Ocean Acidification Effects Research in Doubt

News Report by Kip Hansen – 7 May 2021

The unfortunately named “Ocean Acidification” (OA) has hit the news again – and not in a good way.  Much of the research reporting adverse effects of  OA on fish has come out of Australia’s James Cook University, 50%  of it (43 out of 85 major papers) from the lab team headed by Philip Munday.  OA research is hot topic research, as it relates to CO2 emissions, fossil fuel use, coral reefs and climate change.  There are allegations of fraud.

If you are not familiar with what OA is and the controversies surrounding it, you can read my earlier essays on the topic:  here, here, here, here, here and a bit in this one.

Note:  I say “unfortunately named ‘Ocean Acidification’” because the name might  cause some people to think, just because of the name, that the ocean might be or become acidic, neither of which is the case.

Many readers are already familiar with another infamous case involving an academic whistleblower and James Cook University and the very same ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.  It is  the ongoing Peter Ridd story, which Peter reports will be going to the Australian High Court (their equivalent of the US Supreme Court) in June.

Science Magazine carried the whole story here: Does ocean acidification alter fish behavior? Fraud allegations create a sea of doubt”  by Martin Enserink.  The quotes below are from this article.

“Munday has co-authored more than 250 papers and drawn scores of aspiring scientists to Townsville, a mecca of marine biology on Australia’s northeastern coast. He is best known for pioneering work on the effects of the oceans’ changing chemistry on fish, part of it carried out with Danielle Dixson, a U.S. biologist who obtained her Ph.D. under Munday’s supervision in 2012 and has since become a successful lab head at the University of Delaware (UD), Lewes.

In 2009, Munday and Dixson began to publish evidence that ocean acidification—a knock-on effect of the rising carbon dioxide (CO2) level in Earth’s atmosphere—has a range of striking effects on fish behavior, such as making them bolder and steering them toward chemicals produced by their predators. As one journalist covering the research put it, “Ocean acidification can mess with a fish’s mind.” The findings, included in a 2014 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), could ultimately have “profound consequences for marine diversity” and fisheries, Munday and Dixson warned.”

And the effects they found were striking —

Munday and Dixson often found unusually large effects from ocean acidification. In the PNAS paper, for example, the time orange clownfish spent on the foul-smelling side of the flume went from 0% to 80%. In a 2010 study in Ecology Letters, clownfish larvae reared in normal ocean water completely avoided chemical cues of two predator species, the small rockcod and the dottyback, but in more acidic water they spent 100% of their time around those predators’ scents—a “fatal attraction,” the authors said. A 2013 paper in Marine Biology reported that coral trout, an economically important species, became 90 times more active at a high CO2 level.

Now, after three years of research, another team of scientists are saying that those effects are not only unusually large, they are, putting it mildly, far too large to be believed. 

But their [Munday, Dixson, et al.] work has come under attack. In January 2020, a group of seven young scientists, led by fish physiologist Timothy Clark of Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, published a Nature paper reporting that in a massive, 3-year study, they didn’t see these dramatic effects of acidification on fish behavior at all.

. . . . .

Clark says when he “started to read Dixson’s and Munday’s ocean acidification papers—and was struck by the large effect sizes. ‘I thought they were some of the most phenomenal findings in the whole discipline of biology,’ he says. He set out to Lizard Island to repeat the work with predator cues, thinking he could unravel the physiology behind the phenomenon.”

But he didn’t get the same results at all. Placed in the flume, fish would start to explore their surroundings, but they rarely had the strong preference for one side or the other that Dixson and Munday reported, and amping up the CO2 did not make a difference. Some fish were “terrified,” and didn’t move at all, says Fredrik Jutfelt of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who joined Clark for a season on Lizard Island in 2014, along with Sundin and several other scientists. “They’re taken out of their environment and placed in a highly unnatural situation,” Jutfelt says.

Munday has acknowledged some errors in the data sets used in some of the papers and promised “corrections” – blaming the errors on hand-transcription of data.    Dixon defended her work saying “I stand by the papers that we’ve published. … The data was collected with integrity. I mean, I preach that to my students.”  However, doubts about the work of Munday’s OA team at JCU are increasing being aired by other researchers, some of them  from Munday and Dixon’s own team. 

“In January 2020, Nature published the Clark team’s findings: Elevated CO2 levels in water had a “negligible” effect on fish’s attraction to chemical cues from predators, their activity levels, and “lateralization”—their tendency to favor their left or right side in some behaviors. Based on a statistical procedure called a bootstrapping simulation, the team reported that Munday’s and Dixson’s data on chemical signal preference had a “0 out of 10,000” chance of being real. They left it to the reader to decide what to think about this.” [ source ]

In 2017, another alumni of Munday’s lab, Oona Lönnstedt, had a paper retracted after Clark, Jutfeld and others filed a compliant.  The paper Environmentally relevant concentrations of microplastic particles influence larval fish ecology”, had been published in June 2016 in the journal Science.  RetractionWatch covered that story here.

This latest JCU/ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies flap has yet to play out.  Several things are certain:  JCU will defend and deny, JCU and the researchers involved, along with many other academics, will attack the whistleblowers for, well, blowing the whistle on suspected poor/bad/faked research.

This is another “time will tell” story and  as investigations are done [if – there will be attempts to block any meaningful investigation]  and findings are issued, I’ll try to cover it here at WUWT. 

# # # # #

Author’s Comment:

Scientific integrity is hard to maintain in today’s Publish-or-Perish academic climate.  Dr. Judith Curry has written quite a bit about this type of problem and the biases it introduces into research findings.  John P. A. Ioannidis has as well.  The need to publish is exacerbated by the need to have new and exciting findings in order to get published in the leading journals. 

I don’t know what the outcome of the fishy OA studies investigations will be but from my own study of the research (see some of my essays here) I don’t think the JCU/Munday/Dixon studies will hold. 

A shame that an entire field of study will have been held back and misled for so many years by shoddy “got to get a big result” research. 

Address comments to “Kip…” if you want me to see them.

Thanks for reading.

# # # # #

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Tom Halla
May 7, 2021 6:44 pm

I rather cynically predict that any investigation will turn out like University of Pennsylvania’s “investigation” of Michael Mann, or the Climategate investigations. “Nothing to see here, move along”.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 7, 2021 7:35 pm

I believe you mean Penn State.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Doug Ward
May 7, 2021 7:36 pm

My bad

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Doug Ward
May 7, 2021 8:29 pm

The State Pen serves as well, as now confirmed by the judge in Ball vs. Mann.

May 7, 2021 6:51 pm

The problem here is quite simple. In all cases of oceanic water the water is buffered towards alkaline. The original tests that these idiots keep referencing were done on phials of water that were corked with CORK and then shipped up to a year through the mail before they were tested… any evaporation of water would bias those samples towards alkaline and the method of containment and shipment of the samples wasn’t even as tight as a whiskey barrel. The angel’s share would always make the samples more alkaline.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 8, 2021 12:24 am

The original baseline studies from around the globe over 100 years ago transported many samples by mail service back to labs in Europe. Those baselines that they’re using to claim that the ocean has become more acidic since then.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Prjindigo
May 8, 2021 4:59 am

Ah, hah! Good point. The baseline is suspect!

I’ve never seen this point raised before.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Prjindigo
May 8, 2021 11:36 am

I was of the impression that the historical measurements had been rejected in favor of a computer model. After all what could go wrong with a computer model?

Reply to  Prjindigo
May 8, 2021 5:06 am

Pr, the biggest trick is you can’t make the “ocean” acidic until you deplete all the buffer…
they bubble CO2 into it long enough to deplete the buffer first….then the pH drops

…problem with their little scam….the ocean will never run out of buffer

Reply to  Latitude
May 8, 2021 8:18 am

” the oceans will acidify when the earth runs out of rock”
Ian Plimer
Global Warming, The Missing Science

God book, for me an education.

Reply to  Prjindigo
May 8, 2021 8:08 am

I have come to believe that Ocean Acidification fundamentally RELIES on putting the “cart before the horse”.

The assumption is that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is absorbed by the oceans, making them more acidic.

However, if you adhere to the school of thought that increasing temperature warms the oceans and this outgasses carbon dioxide (and that the anthropogenic component is dwarfed by ocean outgassing), then in reality, the phenomenon that is really going on is OCEAN BASIFICATION.

So, maybe they have the leads of their pH Meters reversed? (lol)

*And to add to your observation, think about how sparse the temperature record was 100 years ago. And all that was required was to read a thermometer. The idea that we have a reliable pH record of the world’s oceans is simply absurd. Beckman patented the first pH meter in 1934 in the midst of the Great Depression, which was followed by World War II and the Cold War. And the environmental era didn’t take off until Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, in 1962, with EPA coming into existence in 1973. So, the fact there exists a reliable long term ocean pH record is laughable.

May 7, 2021 7:31 pm

These perpetrators already knew that the CO2 to ocean acidity thing is nonsense.
The staff at AIMS (Australian Institute of Marine Science, just down the coast from here at Cape Ferguson), grudgingly, went to look at the seas around Dobu Island in the Trobriands, part of the Milne Bay province of PNG. This was following prompting occasioned by the link below, from 2008.
Apparently, the only response they made was “we didn’t like what we saw.”
What they saw was a continual, ubiquitous, stream of bubbles rising from the seabed that is almost neat CO2. Dobu is right over the Ring of Fire. If any sea is saturated, it is this one. Corals, fish, sea-grass, all thriving. There are numerous fumaroles in the area, and those also have life-forms thriving in their vicinity.
If any of us in private enterprise did something on this scale, we would be up on charges, barred from directorships etc.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Martin Clark
May 7, 2021 8:12 pm

Most fish and corals evolved when CO2 concentrations were probably at least 8-10 times higher than modern levels. They probably relish a little extra of the magic gas; just as we would respond to an elevated O2 environment!

Reply to  Abolition Man
May 8, 2021 2:49 am

“just as we would respond to an elevated O2 environment!”

Not so,
we are built for 21% O2; any more in a healthy body will shorten your life.

Oxygen toxicity – When an individual is exposed to high levels of oxygen for a short period of time, the initial manifestations are related to the central nervous system. These individuals may present with twitching of the muscles of the hand and the perioral region.
Continued exposure may lead to nausea, vertigo and may even lead to alteration in behavior and convulsions. If the exposure is prolonged, respiratory symptoms will begin to emerge. These symptoms include dyspnea, severe coughing and chest pain.

Oxygen is highly reactive & destroys cell walls …nasty stuff in the wrong dose.

Lurker Pete
Reply to  saveenergy
May 8, 2021 3:49 am

Oxygen toxicity generally only occurs if the O2 is served ~ 2 bars absolute pressure. ex RN Diver here, our max working depth for O2 is 10M but max depth for pure O2 is 18M in some cases. I’ve spent many hours breathing Pure O2 at 18M depth. We used it in theraputic decomression ~18M to aid rdding the body of excess N2 for DAYS at at time, also for recompression in CO poisoning cases which goes on for DAYS at a time.

Saying >21% O2 will shorten your life without qualification is highly inaccurate.

Reply to  Lurker Pete
May 8, 2021 6:33 am

An Israeli doctor is using a high pressure room with high O2 content to try to slow the human aging process….his patients spend an hour or two per day for a period of days and he reports good results.

Doubting Rich
Reply to  Anti-griff
May 8, 2021 5:20 pm

Do I remember from my childhood hearing that Michael Jackson used to sleep in an oxygen tent?

Abolition Man
Reply to  saveenergy
May 8, 2021 8:26 am

Hyper Baric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT) is used for a dozen approved conditions in addition to decompression illness. Many athletes and New Agers have been experimenting with it for a variety of reasons, justified or not. What I have heard from those who have tried it is a feeling of elation and higher strength and energy. I’m sure it can be abused to cause injury!

Doubting Rich
Reply to  saveenergy
May 8, 2021 5:19 pm

Evolution is considered pretty solid science by now.

Reply to  saveenergy
May 8, 2021 7:00 pm

All Project Mercury and Gemini astronauts flew in pure oxygen capsules, several for days at a time. What you’re saying seems doubtful to me.

Reply to  BobM
May 10, 2021 9:31 am

Yes, but it was low pressure, I believe set to match sea level partial pressure.

One major exception bit hard – on-pad testing was done in pure O2 at sealevel pressure and led to the catastrophic fire that killed the Apollo I astronauts, Chaffee, Grissom, and White.


IIRC, the soviets used normal air makeup at normal pressures.

Reply to  Martin Clark
May 8, 2021 8:59 am

Yes it would be interesting if the law required that published scientific claims had to be treated the same as prospectuses for investor disclosure.

That is – bulletin carries serious consequences.

Reply to  Mr.
May 8, 2021 11:37 am

bulletin bullshit carries serious consequences

Reply to  Martin Clark
May 8, 2021 11:55 pm

Yes it’s paradoxical but true that the same oxygen that burns fuel giving life, also burns tissues causing ageing and death.

Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
May 10, 2021 9:39 am

Too much of a good thing ceases to be a good thing. People have died responding to challenges to see who can drink the most water in a period of time.


Robert of Texas
May 7, 2021 7:36 pm

So…now we are “Acid Deniers”? because some of us never beleived this in the first place?

I must admit, if someone offers me anything labeled “ACID” I do tend to deny handling it, drinking it, or dumping it on any fish.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Robert of Texas
May 8, 2021 4:24 am

I read some while ago that just because sea water becomes fractionally less alkaline, it does NOT mean the seas are becoming acidic!!!! Yet again, the use of general ignorance is used against everyone in the hope that most would just accept it!!!

Reply to  Robert of Texas
May 8, 2021 7:49 am

Dude – the measurement scale used to determine if a substance is acidic is the pH scale. If a substance has a pH of less than 7.0 it is acidic If it has a pH greater than 7.0 it is basic. All of the world’s oceans and seas have a pH well above 7.0, meaning they are all basic and not acidic. Additionally, all of the seawater on the planet is buffered, meaning it contains ions in solution that prevent large changes in pH of seawater when acid forming compounds, such as carbon dioxide, are added to the seawater.

The correct scientific term for what these scientific fakers are trying to study would be “debasification”, not “acidification”. You cannot acidify a solution that is basic – you can only make it less basic.

The use of the extremely misleading term “ocean acidification” – a term explicitly used to scare people who don’t understand chemistry – is simply false. That is akin to asserting that making a positive real number smaller in magnitude is equivalent to “negafication” of that number – a totally meaningless term. Only a negative real number can be made more negative, and a positive real number can only be made more positive or less positive, but not negative.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Robert of Texas
May 8, 2021 11:43 am

But you probably don’t think twice about using acetic acid (aka vinegar) on a salad. Rain water typically has a pH of about 5.5, where -1 to 7 is defined as acidic.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 8, 2021 7:34 pm

And wine is typically pH 3-4, so nicely acidic, and if the pH were much higher, it would be likely to spoil and much lower and you’d have vinegar.

May 7, 2021 7:36 pm

i haven’t read the paper, probably won’t bother. Did they even measure the pH? If you’re going to fake the x-axis, might as well further save the GBR by faking the y-axis too.

May 7, 2021 7:40 pm

I like the way those rude Youngbloods revealed one paper detailing how an un-seemingly adverse preference under elevated CO2 turned out to be an artifact. The rate of flow in one plume was different than the other plume’s rate.

There was one water plume with a higher plume flow generating a current beyond the normal rate that the tested fish larvae could cope with. This resulted in one set of larvae getting blown away from the local with normal CO2.

And that disparity was written up to show that larvae would “prefer” where elevated CO2 presided; despite that water having adversity for the fish. Supposedly because well, the devil CO2 makes them do it (hat tip to US comedian Flip Wilson who repeatedly professed “the Devil made me do it!” back in the 1960s).

May 7, 2021 7:57 pm

Something smells fishy in these papers.

Abolition Man
May 7, 2021 8:03 pm

“OA can mess with a fish’s mind.”
Was this perhaps the projection of the urinalist after sampling the pharmacopeia that the researchers use regularly? I don’t know how someone who starts out to be a scientist can end up an activist or ideologue, but I suspect that drug use is often involved. Maybe they should be calling themselves the Electric Koolaid Ocean Acidification Test?
Thank you for shining the light into the dark corners of the Climastrology scam! Sunlight, parody and ridicule are bound to leave bruises and scars on the Cognoscenti of Doom! It couldn’t happen to more deserving folks! Justice for Peter Ridd!!

Reply to  Abolition Man
May 8, 2021 12:34 am

It’s more likely someone who starts out an activist or ideologue ends up being a “scientist” who uses their data to further their beliefs

Abolition Man
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 8, 2021 8:34 am

Ooooh, Oona! That takes a special kind of scientific mind to know what the data will be BEFORE conducting the experiment!
I used to figure out the results of my high school physics experiments and fudge my data to make my experimental technique look neater and more elegant; I wouldn’t have dared to try that in college, much less grad school!
I guess some people acquired greater certainty of rectitude as they grow older!

Reply to  Abolition Man
May 8, 2021 10:34 am

Ever hear of “dry lab”?

Joel O'Bryan
May 7, 2021 8:13 pm

Anyone with an ounce of solid college-level chemistry and biochemistry should realize this whole AO claim from increasing pCO2 as a biological effect is nothing but a scare-mongering scam.
It is mostly by PI’s in need of grants/funding, and then the rest of climate gravy train picks it up and then whips and flogs that OA horse for all they can get.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 7, 2021 10:55 pm

AO . or OA. you say tomaato, i say tomotto.
You all know what I mean.
My spelling and abbreviation bad.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 8, 2021 12:37 am

I received a great response a few days ago when I accidentally typed 1998 instead of 1988.

I was told, “CO2 causes fat fingers” or something similar.

Welcome to the fat finger club

Abolition Man
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 8, 2021 8:39 am

Just as long as it’s not the dreaded Old Timer’s Disease! I suffer occasional bouts where not even coffee seems to work! Maybe I should try covfefe instead!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 8, 2021 5:09 am

“this whole AO claim from increasing pCO2 as a biological effect is nothing but a scare-mongering scam. ”

Exactly right.

I usually skip reading articles about ocean “acidification”, except when Kip is writing about it. 🙂

Peta of Newark
May 7, 2021 9:52 pm

Those of a curious or investigative disposition might pause their daily ‘never better’ lives, (just for a moment, we wouldn’t want to miss even a single scintilla of better neverness), and wonder:

What was going on in the head/mind/between-the-ears of The Emperor?

Was he a spendthrift, hooked on power, glory and self promotion?
Nah, can’t think of any precedent there…..

Was he unhappy, lonely and needy of legions of fawning acolytes who would constantly shower him with politically correct mendacity
Nah, can’t think of any precedent there…..

Did he use his spending power to buy fawning friends and acolytes?
Nah, can’t think of any precedent there….

Had he bought into the faddish snake-oil idea that ‘The Mediterranean Diet’ was the way to health happiness and an extended lifetime of health, happiness and never betterness? .Including the use of Cannabis, Cocaine, MDMA, nicotine and caffiene- they certainly bring on feelings of happy never betterness

IOW: Was he addicted to sugar & alcohol, perfectly safe in the knowledge that it was good for him. Not least as the sugar itself told him that, but the sugar also told all his fawning and similarly addicted acolytes.

But, why would he be self-destructively addicted to anything – addiction is not intrinsic to any animal.
He surely wasn’t stressed or lonely, was he?
How could he be, – he was paying shedloads of money to buy friends, health & happiness and an endless parade of shiny new toys, all to ensure a stress-free life.

In the light of the Healthy Happy Mediterranean Diet and myriad similar dietary regimes, was his brain & body devoid of the micro-nutrients and trace-elements it needed to function (properly)?

In light of those ponderations, lets rephrase the first question….
Was anything going on in the head/mind/between-the-ears of The Emperor?

Thus, is anything going on inside the heads of his fawning friends?
If nothing is going on on the inside, what might happen on the outside?
e.g. In the ocean? or the sky?

Patrick MJD
May 7, 2021 10:08 pm

Any paper or research that is published by any university in Australia is to be greeted with suspicion. Most of it is not fit to line the bottom of bird cages.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 7, 2021 10:54 pm

Not quite – it was the Aussies further down under = ‘in January 2020, a group of seven young scientists, led by fish physiologist Timothy Clark of Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, published a Nature paper reporting that in a massive, 3-year study, they didn’t see these dramatic effects of acidification on fish behavior at all.
FINALLY – I’ve been testing the pH of ocean water with my chem students since 2006 (IT’S REMAINED ALKALINE OF COURSE) and was totally gob smacked with the claim;
of OA being used to promote climateageddon and was sick to my stomach that dodgy scientists could be paid with HARD EARNED tax payer money and get away with this – but the truth takes a long time to come sometimes – that section of JCU should be stripped of their funding and disbanded –

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Katie
May 7, 2021 11:00 pm

I bet you 10 Australian shekels Clark won’t at Deakin for long.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 8, 2021 6:11 am

I hope you are wrong! Clark and his lads started out expecting to be able to replicate the Munday/Dixson results and were surprised when no such thing happened. Then, instead of burying their results they decided to call Munday and Dixson on it! Good on them, this is how science is supposed to work.

Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
May 8, 2021 10:10 am

These days, pointing out that your colleagues are wrong is considered non-collegiate, and besides it damages the reputation of the entire scientific community.

It’s such a serious crime, that anyone who contradicts an activist has to be punished. And no, actual trials are no longer necessary.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MarkW
May 8, 2021 11:53 am

It is probably an improvement over settling disputes by dueling, which has happened in the past. Although, there are times I think that banning dueling led to a decline in civility.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
May 8, 2021 10:22 pm

We already have an example of how this works in Australia with the JCU and Peter Ridd.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Katie
May 8, 2021 6:07 am

Testing pH is so simple, I started doing this also when I first heard about the foolish notion that the oceans are becoming acidic. No surprise, hundreds of tests later, oceanic waters around the world are solidly alkaline, 8-8.3. Scripps was promoting this with huge aquaria in a basement lab, covered and flooded with CO2. Just because you can get your desired effect in the lab under unnatural conditions does not mean it is happening in the real world. But heavens forefend they would admit that they were not actually testing oceanic waters.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 8, 2021 8:44 am

Just as long as we still have the tar brush available for the guilty parties; along with a few pillows full of feathers and a rail to ride on the way out of town!

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 8, 2021 10:12 am

The fact that nobody is trying anything to correct this problem is enough to tar the rest of them.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  MarkW
May 8, 2021 9:42 pm

Skip the brushes.
Best to use hot tar, by the buckeful, and be done with it.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 8, 2021 11:58 am

Corporations and academic institutions often develop ‘personalities’ and cultural behavior that are unique to the organization. Once established, it is not unlike the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that take up residence in hospitals. It is difficult to remove, but absolutely necessary to achieve the original goals of the institution.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 8, 2021 7:46 pm

Kip – the Climate Change clique in Australia has always been on the shonky side and seems to attract the fabulists and frauds. James Cook and AIMS used to have good scientists, but they can’t compete for grants and promotions with the fraudsters. Once a few got into positions of power, it was all downhill from there.

The ARC has been similar, but I think it was really the Howard Government’s insistence on ‘accountability’ that politicised it. Sounds good and reasonable for public funds to be publicly accountable, but what actually resulted were politically imposed guidelines and goals for research and then came the Krudd years.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 8, 2021 9:12 am

I dunno, a couple of Aussie researchers enlightened the world about stomach ulcers (a much more realistic problem than CO2).

So there’s that. . .

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Mr.
May 8, 2021 10:30 pm

The article is about OA, a climate, CO2 driven topic. Medical science is a whole other beast. People can die from poor science, medications, advice etc etc (Actually people *ARE* dying from bad medicines and bad medical science, the COVID-19 vaccines for instance).

Harri Luuppala
May 7, 2021 10:44 pm

There seems to be an error in this article. It looks that you should not write that Dr Oona Lönnstedt was alumni of Munday lab!

Please recheck your source to that claim.
My Evidence:

  • JCU document mentioned professor Munday not Munday Lab


  • Munday lab in California if focusing Physics


Did I get it right?

May 7, 2021 11:07 pm

JCU/ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

Just the name of the institution tells you they are bullshitters from the outset. You do not call yourself a “centre of excellence” and hope that makes it true. That’s like giving someone a Nobel Peace Prize in the hope that it will force them to be “peaceful”.

Excellence is something you need to WORK to create and then hopefully gain a world wide reputation for. It does NOT come from putting a big sign at the entrance to the campus with “Centre of Excellence” written on it, in the hope it will trick people into believing you not a bunch of cynical con artists and politically motivated “activists” mascerading as scientists.

Reply to  Greg
May 8, 2021 1:39 am

“You do not call yourself a “centre of excellence”…”

They didn’t. It is a category of ARC funded sites, nationwide. I agree with you about the name, but it is a government thing.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 8, 2021 6:05 am

 “it is a government thing”
And that little statement right there says a lot.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 8, 2021 11:16 am

It’s a terrible government thing Nick, and academia accepted it in their perpetual quest for titles and taxpayer funded salaries. I had to do with another centre of excellence, in a different area of activity, but also Queensland based, and I was less than impressed.

May 7, 2021 11:10 pm

Well, that pretty much puts the flush handle down on JCU’s reputation.

May 7, 2021 11:24 pm

The study of the ability of the atmosphere to acidify the ocean should not overlook the ability of the ocean to acidify itself just as it had done in the PETM.


May 8, 2021 12:04 am

comment image

Hard corals and bivalves first appear in the fossil record in samples from Ordovician when atmospheric CO2 levels were somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 ppm depending on which source one believes. How can any so called scientist concentrating on studying corals and other reef life in their environment and declaring “ocean acidification” has a negative effect on such life claim not to know this?

Abolition Man
Reply to  rah
May 8, 2021 2:12 am

Thank you for using what has to be one of our best weapons in the battle to restore sanity! Even laypeople with little science background can look at that graph and see that there is NO correlation between CO2 and temps!
If I had my druthers, I’d carry a large, plastic coated copy of that and a few other charts around with me at all times for enlightening the benighted alarmists! Many would refuse to accept the data therein, as changing deeply held religious beliefs is a long arduous journey! But some would see, and those who can think would realize there is NO climate emergency; just a slight increase in a beneficial, life giving gas that has fallen to dangerously low levels!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  rah
May 8, 2021 5:12 am

Excellent comment, rah, and right on point.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
May 8, 2021 5:22 am

Thank you but I should have added that the Ordovician came after CO2 levels peaked about 2-3000 ppm higher 25 million years before during the Cambrian.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tom Abbott
May 8, 2021 9:59 am

Here is another one:

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 8, 2021 10:06 am

And some others that are highly illustrative:

CO2 and Temp, paleo.PNG
May 8, 2021 12:25 am

Read a French train workers blog. Or a medical or biomedical twitter feed. It’s the same thing!

These people aren’t simply dishonest, insulting, cheating, they are at war with us. They despise us. They think we the general public are know nothing about the state of things. They think of us as they 0.01% richest capitalists.

May 8, 2021 1:04 am

Mabe JCU was getting too much of the research funding pie so the boys and girls at deakin wanted to even up the playing field. 😉

At some point if you know your competition is getting a lot of $$$ and you have the cards to call their bluff you might consider it.

Just need to try and not score an own goal at the same time, knowing the foundations of the whole game is built on sand.

At some point the every Ponzi scheme collapses when the new money stalls. Post Covid with countries trying to deal with real issues, we may just see that squeeze.

High Treason
May 8, 2021 1:28 am

Never let the facts get in the way of a good scare campaign.

May 8, 2021 2:50 am

The alarmists at JCU would do well to lay off the acid.

It can mess up their minds. If it hasn’t done so already.

May 8, 2021 4:33 am

Still awaiting for approval?

Joseph Zorzin
May 8, 2021 4:47 am

“Ocean acidification can mess with a fish’s mind.”

wow, that’s scary- fish on acid!

May 8, 2021 5:07 am

Kip Hansen, I am flabbergasted that oldschool, real science just don’t take a short-cut here:

Ocean acidification is alleged to stem from the chemical reaction CO2+H2O+Co3– converts to 2H2CO3-


This is “kitchen calculations” playing with reactions which DOES NOT HAPPEN as it would cost to much energy for these reaction to happen. (The chemical reaction is CO2+H2O converts to H2CO3 converts to HCO3- and CO3– shedding H+)

HCO3- and CO3– are carbonate alkalinity products (Total Alkalinity) buffers against acidification. The HCO3- fraction is 90% of the carbonate alkalinity species and herein lies the clue:

As the pH of a HCO3- buffered ocean is 8.1 to 8.2 (-ish, also depending on salt and temperature), noaa.gov can not reduce the pH by strengtening the buffer.


Reply to  Oddgeir
May 8, 2021 6:38 am

Water chemistry isn’t their forte. Did they even do a basic hardness check?

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 9, 2021 11:34 am

Kip Hansen, thanks for your reply.

Nice paper and links. What I am worried about and perhaps you could inquire if you still have Chris as a contact:

Many laboratory tests are performed on artificial seawater. How many of the papers used artificial seawater to test the carbonate chemistry?

Reason for my laboratory produced seawater concern: It is not a live, contaminated seawater, it is a dead, de-contaminated, possibly deionized i.e.destilled water based sterile BRINE.

Which for chemical analysiz should behave much like (deionised, destilled) freshwater.


A nugget:

“For example, the addition of 1 μmol kg−1 HCl to distilled water at pH 7 reduces the pH to very close to 6. The same addition to seawater at pH 7 and ΣCO2 = 2000 μmol kg−1 at T=15°C and S=35 only reduces the pH to 6.997. The seawater pH buffer is mainly a result of the capacity of CO3−− and HCO3− ions to accept protons.”


Reply to  Oddgeir
May 8, 2021 12:56 pm

Precisely. The clowns who published this dreck have never heard of buffering. Sea water is strongly buffered to pH 8.3 or thereabouts by carbonate and bicarbonate.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 8, 2021 3:44 pm

Thanks. Could you post a link?

Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 9, 2021 9:05 am


May 8, 2021 5:32 am

How long is it going to be “awaiting for approval”?

(I have checked the board, there are NO posts in your name to approve) SUNMOD

Pamela Matlack-Klein
May 8, 2021 6:20 am

Kip I picked up this article from Retraction Watch and was delighted to see that not everyone is willing to sacrifice their integrity to play along with the CAGW game. Here’s hoping we will see a lot more from Timothy Clark and his team. It looks like Munday and Dixson got caught and are now tap-dancing in an attempt to pull their cookies out of the fire. Munday is retired and can quietly slink away but Dixson is still working – if you can call deliberate falsification of data actually “working.”

May 8, 2021 6:51 am

In other related news, I read about the man made restoration of the world class coral reef of Belize which was damaged severely by a hurricane….after some trial and error, the reef was substantially restored in 10 years while a nearby section that was left to nature is still lagging behind….the article complained about zero emissions being needed or even worse storms and climate warming would still kill the coral….must be 9 years away?

Reply to  Anti-griff
May 8, 2021 9:27 am

To observe what levels of destruction corals can overcome, look no further than the Bikini Island lagoon.
Obliterated in 1950s a-bomb testing, regrown to former size 60 years later.

Reply to  Mr.
May 8, 2021 10:18 am

Everybody knows that mutants have exceptional growth rates. Just look at Godzilla.

Reply to  MarkW
May 8, 2021 11:00 am

And remember this one?

Reply to  MarkW
May 8, 2021 11:39 am

And Ninja Turtles!

John Kelly
May 8, 2021 8:01 am

If the allegations are found to be true of substantially true then a complete external audit of all JCU’s research programmes should be required by the Australian Government.

May 8, 2021 9:26 am

As Algore’s famous graphs show, a warming earth (with eventually warming oceans) has atmospheric CO2 rising to 4000+ ppm and a cooling earth corresponds to CO2 receding to the low hundreds. Oceans, like all CO2-infused liquids, expel CO2 as they warm. How are we supposed to believe that increasing atmospheric CO2 simultaneously warms the earth (oceans) while increasing H2CO3 in the oceans? Ain’t gonna happen!

May 8, 2021 9:52 am

How can a trace amount of CO2 in the atmosphere so deeply effect the ocean waters PH level where 99% of the free CO2 of the planet already abounding in the waters?

It makes no sense to me.

May 8, 2021 10:47 am

1. Purple jelly beans cause cancer.
2. Jelly beans don’t cause cancer.

Which paper will get published? Which paper will not?

3. Dog bites man.
4. Man bites dog.

Same problem with the news. Story 3 is not news. Story 4 will have people in streets armed with torches and pitchforks, looking to lynch someone.

Reply to  Ferdberple
May 8, 2021 11:46 am

Story 4 will have people antifa and BLM in the streets armed with torches and pitchforks AR15s and Molotov cocktails, looking to lynch bludgeon someone bystanders.

Clyde Spencer
May 8, 2021 11:33 am

One possible beneficial outcome of this is that people might come to associate the fishy OA with bad science.

Rod Evans
May 8, 2021 3:20 pm

You just couldn’t make this schist up….well it turns out you can, providing you get a government grant to do it.

May 8, 2021 10:37 pm

” the Australian High Court (their equivalent of the US Supreme Court) “

I thought it was the other way round. The US Supreme Court is the American equivalent of the Australian High Court.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  RoHa
May 9, 2021 9:55 am

Which came first?

May 9, 2021 12:02 am

This JCU fake data fiasco comes just in time for Peter Ridd’s showdown with JCU in Australia’s supreme court.

May 9, 2021 2:07 am

“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is,it doesn’t matter how smart you are.If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”- Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard P.Feynman

May 9, 2021 4:34 am

It is estimated by many scientific sources that the oceans have about 50 times more CO2 in them than is in the atmosphere.
Therefore I would reason that if ALL the atmospheric CO2 was dissolved in the oceans (in defiance of Henry’s Law), the overall increase in ocean CO2 would barely rise. Now given that the the pH scale is logarithmic and that CO2 only forms a weak acid in water, the increased CO2 causing a lowing of oceanic pH would be difficult to reliably measured as it would be quite a small change.
Of course all of this is questionable as the oceans contain (and can easily renew) much buffering ions that would prevent any rapid change to anything but a basic (pH above 7.0) solution.

May 9, 2021 6:33 am

Kip, was “(see some of my essays here)” intended to contain a link?

May 9, 2021 3:12 pm

Is this the one where they faked the clownfish photos ?

another ian
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 15, 2021 2:30 pm


IIRC this one

In 2017, another alumni of Munday’s lab, Oona Lönnstedt, had a paper retracted “

May 10, 2021 7:28 am

Somehow I don’t think this will register with the new panel cleaning up science and politics. It’s another Mann panel coming.

New White House panel aims to separate science, politics – ABC News (go.com)

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