Data for study based on TWO fish sample size: challenges to Australia's Climate Comission go unanswered

One fish, representing 50% sample size. Lateral view of a Banded Morwong. Photographer: Erik Schlögl via The Australian Museum

Submitted by Marc Hendrix – correspondence with Steve Woodman, reproduced with permission:

For your reference, today I sent this challenge to the Climate Commission regarding a recent University of Tasmania study on growth rates in the banded morwong and the alarmist promotion of its suspect findings.

In a recent ABC story on the study, much was made of the threat of fish dying from hot ocean water when in fact the sample size of the component of the study which looked at the physiological stress on fish consisted of only TWO fish.

The authors admitted: “This result may reflect the small sample size of our experiments, and further work is needed to determine the effect of increasing temperature on swimming activity in banded morwong.”

(See abstract and full text of study here in Nature Climate Change)

Unfortunately Dr Thresher of the University did not inform the listeners to the ABC of this significant limitation to the study and its findings.

I present three other peer reviewed studies that show that marine ecosystems adapt well to warmer water and that there is no cause for such rank alarmism from activist scientists.

Marc, over the last three months I’ve sent over twenty challenges to the Commission regarding peer reviewed papers that do not toe the party line, apart from the usual automatic acknowledgement of receipt they have not yet responded to me.

Steve Woodman BSc (Hons) Psych

P.S I am a private citizen without any political affiliations or vested interests in coal, nuclear or any other industries or business concerns.


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Mann Bearpig

All they need now is a loaf of bread and they can do another miracle.

Martin Brumby

I guess they’re likely to be Morwong than wight.

Brian H

Edit note: “toe the party line”, not “tow”, notwithstanding widespread insistent illiterate error-mongering on this point.


They looked at five different sites, so how can they only have looked at two fish?

What do we expect? Briffa used 12 trees for his hockey stick.

charles nelson

Dear Moderator,
Not absolutely on subject but ABC (aus) Radio News just ran a story about a Climate Scientist at Melbourne Uni who has received death threats, for tirelessly speaking the truth about Climate change. Apparently University authorities have taken steps to upgrade his security. Corollis or something like that was his name…
This smells mighty fishy to me…why should this story arise now. Of course I have a theory.
In the media spin business timing is everything and as the Warmists watch their support dwindle away with every brimming lake, every desert bloom, every fresh fall of snowin the mountains and every extra layer of clothing the Australian population is putting on to contend with the coldest weather in 40 years…is it possible that some clever green media rascal has decided that if you can’t win the argument about the ‘Science’ then why not try to paint ‘Deniers’ as murderous fanatics?
Kind of like the exploding children idea but turned round 180 degrees.
Smacks of desperation. GRrrreat!

Gordon Cheyne

Yes, but that’s two fish and four polar bears.
You never know where this will all end up . . . .


water melon head science .what will happen to them all after the biggest FRAUD in our history is dead and cremated . cannot wait for the day

Rhoda Ramirez

Were the fish tagged in some way, like those poor penguins?

Ecstatic Warmist

Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri could feed the multitudes with two fish and four polar bears.


Crikey. When I read the headline I thought it was typically laughable that they’d reach a conclusion from only studying two species of fish.
It seems they studied two individual fish. Jesus wept.
Just a wild thought; is it possible that the only fish they could catch were the two sick ones?


Also worth noting that as well as not swimming as well as they used to, they may also go deaf.
No, honest – deaf.


Hmmm, Cheilodactylus, I think this is in a group of perciform families that have members that live for close to a century. People always underestimate how long some fishes live. Its late, I’ll research tomorrow. BTW, I have a lot experience keeping many species of fish well outside their comfort zone. Comes from maintaining fish in Phoenix Arizona, easier to heat an aquarium then it is to cool it. The main problem is susceptibility to protozoan and secondary fungal infections, and that does not start until temps are like 5C too high. I want to post more but I need to get to bed.

val majkus

Charles Nelson I copied your comment to Jennifer Marohasy’s blog
My comment relates to a comment by Gavin about the Canberra Times article in now up on the web
subject is clear in the headline
my comment to Gavin is this:
thanks for that gavin, just for interest I had googled ‘death threats to climate scientists’ and if you do the same you’ll see there’s even been a doc on it by Clive Hamilton and then there’s this article
here’s more about the 5 part series by Clive Hamilton
a para from that article:
Clive Hamilton is a Professor of Public Ethics, supported by Australian National University and the University of Melbourne. Previously, he founded and ran a progressive think tank called the Australia Institute.
I don’t recall anything coming out of what seems to be numerous allegations
so … a mystery
As I say … don’t remember anything coming out of what appears to be (starting around Climategate) numerous allegations by climate scientists
So … a mystery,


Amateurs, any decent propagandist would only need one fish.


Why are these people holding science up to ridicule?

Glen of Aus

To my dear fellow Aussies: Hell has more chance of Freezing over for Eternity than the Labor/Greens Party’s, Climate Commission, and BOM has of announcing that Climate Change is a Fraud. We should keep fighting and push the Truth, but these groups are Hell-bent on destroying our wonderful beautiful country.

jcrabb says:
They looked at five different sites, so how can they only have looked at two fish?

Well, first you catch a slow weak fish, then you follow it to the second site, then the third…

David, UK

“…there is no cause for such rank alarmism from activist scientists.”
@ Steve: There is always cause for such rank alarmism from activist scientists.


I’ve got tears running down my face (in laughter) reading the comments.

However the same behaviour in research is used in human research.


oops try again with video
One Fish, Too Fish, red Fish, Blue Fish Dr Seuss read in Jamaican Patois

Tony Hansen

Martin Brumby,
You should be 🙂

Patrick Davis

“This result may reflect the small sample size of our experiments, and further work is needed to determine the effect of increasing temperature on swimming activity in banded morwong.”
Or in other words….
“Dear stupid Aussie taxpayers there is no need to laugh, this is serious science and we have more serious science to do so we will constinue to take your taxes. Thankyou!”
I bet they really prefered a sample size of just 1 fish, like Kieth “One Tree” Briffa and YAD061, would have made their job half as easy. Australia used to be called the “lucky” country. Seems Australia has entered a death spiral into the age of stupid.


Two . what a joke , but is it really a surprise that fact did not get out on the news given the point wasn’t to review the science but to up the scare factor .

John Marshall

Sorry, Briffa used ONE tree for his ‘study’. He is not called ‘One Tree Briffa’ for nothing.
One wonders about the education standards of these people. Studies ‘Proving’ that heat stress is likely to cause problems, possibly leading to ‘species failure’ takes no account of previous warm periods that were warmer than today. The MWP was about 2C warmer than today, the RWP even warmer so how did these species survive if heat was a problem?


CRIKEY!!! One can just imagine Dr Thresher sharking around for more fame and funds.

Brian Johnson uk

They get Grants for this abysmally small sample which is then promoted as “Gospel”?

Lawrie Ayres

charles nelson,
He is Professor Karoly, an ardent and long time alarmist who was responsible for a flawed rewrite of AR4 and passed it to PM Dullard as the driver for the new “carbon” tax. He has sea level rise and temp rise that don’t seem to gel with current real world data. Sea level would have to rise by 10mm per annum for the rest of the century. he ignored real data in order to reach his conclusions which strangely enough mirrored the requirements of the government. He too is “independent” as are all the climate commissioners.
Karoly was given a severe grilling by a few radio shock jocks who dared to question his findings. Karoly and his peers are not used to being questioned and obviously confuse questioning with physical threats. His saving grace is that his report is far less scary than his pronouncements of bygone years. After the pizzling his mate,Tim Flannery, got from all his false predictions (any one of which would see him lose his job in the commercial world) he may have become more circumspect.
The BoM are correctly attributing the coolest and wettest autumn to La Nina. However the drought and heatwaves of several years ago were signs of ACC.
I was once proud that Australians were smart and not easily fooled. I am quite embarrassed that our government is such a laughing stock and it’s pursuit of a “carbon” tax is so ridiculous. Father forgive them for they know not what they do.


charles nelson says: June 4, 2011 at 12:30 am
Suggest read War on Words published by <The Australian and this story on the streets very early this morning.
Charles, Not sure of the Melbourne University (Australia) news.? Maybe Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia as reported late today.
In any case, despicable behaviour.
There has been a freedom of speech/anti-discrimination case going on in Australia. I do not know the full details or outcome, but Janet Albrechtson provides a synopisis of this case It’s a Serious Debate about Free Speech
The woman that was the subject of an abusive ‘twitter’ is Bess Price. Bess had previously spoken out clearly against violence among her people and her speeches can be searched on google.
The above may also assist Willis E in his survey on WUWT bloggers and identity. And the responses and response rates.


The story on the death threats is here:
The name of the climate scientist in Victoria who also received death threats is Dr Karoli. The story does not mention whether the scientists who received the death threats were Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming believers or skeptics.

Will Gray

charles nelson says:
June 4, 2011 at 12:30 am
Dear Moderator,
Not absolutely on subject but ABC (aus) Radio News just ran a story about a Climate Scientist at Melbourne Uni who has received death threats, for tirelessly speaking the truth about Climate change.

Eh eh. I had the privilege of reading a doctorate (Ph D) thesis that took several important conclusions by analysing a sample of two lab mice — 50% obese, 50% normal. Passed with flying colors. It all depends on who you are.

Patrick Davis

“OzCynic says:
June 4, 2011 at 2:21 am”
Dr Karoli is VERY pro AGW, and in debates, will talk over everyone and anyone.


We are wasting our time trying to explain facts and science to these people because they have no interest in facts or science.
These are crooks, liers and frauds, and like all crooks, liers and frauds, when you try to expose their lies, they will either ignore you or keep lying to cover their lies. What you will never get, is an admission of their fraud – until they face punishment for it.
I no longer believe the AGW hoax can be solved by presenting the science to these people. It can only be solved when there is a political party brave enough to propose criminal charges for fraud against the scientists, and appropriate charges against those the in the media deliberately and knowing perpetrating this fraud (treason or sedition would be appropriate when you consider the cost to our society, economy and children)
We are not dealing with a scientific issue, but with a criminal issue, and the sooner we reaslise that and start treating it as such, the sooner we may get results. If we just keep going down the path of trying to prove the science, all that will happend is that they will ingore it, and keep lying.

Will Gray

David Karoly provocative ALLARMIST you got it wrong fella.

Will Gray

Don’t ye all love being a sceptic.

Nigel McDougall

I used to spear these fish in pot holes at the base of cliffs at the western end of roaring beach Nubeena, Tasmania. If they really lived at a depth of ten metres I wouldn’t have been able to spear them. I’m a cardiovascular casualty and a respiratory cripple. I struggle to dive deeper than five metres. I’ve given up spearing them because of the size restriction – greater than 360 mm but less than 460 mm. It’s hard to measure a moving fish. These fish feed in water as shallow as three metres, where there is a substantial temperature difference from winter to summer. I haven’t noticed that they feed in deeper water in summer. (I must admit that the really huge specimens stay deeper down.) I was very skeptical when I heard the story. So what if the SST warms up? The fish could go deeper if they really had to. Below three metres, the water around here is bone-numbingly and genital-shrinkingly cold all the time. I would be delighted if the SST improved around here. We have the same latitude as Barcelona. The price we pay for the absence of winter is the absence of summer. Warmer water would bring more fish to southern Tasmania, snapper for example, and like I said the poor old morwong could retreat to the deeper part of their habitat, a place the mainland fish would shun. I know that co2-induced global warming is a load of old cobblers, but if it ever happens Tasmania would be the world’s greatest beneficiary of it!!!!


As the ABC report ends with-
“The Australian Federal Police says it is aware of the issue, but there is no investigation underway.”
Basically that means nothing to see here folks so roll over and go back to sleep and we’ll let you know if there’s any real terrorist threat about, as distinct from the usual teenage digital antics and cyber-bullying going on nowadays.


Can’t get to the body of the paper as it’s behind a pay wall but can reference 3 figures “at a glance”.
Figures 1 and 2 which seem to use large samples but Figure 3 explicitly says = 2.
To determine growth rates they analysed the fishes’ otoliths, bony structures that fish use for orientation and detection of movement. Just like tree rings, the bony structures show incremental changes in fish growth over long periods of time.

(the fish live a long time, 90 years)
Figure 3: Preliminary estimates of temperature effects on swimming activity in banded morwong.
a, Temperature effects on oxygen consumption at 0.9 m s−1 (mean ± standard error, based on n=2 fish and >12 trials).
b, The swimming speeds (mean ± standard error, based on n=2 fish and >12 trials) causing anaerobic stress at different temperatures.…

I can imagine why they only used 2 fish in their live experiments – ever tried to put a breathing mask on a fish?

Kindle Kinser

This is incorrect. The study was based on more than two fish. In one paragraph they mention a two fish sample that suggests a possible relationship to fish activity and the ability to maintain spawning speed. That is the small sample size the author’s were referring to, not their overall findings.
Article full text:

Roger Carr

Brian H says: (June 4, 2011 at 12:22 am)
Edit note: “toe the party line”, not “tow”, notwithstanding widespread insistent illiterate error-mongering on this point.
Ah, Brian, such a touching cry from the past. These days they have to tow the party line all over the place to try and keep ahead…


And speaking of teenage cyber-bullying it’s probably the only true ‘hockey schtick’ statistic out there, not that we scientific parents would ever know the true extent of it-
Strictly a field day for scientific modelling and forecasting for all the Climatology eggsperts out there by all accounts.


To Charles the Moderator :
As mentioned above contributors on ABC (Aust) news, there is often a lag between the radio news and the websites.

{{I present three other peer reviewed studies that show that marine ecosystems adapt well to warmer water and that there is no cause for such rank alarmism from activist scientists.}}
Is there a link/reference to the three studies – I would like to read them.


Well on the news tonight it said that the Australian Federal Police were monitoring the situation but not taking any action. This usually means they do not take the threats as credible or real. There seems to be a fashion in Australia lately by Politicians and now Scientists that when they get a bit of a grilling suddenly there are death threats ( or claimed death threats)With Tony Windsor (politician) the death threat turned out to be “I hope you drop dead you b@st@rd” now while not nice , hardly a threat to life ( b@st@rd almost being a term of affection in Austalia). Now I personally condemn anyone who makes threats or harrasses people for what they say or believe but I do agree with an earlier poster that this smells fishy, especially when the AFP are not taking action

R. Shearer

One was a control, right!?

Paul R

There is something fishy going on with this death threat story, definately more fishy than this study which was fish-less.
“Vice Chancellor Professor Ian Young says high profile academics have received large numbers of threatening emails and abusive phone calls over the last six months, but the situation has worsened significantly in recent weeks.”
Sunday papers anyone.

amicus curiae

well this fishy tale is just like the Bom funny figures after they adjusted em…
and Karoli is a dipsh*t.
I seriously doubt the threats- and if there were? I just bet its an Inside job to further try and shut sceptical comments down across aus.
yesterdays farce of the day was a survey..that said 76% believed in warming.
yeah? really? a few hundred in a long gone survey, NO figures or what the Q asked were either..
lies damned lies and statistics
the get up greenpeace mob seem to number 3 mil according to g peace anyway..(a LOT of room for doubt there)
so from 22+ mil total 3 is NOT a majority of the people, rather they are a MINORITY view.cant say I would cry or be ,moved if the whole damn lot of the govvy paid AGW goons did take a long walk off a short pier though, JuLIAR and bob could lead the way:-)

Oscar Bajner

On the first day of warming my alarmist gave to me,
One Yamal Tree.
On the second day of warming my alarmist gave to me,
Two Morwong fish.
On the third day of warming, my alarmist gave to me,
Three Al-Gore-Rhythms
On the fourth day of warming my alarmist gave to me,
Four Polar bears.

Paul Westhaver

Look at the bright side. If they used only one fish, the standard deviation on any variable would have been infinity.
So much for science. The Paul Ehrlich et al anti-human socialists have perverted science into wizardry.