A fish story: climate change bigger threat to lakes than predator fish

From the UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH and the “obviously they’ve never encountered a Northern Pike outside of a model” department comes this ridiculous study that is nothing more than speculation based on a model of their own design.

Esox lucius (Northern Pike) caught in Belgium Image: WikiPedia


Monitor climate change, not predators, to protect lake diversity: Study

Climate change and other environmental factors are more threatening to fish diversity than predators, according to new research from the University of Guelph.

It is a surprising and important finding, as humans rely upon freshwater lakes for more than one-fifth of their protein needs worldwide, says lead author Prof. Andrew MacDougall in U of G’s Department of Integrative Biology.

“Freshwater is a huge source of food for people, including Ontario’s Great Lakes,” he said.

Lakes, rivers and streams cover less than one per cent of Earth’s surface but provide 12 per cent of human fish consumption, MacDougall said.

The findings, published this month in the journal Nature Communications, may offer ideas for resource managers to better protect all-important species diversity in lakes around the world, MacDougall said.

His international research team included U of G biologist Prof. Kevin McCann and scientists in Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, the United States and Japan.

The research team modelled prey-predator interactions and environmental factors, such as lake size, temperature and water quality.

The scientists used information compiled earlier by the Ontario government on more than 700 lakes in the Great Lakes watershed.

The team found that species diversity depends more on “bottom-up” environmental factors than on “top-down” interactions, or which fish species eats what – a result that surprised MacDougall.

He said food chain interactions among organisms are still important.

“All lakes have big predators, and predators always kill lots of fish that they consume,” said MacDougall. “But the strength and degree of the interactions seems to depend fully on environment. The interactions are never independent of lake conditions.”

He said resource managers need to pay attention to physical conditions, including lake warming caused by climate change and water quality impacts of human activities such as farming.

The authors say the paper’s findings set a baseline for species diversity in southern Ontario lakes. That will help resource managers monitor or predict those effects as well as the impacts of other changes such as introduction of invasive species.

Many freshwater fish species in Canada and abroad are already endangered by human-caused environmental changes, said McCann. “There’s a looming threat of loss of species.”

He said the study shows how so-called big data can help detect patterns in complicated ecosystems and how precision agriculture – including more targeted use of crop fertilizers — may lessen pollutants entering lakes and streams.

Big data and precision agriculture are key aspects of the University’s Food from Thought project, which aims to help find sustainable ways to feed Earth’s growing human population. McCann co-leads that project, launched in 2016.

U of G researchers in the new study were supported by funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and from the Canada First Excellence Research Fund for the Food from Thought project.

###

The press release from the University of Guelph did not contain a link to the paper, but did contain the journal reference “Nature Communications”. A cursory search didn’t reveal the paper. But an advanced search did. I don’t know why these Uni PR people don’t include direct links to the paper.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-03419-1

Context-dependent interactions and the regulation of species richness in freshwater fish

Abstract

Species richness is regulated by a complex network of scale-dependent processes. This complexity can obscure the influence of limiting species interactions, making it difficult to determine if abiotic or biotic drivers are more predominant regulators of richness. Using integrative modeling of freshwater fish richness from 721 lakes along an 11olatitudinal gradient, we find negative interactions to be a relatively minor independent predictor of species richness in lakes despite the widespread presence of predators. Instead, interaction effects, when detectable among major functional groups and 231 species pairs, were strong, often positive, but contextually dependent on environment. These results are consistent with the idea that negative interactions internally structure lake communities but do not consistently ‘scale-up’ to regulate richness independently of the environment. The importance of environment for interaction outcomes and its role in the regulation of species richness highlights the potential sensitivity of fish communities to the environmental changes affecting lakes globally.

Here’s their model:

Direct and indirect drivers of species richness in fish. SEM-derived multivariate relationships among integrated abiotic and biotic regulatory factors (blocks = degree days, circles = lake morphometry, triangles = water quality, and biotic factors [red lines]) for the richness and composition of four major fish functional groups in 721 lakes along an 11° latitudinal gradient in Ontario, Canada SEM integrative model:, n = 648, MLEST = 4.91, Degree of freedom = 13, P = 0.977, see Methods and Supplementary Note 1). Solid lines indicate negative relationships; dashed lines indicate positive relationships. Arrows indicate the direction of the relationship. Bold lines indicate stronger relationships, arbitrarily assigned as standardized path coefficient values > 0.40. Black lines indicate abiotic influences on biotic factors and red lines indicate influences between biotic factors. Functional groups are predator, littoral, pelagic, and small-prey species, with full species list given in Supplementary Table 1

And here is the results:

Frequency of negative, positive, and non-associated pair-wise interactions between among-lake richness versus within-lake abundance. a Frequency of significantly positive, nonsignificant, and negative associations among 231 species pairs of freshwater fish in 721 lakes, for two classes of data: lake presence/absence (differences in among-lake richness) and lake abundance based on catch per unit effort for each species in each lake (differences in within-lake abundance). We hypothesized an increase in the frequency of negative interactions within-lakes but this was generally not the case, for both species pairs in the ‘same’ temperature class (e.g., two species of ‘warm-water’ fish, Supplementary Table 1) versus ‘different’ classes (warm vs cold-water species). b Relative change in the importance of four major explanatory factors (climate, morphometry, water quality, and negative species interactions) between BRT analyses of among-lake richness to BRT analyses of within-lake abundance (see Supplementary Table 3). Significant thresholds were based on an α < 0.05

I read the entire study, and noted this:

Our analysis is one of the more comprehensive empirical tests of the importance of limiting species interactions for regulation of richness and composition, using integrative analyses and fish data from 721 lakes covering large gradients of degree days, latitude, lake morphometry, water quality, and trophic complexity. Although we detected evidence of significant influences of species interactions on diversity and composition, negative interactions in isolation were unable to consistently predict co-occurrences along multiple regional-scale environmental gradients—fish appear to rarely forbid one another from lakes. This conclusion does not indicate that antagonistic species interactions are unimportant for the regulation of fish communities, rather it implies that it is difficult to detect independent signals of their influence on species richness among lakes. Indeed, dozens of studies have explored richness regulation in fish, driven by interest in both fundamental ecological mechanisms and fisheries management. Our work provides clarification on why these questions have been difficult to test, with richness regulated by complex multivariate factors that operate at a range of spatial resolutions.

Our findings were robust, with similar results for the presence-absence of species pairs among lakes versus the analysis of species abundance within lakes.

Any time someone writing a climate related paper claims their finding are “robust”, my BS detector immediately goes off.

There’s two important things missing from this paper:

  1. They cite degree days as the metric for climate change. In the real-world, while degree days do have a climatic component they are also a weather driven phenomenon. They fail to recognize this outside of their model.They assume that weather won’t change with changes in degree days.
  2. They assume no species adaptation to “climate change”, if fact the entire paper does not contain the words “adapt” or “adaptation”. That’s a fatal assumption.

In my opinion, this study is garbage, with the PR written as a climate headline grabber.

However, they didn’t publish the data, even though they say the data is available. So perhaps somebody with species experience can request it and test it to confirm my opinion.

Data availability

The data were collected through Ontario’s BsM program and are available upon reasonable request to the Aquatic Research and Monitoring Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, 2140 East Bank Drive, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada K9J 7B8.

 

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A fish story: climate change bigger threat to lakes that predator fish

Did you mean lakes that predate fish, Anthony?
I.e., in the sense that eggs predate chickens? (Because they were laid by dinosaurs?)

markl

That = than.

Phil Rae

Still not fixed on the email “headline” though, Anthony! It still says “that”……

Anyway, the question what came first: the lake or the fish is largely academic, in the sense “please grant me a few grand to write an essay about it.”
Neither, of course, is a “threat” to the other. If anything, anthropogenic spewing of millions of tons of piscine predators into our waterways has been pre-scientifically shown (going all the way back to Archimedes) to raise lake levels, not lower them!

Latitude

” humans rely upon freshwater”…fish farms….there’s no “species richness”….they are mono-species fish farms

Edwin

Latitude you are correct the numbers they quote about human freshwater fish consumption is not from wild lakes but from aquaculture, in China primarily but also in SE Asia. However, in the best China culture systems they are using multiple species, e.g., bottom feeder, mid-feeder and top feeder. Typically when I was there with an aquaculture technical group ponds were fertilized with pig manure or duck droppings.

Kenji

Thank you for reminding me that I will NEVER eat farmed fish … who eat their own poop. Call me a gastric elitist

Samuel C Cogar

the numbers they quote about human freshwater fish consumption is not from wild lakes but from aquaculture

Right you are, to wit:

“People are now eating more farmed fish than wild-caught fish
July 14, 2016: For the first time in human history, most of our aquatic food now comes from farming rather than fishing,” says Malcolm Beveridge, of the FAO’s aquaculture division.
People ate around 73 million tonnes (81 million tons) of farmed fish—just more than half of the volume of fish that humans consumed—in 2014, the last year for which there was data. That’s out of total fish supply of 167 million tonnes; the remaining 20 million or so tonnes go into things like animal feed and medical products.

Read more @ https://qz.com/730794/the-future-is-here-people-are-now-eating-more-farmed-fish-than-wild-caught-fish/

rocketscientist

And is was a aquaculture incident which led to the problem with invasive carp in the Mississippi water shed, and heading towards the great lakes.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/asian-carp-woes/

Models like this are not science but are just an interpretation of tenuous data that provides the results the modeller is looking for.
The only models that actually represent reality are those which conform to the laws of physics. Imagined dependencies with arbitrary coefficients quantifying unknown interactions is not even close to physics.

joelobryan

If they are willing to take the model to the field and tests its predictions against observation, then it is useful. Then use the observations to correct or discard elements within the model it can become more useful as a tool to understand the lake ecosystem.
But if they have a pre-determined outcome they want to “prove” and ignore inconvenient resulkts, then it is indeed junk science.

Patrick B

It’s not the pre-determined outcome alone that makes this junk science. It’s the failure to test the model against the real world. Show us a prediction by the model and a real world experiment with a lake and analyze whether the prediction was correct or wrong. Now show us that can be repeated. Only then are the authors entitled to report “findings”.

Testing predictions is the hallmark of the scientific method which is why to get around the inconvenience of falsification, the alarmists make inane long term predictions that raise alarm and that we can never test.

ricksanchez769

There are approximately 250,000 lakes and over 100,000 kilometres (62,000 mi) of rivers in the province. Almost 94% of the population is concentrated within Southern Ontario, where the population was over 12,100,000 in the 2006 census. – from Wiki…and they test 721 lakes

Kristi Silber

Yes, 721 lakes. It’s called sampling. It’s science.

Mjw

Kristi Silber:
You mean like cutting down 33 trees and using only one (Yamal 06) to get the global warming result you wanted.
That type of sampling/

Rainer Bensch

Lakes, rivers and streams cover less than one per cent of Earth’s surface but provide 12 per cent of human fish consumption
Comparing % apples with % oranges is also science?

Kristi Silber

co2isnotevil, joel, patrick,
You don’t know what you’re talking about. This is ALL based on empirical evidence. It’s not a predictive model. Many statistics are called models, including multivariate regression.
How eager you are, though, to jump on that “stupid idiot scientists don’t know what they’re doing” bandwagon without knowing anything about what they’re doing.
It’s sheer unmitigated arrogance and ignorance to think laymen know science better than those who do it when said laymen can’t even distinguish between a dynamical and statistical model. They hear “model” and start whining about junk science – but contrarian scientists can throw together a bunch of equations to predict 100 years of climate change based on one variable and deniers think those models are good science.
Humility is in short supply around here.

KO

Kristi, a word to the wise – take it or leave it as you please…I don’t often post here, but like many I suspect, I read and think about what is posted (a lot).
There are a number of very well educated and highly thoughtful posters on WUWT. They come from both sides of the debate too. That is great and educational – hopefully for all.
There is also a very healthy dose of cynicism and free-thinking in evidence here.
It seems you can bring a lot to the debate – you appear to be prepared to “rumble” (good) and defend your propositions, and have a background in sciences (also very good).
What is unhelpful is “chippiness” and asserting that non-scientists/people from a non-science background cannot or should not contribute or that their contribution is not valuable, either because they lack competences or because their “humility is in short supply”. Be careful…
As someone with several degrees from 1st rate universities, ongoing practice experience at the highest level, and with very long personal and family ties to the land (and the close attention to all that goes on in the land, weather/climate every day), I can assure you very few of the conclusions of “scientific” papers I have ever read would stand up to robust cross-examination.
The day is coming when this catastrophic anthropogenic global warming rubbish will be taken apart in court, once and for always. Personally I cannot wait.
Does that mean I condone reckless and negligent exploitation of the natural resources we have; or thoughtless pumping of pollutants into the water or atmosphere or ground or oceans. No.

Kristi Silber

KO
“What is unhelpful is “chippiness” and asserting that non-scientists/people from a non-science background cannot or should not contribute or that their contribution is not valuable, either because they lack competences or because their “humility is in short supply”. Be careful”
This is a point well-taken. I often regret the tone I’ve taken in my posts, reading them later. My crankiness and cattiness were uncalled-for. Sometimes my response to insults reaches the wrong people. I try to be above that and not let emotion cloud my arguments, but I’m human and have my bad days.
There is so much I could say about this topic! It’s not that people shouldn’t talk and discuss and contribute – not at all! I think it’s wonderful that people are showing an interest in science. But it’s the wrong sort of interest. It’s interest that is eager to destroy and will believe what it needs to in order to justify it. It’s also eager to justify that destruction by creating something in its place that has the facade of science. People spend a decade learning how to be scientists then years developing expertise in a specialty. For laymen to believe they have better capacity to understand the system those who specialize in it is an affront to the profession. It’s analogous to a layman pretending to be an oncologist and making online diagnoses. No matter how many books he’s read about cancer, it can’t take the place of experience and a rigorous education.
“I can assure you very few of the conclusions of “scientific” papers I have ever read would stand up to robust cross-examination.” How can you assure me of this? I don’t know what your degrees and practical experience are in. Whether you have “very long personal and family ties to the land” is immaterial when it comes to evaluating scientific method. It would be useless to “cross examine” the conclusions of a paper without understanding their origin, which is what many here attempt to do.
I have very broad and deep ideas about this issue, with argument and evidence. They cannot be encapsulated in a comment. They are based on the patterns of arguments by skeptics, reading contrarian Congressional testimony and publications, original documents from Big Oil, scientific publications, informational websites I trust, like NASA and NOAA. I avoid AGW sites, haven’t watched TV for years (but had to live through a painful week of MSNBC propaganda on a visit recently). Much of my life I’ve spent in a virtual media vacuum. My observations are filtered through the eyes of a liberal whose best friend is a staunch conservative, and I’ve come to understand and appreciate conservative values. Since I read many comments here that denigrate my groups, I’m sure that has an effect on my perception, reason, and the way I communicate and present myself. The best I can do is try to be aware of it and control for it – this is the only way to deal with bias. I often fail.
Thank you for the friendly advice. I appreciate the comment.

People spend a decade learning how to be scientists then years developing expertise in a specialty. For laymen to believe they have better capacity to understand the system those who specialize in it is an affront to the profession. It’s analogous to a layman pretending to be an oncologist and making online diagnoses. No matter how many books he’s read about cancer, it can’t take the place of experience and a rigorous education.

But when a “lay person” (And, no we are not “lay people” in this area) examines a oncologist and his/her papers and grant applications, and finds that the oncologist has a 100% failure rate, is demanding the additional deaths of hundreds of millions of innocents BECAUSE of that oncologist’s “belief system” in the supposed “cure” that he is promoting, is getting paid to promote, whose future and whose entire career is involved in promoting that “cure” (actually, bringing death to those hundreds of millions BECAUSE the “cure”) … is it not essential that the “lay person” analyze the supposed “cure” to a disease that is not actually dangerous? That the oncologist is being lauded by his peers FOR that “belief system” does not make the “cure” correct.
Only profitable for the oncologist, the politicians who fund it, and the governments who stand to take trillions because of that “cure”.
Destroying the fossil fuel industry, destroying the good that it has created between 1818 and 2018 WILL CAUSE harm to billions. Will KILL millions in the cold and dark, dying of diseases and starvation. For the “fear” of a future that “might be” a little warmer, has been warmer in the past, and has changed in the past, in the present, and in the future from natural causes unaffected by man’s beneficial release of CO2.

Kristi Silber

RACookPE1978 – If you (plural) are not laymen in freshwater ecology, why are you making irrelevant criticisms of this study? Nothing you say has any bearing on the matter.

Ian Magness

Oh my, this really is a pile of unmitigated crap isn’t it? I looked in vain for references both to the sort of temperature swings that the likes of pike, trout an other predatory fish are subjected to in an average year (with comparison to what “climate change” is actually achieving) and the bleedin’ obvious point that if prey fish decline, so will predator fish and vice versa. Predatory fish don’t eat themselves into extinction, they suffer declines, allowing prey fish to re-populate etc. Self-regulating system, unless some other major factor like chemical pollution or a volcano messes the eco-system up.
Any chance of any rational science?

Mark from the Midwest

Northern Pike, at least in Michigan, can be found in large supply, in some lakes where the water temp varies from 34F up to 80F. Me thinks they’re more concerned with snacks than water temp. Trout are a bit less tolerant of warmer water, in the summer the Lake Trout school in areas of Lake Michigan that hang below 60F.
Actually, the fish populations took a big hit during the 2013-14 winter, where a lot of lakes froze rather deeply, and didn’t start to warm up until June and July

Kenji

EXACTLY! In the face of a couple degrees on an atomic thermometer in space … all species on the globe collapse into a tub of goo. And THESE are the same people who pray to the god of evolution? Too funny.

John harmsworth

I have caught many Northern Pike and walleye in Northern Canadian lakes when ice fishing in approx. 35F water. When I was a kid I caught pike and walleye in the river near my home in mid-summer in 70F water. I caught Perch, walleye and pike in the reservoir warm water return from our coal fired plant in water over 80F. The only thing that I have ever seen have an impact on numbers of any species was fishing pressure..

Kristi Silber

Ian,
Any chance someone who’s spent their life working on things like these might know more than you? Any chance your assumptions are wrong? Oh, that’s right, the data is crap, you don’t even have to measure the pH of a single pond to know what fools scientists are. Omniscience must be nice. You should play the ponies, you’d made a killing.

Sara

You’re such a bitter little person, Kristi Silber.
It seems strange to me, Kristi, that you’d place more value on someone who does computer modeling on a small sample than on the statements of people who have FISHED lakes and streams and have REAL world evidence instead of computer models.
I notice that none of the lakes “modeled” in that study are named, and that’s a warning that the modeling FAILS to take into account fish populations in LARGE water bodies like the Great Lakes, a KNOWN resource for freshwater fish of a large and diverse group of species. And as someone else notes (above), the “science group” ignored the mass group of lakes (250,000 lakes) and rivers (100,000 rivers) but instead focused on a microscope sample of 721 lakes. Not a valid modeling sample, and certainly NOT statistically accurate.
As others have noted, a large portion of freshwater fish such as trout and salmon sold at grocery stories, comes from fish farms instead of being “wild caught”. Again, this makes the test and modeling suspect.
So, Kristi, if you think this is the way to do things – not even a one percent sampling in the real world but using computer models instead – you have a rather limited view of what biology and REAL testing consist of.

Kristi Silber

Sara, I used the same statistical procedure in my undergraduate research in biology. Path analysis? I guess you know all about it, so what sample size would be necessary, Sara? Do you think more lakes would improve the p-values? Strengthen the regressions? My graduate degree is in ecology and evolution. I read and understood the paper which apparently few did. I don’t give a rat’s arse what fishermen experience – that is not a random or representative sampling. Is that the data you’d use?
I’m not at all a bitter person. I just get sick of people bashing science when they have no idea what they are talking about. Like you. You don’t know what the researchers are looking at, what questions they are asking. It would be absurd to include the Great Lakes in such a study – they are vastly different ecosystems. I’ve seen your comments about scientists and science before, which makes it pretty ironic that you tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about.
If people can’t read this research without (validly) criticizing the methods or the conclusions they have no business judging the science behind climate change. It’s just thoughtless arrogance. Would you say you knew better than an oncologist how to treat lung cancer?
If you wanted a list of the lakes, I’m sure they’d be happy to send it to you.
I speak my mind, Sara, but I try not to insult people’s character, and I won’t stoop that low in this case. Funny, though, that you called me bitter.

Sara

Kristi, quoting you:: ‘absurd to include the Great Lakes’ ….
And yet, the paper itself says: including Ontario’s Great Lakes,” he said.
Obviously, you jumped into the pond without looking first.

Sara March 24, 2018 at 6:01 am
Kristi, quoting you:: ‘absurd to include the Great Lakes’ ….
And yet, the paper itself says: including Ontario’s Great Lakes,” he said.

Afraid not, the paper does not refer to the Great Lakes, Kristi is right.
Obviously, you jumped into the pond without looking first
That would be you Sara..

I didn’t know I was saving the world from climate change when I was pike fishing. Not to worry if the lake warms up enough the pike will go away and be replaced by pickerel.

Pop Piasa

The whole thing’s just a red herring anyway. 🙂

Kenji

(spoken in Jacques Cousteau’s voice) … Theeee plankton are dyyyying

Kenji

“Philippe took theee diving sub … to examine theee dyyyying plankton”

Rob

What climate change?

Bruce Cobb

Robusted. Next.

Martin457

Living in the path of waterfowl migration is a great way to get a new lake stocked for free. Invasive species come from many different paths.

John Bell

said McCann. “There’s a looming threat of loss of species.”
==There is always some future threat, a scare that might happen, if their model is right, maybe the scare mongers are on to something, need more grants!

ResourceGuy

Fishing for a publication to count for promotion and tenure is part of the climate change landscape. Follow the rules of the volume-based publication system for fun and fortune….with benefits.

Curious George

“Integrative Biology” at this point in its conceptual development has many different definitions (Ripoll et al., 1998; Wake, 2001). To some workers, it emphasizes multidisciplinary research (cross-disciplinary, transdisciplinary; including the incorporation of physics, chemistry, engineering, sociology, economics, etc., as appropriate). Multidisciplinarity for those scientists especially emphasizes the bringing together of researchers with different, but specific, areas of expertise to address particular questions.
[https://www.academic.oup.com/icb/article/43/2/239/609511]
As integrative biology strives to incorporate witchcraft in an effort to broaden its diversified base, this article is a perfect illustrations of possibilities that are now open.

Hmm, so exactly why is it that bass get larger and more abundant as you move to warmer climes? A prize keeper in Minnesota is an average fish in Florida and Texas… Of course, the first clue of an invalid study is any claim of ’empirical observations’ in a model.

Kristi Silber

The model used is not a predictive model, it explains the relationships among observed, measured, quantified, empirical variables. Multivariate statistics are often called models.
Your assessment of this “invalid” study is invalid. That’s what happens when you make assumptions and jump on the bandwagon of disdain and ridicule – you risk showing your lack of knowledge. Jeez, say the word “model” and everyone goes stark raving mad.

littlepeaks

I believe that it would be statistically impossible, but I wonder if anyone has ever attempted to analyze the statistical probability of “global warming” causing so many negative consequences and so few positive consequences.

John harmsworth

I will say it once again. The AR5 report of the IPCC says that warming up to 1.8C is generally beneficial for the planet.
It also does not say that 1.9C is catastrophic.
What are we worried about exactly? Especially here in Canada. The second coldest country IN THE WORLD!

MarkW

I believe what it said was that since the warming of the MWP was about 1.8C and is recognized as being beneficial, they assume that if the world warms 1.8C again, it will be assumed that it will once again be beneficial.
Beyond 1.8C they don’t know since those are “uncharted waters”.
Form that, a bunch of activists have decided that anything over 1.8C must be bad.

RiHo08

“so-called big data can help detect patterns in complicated ecosystems and how precision agriculture – including more targeted use of crop fertilizers — may lessen pollutants entering lakes and streams.”
Whoops. They speak of fertilizer runoff which results in algae blooms that starve a lake bottom of oxygen which kill the fish. This ain’t climate change.
Growing up on Lake Erie, which apparently has been appropriated by Canada, observations before and during the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway, there were algae blooms in Eastern Lake Erie much as it is now. The nutrients for these blooms came from Detroit which sent its incompletely treated waste into the Detroit River emptying into Lake Erie. Waste water treatment improved and the algae blooms decreased as did the fish die offs. With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway came ballast water discharge from ocean going ships delivering the lamprey eel which decimated the lake trout and other large predatory lake fish. Ballast water discharge also brought the Adelwise (sp), a fish which grew rapidly in population, and, when its 5 year life cycle was completed resulted in a die off which clogged beachfront properties. The solution was to introduce a species of fish that would eat this invasive fish; behold the engineered CoHo Salmon. Problem solved for sport fishing. However, after a number of years, more and more algae blooms, also in Eastern Lake Erie was evident which miraculously resolved itself by another ballast water discharge immigrant, the Zebra muscle. The Zebra muscle went to work on their food of choice: algae and again the waters of the Great Lakes, including the Canadian Lake Erie became pristine clear. Then the rains of the last decade flushed newly applied farm and lawn fertilizer into the rivers resulting in algae blooms again.
There you have it. No change in temperature (nor climate) needed to describe the ebb and flow of algae blooms in the Canadian Lake Erie.

curly

Good summary RiHo08. Brought back memories of living in Michigan near Lake St Clair. The “Adelwise” is the Alewife, an introduced species as you describe. Coho salmon were introduced to the lakes and then Chinook (King) salmon were introduced. Both like to eat Alewife. And of course, now that the Alewife population has decreased, it’s become “a crisis” and putting the introduced Chinook at risk because their introduced food supply is “in danger of crashing”. Always a crisis somewhere.
There are several fish hatcheries in Michigan alone, and stock the lakes and rivers with millions of fish (100s of tons, 10s of species) yearly.
On positive notes, the native Lake Trout population is getting healthier and starting to grow. Apparently Alewife are junk food for Lake Trout and result in unhealthy eggs and weak young fish, and now that they’re eating better, the population is growing.
And even the native remnant Lake Sturgeon population has stabilized and is growing.

BallBounces

“Lakes, rivers and streams cover less than one per cent of Earth’s surface but provide 12 per cent of human fish consumption”. This is a very odd statement.

Rainer Bensch

This statement alone should induce doubt about that they know what they are talking about.

John harmsworth

By the way- we are having a blizzard today. Almost whiteout conditions. The record cold day for this date was 1974 at -34.4C and the warmest was 1910 at +24.4C. Today we are happily in the middle at -1C but getting a half a foot of snow with high winds.
Which of those numbers should have been used in 1974 or 1910 to predict today’s weather?

tom0mason

This new brand of science should be viewed much as René Magritte brought to the art world, with his now infamous painting “This is not a Pipe”. Indeed in this ‘new science’ a similar line as Michel Foucault’s essay, This is not a Pipe, can be used to uncover the new science’s inner true meaning, and perceive by floating above all the tiresome ‘thisness’ to render a greater universal holistic beauty.

JimG1

“This book (paper) fills a much-needed gap.”
– Moses Hadas (1900-1966) in a review

For many years my family had a cabin in central Ontario on a decent sized lake (7 miles long by about 1 mile wide). Main predator species were lake trout and small mouth bass. Lake was over 100 feet deep in places, with many 20 foot deep bays. Few true shallows with weeds and lily pads. Main food species were crayfish, rock bass, and sunnies. We would go to the next decent sized lake down the dirt access road, main predator was northern pike because entire lake was shallow (20-30 feet max depth) with many weedy true shallows. Northern pike are ambush hunters in the weeds.
So don’t think much of anything meaningful can be concluded from a larger sample of such ecologically diverse lakes

Kristi Silber

You are all fools. This paper isn’t even about climate change. As far as I can tell, it’s mentioned once.
Anthony,
“There’s two important things missing from this paper:
“They cite degree days as the metric for climate change. In the real-world, while degree days do have a climatic component they are also a weather driven phenomenon. They fail to recognize this outside of their model.They assume that weather won’t change with changes in degree days.”
OK, tell me where this paper uses degree days as a metric for climate >>>change<<<. You do know, since you read the paper, that this is about current distribution, right? They say climate change and eutrophication have potential future impact, but they aren't predicting anything. Or are you seeing something I'm not?
"They assume no species adaptation to “climate change”, if fact the entire paper does not contain the words “adapt” or “adaptation”. That’s a fatal assumption.
What assumption? Why should the paper talk about adaptation? It would be extraneous and irrelevant to talk about evolution because absolutely no data were taken that might predict ability to adapt. They couldn't even say that the fish have adapted to the lakes they are in, since some of them likely came from elsewhere. The assumption is always that animals evolve. So what ?
As far as climate change goes, there will be a great diversity in rates at which different organisms will adapt. Fruit flies will adapt quickly. Elephants won't.
"In my opinion, this study is garbage, with the PR written as a climate headline grabber."
In my opinion, you aren't qualified to judge whether this study is garbage. That must be part of the formula, though: introduction, press release, abstract, and a grand finale of ridicule and dismissal so you can be sure your readers know what to think.
The PR headline and first paragraph are garbage. Don't judge a study by its PR- Anthony, you of all people should know that.
(I do appreciate being allowed to stay here and speak my mind, Anthony. I've learned a lot. You have some great resources on your site, and some interesting people. I just get really tired of all the vilification of scientists and dismissal of their work, as you have done. Your site is anti-science because it destroys trust. Without that, science is nothing, a waste, since it has no power to benefit anyone, and that's what it's for. To my mind the destruction of this trust is the most despicable thing the anti-AGW propagandists did. Some of the same PR people and contrarians worked for tobacco – do you really think they have people's best interests in mind?)

MarkW

Kristi sure does get cranky whenever her religion is challenged.

eyesonu

Maybe she’ll mellow in a week or so. But fun to watch from next door.

Kristi Silber

I’m cranky, yeah, but it’s not my religion any more that denial is yours, MarkW. The religion argument is trite and vulgar; it’s insulting to the faithful.
I was wrong to call everyone fools. I normally try to avoid that kind of thing.

eyesonu

From the vastly changing organisms department; some within a species change with the moon while others within the same species have adapted to keep their heads down between the first quarter and the full moon. Maybe governments can regulate the behavioral climate by understanding these changing lunar phase correlated behaviors and stymie any intra-species adaptations seeking an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
I may apply for grant funding to research this never before published observation connecting lunar phasing with behavior variations within a species.

ZThomm

The study uses degree days as proxy for climate in their illustrated model. You can’t miss it.

Sara

Nice way to start a conversation, Kristi Silver: “you are all fools”. Could you BE any more of a crankypants?
Oh, while I’m at it, using fruit flies as a comparison to elephants for adaptation rates is a false narrative. Here;s the reason:
Fruit flies have a gestational period (egg to larva) of 24 to 30 hours. They are insects.
Elephants have a gestational period of 22 months. They are mammals.
That’s not remotely a viable comparison or two organisms if you’re comparison if you’re talking about generation changes in DNA. You compare bioform to bioform within the same family, genus and species (if applicable). Your example is a falsehood.

Kristi Silber

You”re hilarious, Sara! Really, elephants are mammals? Golly! But Dumbo could fly!
Insects do not gestate. Nearly all lay eggs. Pretty basic biology, Sara.
It was my whole point, Sara, to compare vastly different organisms. What “false narrative”?
“As far as climate change goes, there will be a great diversity in rates at which different organisms will adapt. Fruit flies will adapt quickly. Elephants won’t.” Simple. A generalization, but probably a decent one – either that or elephants will go extinct. Who knows? Do you, Sara?

Sara

Wow, Kristi certainly has an enormous amount of anger towards anyone who has the nerve to dispute a shabby job of research like the posted paper, the subject of this column, because it’s science and we mere mortals obviously have no background in science at all.
This is a very false assumption since most of the people who post comments here are quite well-educated. Yes, practical, hands-on experience such as fishing in open waters like lakes and rivers is valid whether she likes it or not. There are plenty of people who keep journals when they hunt and fish regarding size and weight and condition of the animals taken.
I found it curious that Kristi says ‘I don’t insult people’ and also opens one of her comments with ‘you are all fools’. I see a serious disconnect there, especially when she had to wave her degrees at everyone. Most of the people who post comments here are quite well-educated, so her low opinion of US in general does not bear close scrutiny.

Kristi Silber

Sara or anyone else, I have no problems with people posting valid criticism of the science. My gripe is when people pass judgement without good basis. It doesn’t matter how educated someone is if they don’t understand the science behind a study but dismiss it as though they did. I don’t presume to have the same knowledge as a PhD in physics, so why should an engineer or geologist or meteorologist think think he knows interactions in lake communities better than a freshwater ecologist? It doesn’t matter how closely fishermen have kept track of their catch, they do not on that basis have the data or experience to justifiably trash this study.
Make some relevant criticism about the methods, or about the conclusions drawn from the results, and you have my attention, that’s great.
Heck, say anything you want.

tty

“Fruit flies will adapt quickly. Elephants won’t.”
Dubious at best. Generation length is not everything. As a matter of fact elephants are among the fastest-speciating mammals (for example check data in Kurténs “Pleistocene Mammals of Europe”) while insect species are extremely stable over time, at least morphologically. Insects in Paleogene amber are often indistinguishable from extant species.
Probably insects move rather than adapt to changes. While elephants are supremely adaptable. African elephants live in any environment from semi-desert to lowland rainforest.

Kristi Silber

There are 1579 described species of the fruit fly genus Drosophila.
Not all insects can cross the deserts that elephants can. They can get stuck in small populations separate from the rest, carried by a big storm or a bird.With They die out, or adapt. Elephants, as you point out, can survive in many environments. Some suggest that part of what enables them to live in deserts is their ability to learn, passing down knowledge from generation to generation. Savannah elephant populations may not be able to live in the desert, even though their DNA is not much different – but then, presumably they would have time to acclimate through learning in the case of climate change.
OK, poor example. Substitute some dumb, long-lived, low fertility animal. How about white rhinos? Panda bears? Tuataras? You know, something on the edge of extinction! Compare that with…oh…how about rabbits? 😉
The point is, some species would be able to adapt better than others.

Mark Luhman

I have a problem with the study in total. Those lakes did not exist 12,000 years ago. They were created due to natural climate change. If they add in that the ecosystem they study is less than 12,000 years old and is still changing today for a number of reason, humans are part of it. But add in changes from nutrients getting washed out of the relative new soil and glacial drift. Land changes by uplift recovery. Human introducing evasive species(OH by the way that the number one extinction event in the last 10,000 years and we are responsible for most of that!) If you have a lake that got trout in it good luck trout if some idiot throws a northern pike into that water. I highly doubt the educated moron of this study understand any of that.

Kristi Silber

“I highly doubt the educated moron of this study understand any of that.”
Why? Why don’t you think they wouldn’t understand the most obvious, basic ecology of the system they study?
Do you think education makes you a moron, is that it? Once you get that PhD it knocks off a few dozen IQ points?

Kristi you are obviously a believer in the sham of AGW that clouds your thought processes in one direction. History gives us all a better understanding of many things, especially the climate the pilgrims the founding fathers of America arrived during the L.I.A. the local indians helped keep them alive with food. It has warmed a bit since but we still have a way to go to get back to the Roman warm period.
The old Roman soldiers were allowed to retire gracefully into nice towns some have been found in desert country that was back then lush and forested only a couple of thousand years ago, it got cold again and the area turned to desert, I ask why is cold better when history from all around the world shows warm is better and occurs naturally.
That is why many on this site find you rather silly.

tty

“Why don’t you think they wouldn’t understand the most obvious, basic ecology of the system they study?”
Because the paper does not even mention the words “history”, “biogeography”, “immigration” or “colonization”.

Kristi Silber

tty – Do you judge the quality of research by the terms used? Or did you miss the methods? You realize, I’m sure, that the researchers wanted to explore within-lake ecological effects, not biogeographic signals.
“Further, regional impacts on local richness can be significant, potentially overwhelming finer scale abiotic and biotic processes on community assembly in ways that can be difficult to test4,25. In our system, however, these processes relating to latitudinal isolation and dispersal limitation are thought to be influential but secondary relative to local factors40 and weaker than typical for lake systems globally25,26,27. The main reason reflects long-term dispersal dynamics. Following glacial retreat in the late Pleistocene, many Ontario rivers initially flowed north before eventually shifting south, such that all of our targeted species dispersed and occur across all or most of the latitudinal gradient at least to the extent of their temperature thresholds (e.g., warm-water fish such as large-mouth bass are absent in the most northerly lakes). A second reason reflects the likely homogenizing influence of introductions of native species by humans over the last century”….etc.

Mjw

“All lakes have big predators, and predators always kill lots of fish that they consume,”
As opposed to the one they consume without killing them.

BallBounces

Add a comma and swap out that for which and Bob’s your uncle.

“Lakes, rivers and streams cover less than one per cent of Earth’s surface but provide 12 per cent of human fish consumption, MacDougall said.” But the sizes of rivers and lakes are measured by their water quantity, not their surface area, which is rather irrelevant.

Michael Kelly

“The data were collected through Ontario’s BsM program and are available upon reasonable request …”
I wonder what constitutes an unreasonable request. One, perhaps, that comes from a “denier”?

Tom Judd

“All lakes have big predators, and predators always kill lots of fish that they consume,” said MacDougall.
Duh.

R.de Haan

Frozen Storks pose a bigger threat to predator fish than Climate Change (LOL)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/21/frozen-storks-bulgarians-rush-to-save-migrating-birds

tty

I’ve read the paper now, and it is a weird, almost surrealistic experience, because nowhere do they even mention the most important factor affecting fish species richness, history.
These lakes are in Ontario, meaning they were all glaciated about 12,000 years ago, and started out without any fish at all. All the fish have colonized the lakes since that time. Now fish have a serious problem as colonizers, they can only live in water, and only in fresh or slightly brackish water for most species that occur in lakes. About the only exceptions are cases where roe is involuntarily transported by waterbirds (rare, and only over fairly short distances) or where people deliberately stock lakes with new species (another exception is eels that can actually move short distances on land).
So what species occur in which lakes very largely depends on what water connections each particular lake has had since the last ice-age, and that there were no impassable rapids or falls in these connections. All other factors are subordinate to that.
However working that out requires extensive geological/historical research for each lake and water system and it most definitely cannot be computer-modelled. The odd thing is that several of the references in the paper are concerned with this, but apparently it was deliberately ignored.
In all this paper is a beautiful example of modelling-madness.

tty March 24, 2018 at 3:01 am
I’ve read the paper now, and it is a weird, almost surrealistic experience, because nowhere do they even mention the most important factor affecting fish species richness, history.

Missed this apparently?
“In our system, however, these processes relating to latitudinal isolation and dispersal limitation are thought to be influential but secondary relative to local factors40 and weaker than typical for lake systems globally25,26,27. The main reason reflects long-term dispersal dynamics. Following glacial retreat in the late Pleistocene, many Ontario rivers initially flowed north before eventually shifting south, such that all of our targeted species dispersed and occur across all or most of the latitudinal gradient at least to the extent of their temperature thresholds (e.g., warm-water fish such as large-mouth bass are absent in the most northerly lakes).”

Kristi Silber

tty, This focus away from biogegraphic effects intentional. Although there are some biogeographic influences, they are not so strong that they mask the biotic and abiotic factors within the lakes that the researchers are studying.
The model they use is perfectly legitimate and appropriate for the purpose. Many statistical treatments can be seen as models, and the term is commonly used – even if you calculate the statistic by hand.
“However working that out requires extensive geological/historical research for each lake and water system and it most definitely cannot be computer-modelled. ”
This most definitely would be computer modeled! There is no other way to deal with multi-factor, spatial data in a quantitative way. How else would you propose to do it?

David J Wendt

Can anyone point me toward a precise definition of what “richness” means in regard to fish populations? I assume it is a term of art in the biology and ecology trade, but I’m not familiar with it.

Kristi Silber

Richness is the number of species present. It is a component of species diversity, which technically reflects not just richness, but relative abundance (evenness). A community with 5 of fish A, 3 of B, 5 of C and 7 of D would have the same richness but higher evenness than 16/A ,2/B, 1/C and 3/D.

David J Wendt

I don’t see any indication that they screened their selection of lakes for stocking activities by Fish and Game authorities. Given the focus on species ratios it would seem to me to a question that needed to be addressed. I may have missed it, if so I hope some one will point me in the right direction.