is evidence for a pH decline – you first spend all your time asking one question- what happens to the phytoplankton?
    If however your intent is to scare the public to give you money more research money and to bolster the claims for climate catastrophe- You run to the media and scream – “NEMO IS GOING TO DIE!”
    When they act like scientists they will be treated like scientists.

  110. Pat Moffit,
    Maybe I’m cynical, but in making the choice of the particular fish species, maybe it was thought to be particularly iconic for kids? Perhaps there was something premeditated in the results that was intended to scare the kids?

  111. Bob_FJ
    July 10, 2010 at 3:07 pm
    Clownfish and damsels were most likely selected because the are exceptionally hardy and are very easy to maintain in an aquarium. They are also about the only marine aquarium subjects that can be breed in captivity.

  112. DesertYote, Reur July 11, 2010 at 5:19 pm
    So obviously my suspicions were groundless…. Just a coincidence.
    I notice that in your earlier comment of July 9, 2010 at 8:32 am , you wrote in part this:

    I find it frustrating that, for most of us, the only thing we have to go on are these lying press releases that are trumpeted wide and far.

    Do you think that applies to the official release by the university?
    http://www-public.jcu.edu.au/news/JCUPRD1_058449
    You also wrote:

    I really want to read this paper. Though I am pretty certain that I would find problems with the methodology of this experiment, it sounds like an interesting read.

    I’m sure that you would find it interesting since you seem to have some special interest in marine aquaria. However, providing the university release is not lying about its own paper, (and presumably the authors have sighted the release), then it is unnecessary to read the paper in order to find that the methodology and conclusions are just plain daft. For instance, the baby clownfish were subjected to what the authors estimated might be the water conditions with long-term atmospheric CO2 hypothesised to reach 700 & 850 ppm, (including higher temperatures?), which is impossible to determine in the oceans. For there to be any effect on the fish in the aquaria, some arbitrary exposure time would need to be chosen, but how much effect is sought, and would it be the same without long-term physical/genetic adaptation through significant generations of the fish. Then, in the aquaria, (where they were bred free of predators?), after these poor little fishies nosies have been adjusted (or not adjusted) to a sudden change of conditions, they are then plunged into the unfamiliar colder more alkaline conditions at the reef! Maybe they were suffering withdrawal symptoms or shock? Who knows?
    Incidentally, isn’t there also a thing about clown fish gender adaptation?

  113. Bob_FJ
    July 11, 2010 at 7:33 pm
    Clownfish are “Sequential Protandrus hermaphrodites”. The largest is a female. The next largest is a breeding male. The remaining are immature males. If the female is removed, the breeding male will grow larger and become the female. One of the non-breeding males will mature and become the breeding male.
    Actually, I am not all that interested in Marine Ecology. My main focus is extreme freshwater habitats such as desert streams. I have also worked with estuary systems which I found fascinating (talk about fast changing and extreme water chemistry! BTW, there are a number of brackish and even fresh water damsels). Marine bores me, but I have still have to be knowledgeable.
    The university press release was terrible, obviously written by a marxist indoctrinated journalist major with no knowledge of the sciences. There is almost nothing here that indicates what is actually in the paper. It is probably all a lie. I am not even surprised anymore when lead authors misrepresent there own studies for the press. After all it really does not matter, its not like its peer reviewed or anything, and if it serves the greater good, then lying is ok.

  114. DesertYote, Reur July 12, 2010 at 4:23 pm
    Thanks your very interesting comment. I think you were a bit strong concerning the accuracy of the university release though; after all it cannot possibly cover everything in the paper itself, even if it were totally accurate. What is rather disturbing for me is that apparently:
    They publish their research this week [per July 7] in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal‘.
    And…. In addition to the findings of the SIX author’s, apparently Professor David Booth, and Professor Geoffrey Jones add their gloomy prognostications and seal of approval to the paper. There are also extensive quotes. In small part, the lead author Munday is quoted thus:
    “When we released them [the fry] on the reef, we found that they swam further away from shelter and their mortality rates were five to eight times higher than those of normal baby fish,” Professor Munday says…
    I’d be surprised if this is a fabricated statement, but anyway, regardless of its considerable ambiguity, you did put your finger on an elementary methodology problem of theirs when you wrote earlier:

    Clownfish and damsels were most likely selected because they are exceptionally hardy and are very easy to maintain in an aquarium. They are also about the only marine aquarium subjects that can be breed in captivity.

    This shows right away that normal aquaria conditions do NOT emulate the reef, and thus that each of these two exposures are likely to affect the fish in any number of different ways that are open to speculation.
    Some 45 years ago and before, I was a keen freshwater tropical fish keeper and breeder, and was accidentally successful in breeding an “unbreedable” loach. One day I discovered that their small community tank was apparently lifeless because of extremely low temperature due to power loss in a cold room. (English winter). However, the community mostly recovered, with ONLY the loaches, eye bogglingly spawning frantically in normal temperature water. The other species showed no response other than some dying, and were easy to net out to protect the fry. Inherently then, one has to be very careful in nature in predicting processes or drawing conclusions after any unnatural stress, especially if it is severe, however that may be defined or assumed. (modest temperature changes etc, are of course common practice in stimulating fish breeding in aquaria)
    Oh, and some species are said to return to their birthplace through some sophisticated biological mechanisms which I guess still remain speculative. (?) OK, lets take some Atlantic Salmon, artificially breed them in freshwater tanks, and then release them in the Pacific at the right size. What will they do about returning home?
    I guess though that these JCU coral reef experts et al will get adequate funding to continue their research, given the extreme gravity of their published findings!

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