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Scientists Allay Fears around Global Jellyfish Boom

Submitted by Pierrot Durand on Tue, 01/01/2013 - 07:03

Of late, there has been a lot said about rising jellyfish population but researchers have rejected these reports. Though there could be rise in local population, there is no indication that there is any global increase in jelly fish over the past two centuries.

It has been claimed by a team, including Cathy Lu-cas of the Uni-vers-ity of South-amp-ton in the U. K. that though there is need to track down the population, slew of reports sending alarms is baseless. It has also been said that there is rise and falls seen in jellyfish population in 20 years and so, thus there is nothing much to worry about globally, as per the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

There has been rise seen in the 1990s and early 2000s, and that's what seems to be have instigated the popular belief around a global increase in jellyfish population.

http://frenchtribune.com/teneur/1315215-scientists-allay-fea...


Some previous discussion.

http://boards.fool.com/climate-change-impacts-diana-nyad-302...

http://boards.fool.com/jellyfish-at-least-like-the-new-ocean...

Peter
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Scientists Allay Fears around Global Jellyfish Boom

Wait a minute. That cannot be right.

What happened to the worldwide conspiracy of scientists to instigate massive fear about global warming so that they can launch a massive international crash program costing trillions of dollars and advancing the cause of socialism? Huh?

If we want to be successful with this worldwide conspiracy thing, then we need to be consistent about it. We need an immediate transfer of a trillion dollars from the US to the Third World, administered by a special United Nations Agency for the Defeat of Jellyfish and the Advancement of Socialism (UNADJAS).

We can't go around allaying fears. That would undermine the revolution!

LC
(disgusted)
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Maybe someone is fanally wiping the brown off their nose and earning their grant money honestly.
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Wadigo: <I/> Maybe someone is fanally [sic] wiping the brown off their nose and earning their grant money honestly.

Hmmm. Are you trying to insult me personally, or just the entire class of research scientists?

Are you aware that research grants in the sciences are awarded by juries composed of other scientists? It is hard to brown-nose an ad hod committee of your peers -- have you ever tried? For their part, agency administrators have no say in the scoring of applications. Only the few top scoring applications are funded.

An NSF grant in atmospheric sciences ordinarily cannot pay more than two months of an academic summer salary per year, by NSF policy. My current grant pays only one month per year, for two years. Nobody gets rich on these things.

Loren
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Oh wow, global warming alarmists created the jelly fish scare and now they shut it down 10 years later. Sorta, I'm betting it comes back.
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spineless creatures AND Jellyfish in the same thread.....................
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What happened to the worldwide conspiracy of scientists...

Loren, hopefully now that you've recovered, the issue is more one of fitting data into ones preconceptions (Kuhn's paradigms and all that) and jumping to premature conclusions.

From the University of Southampton press release:

www.alphagalileo.org/Organisations/ViewItem.aspx?Organisatio...
"To date, media and scientific opinion for the current perception of a global increase in jellyfish was evidenced by a few local and regional case studies. Although there are areas where jellyfish have increased; the situation with the Giant Jellyfish in Japan and parts of the Mediterranean are classic examples, there are also areas where jellyfish numbers have remained stable, fluctuated over decadal periods, or actually decreased over time.

"Increased speculation and discrepancies about current and future jellyfish blooms by the media and in climate and science reports formed the motivation for the study."

DB2
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DB2: the issue is more one of fitting data into ones preconceptions (Kuhn's paradigms and all that) and jumping to premature conclusions...

The issue as I understand it is much narrower. Is there ANY scientific report, paper, or article about jellyfish, in the last twenty years, that could be construed as instigating or inciting alarm or panic about global warming? I happily admit that I do not follow the jellyfish literature -- I remain almost entirely ignorant on the subject -- but my bet would be NO: there have been no such scientific reports. If someone finds one, please let me know.

AFAIK, all the alarm over jellyfish emanated from journalists and bloggers, not from climate scientists. Am I wrong?

Loren
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No Loren, I think there are none. I did a search and found yards of blather but no scientific peer-reviewed reports.

One of my dearest friends on Mallorca, Margarita, the first Mallorquin to acknowledge my existence and respond to my "Bon Día" and tip of the hat with a laughing "Bon Día, Caballero" from her sunlit rocking chair, while persuaded that climate change was real and obvious over her century long lifetime, cacklingly observed that the island's current "plague of jellyfish" was just one of those recurring things that comes and goes but that fisherman past and tourists present all hate and blame on "devilish unbelievers, evil priests, dirty women, oily motorboats, and especially all things new...."

She also claimed that thinking was hard to do, cruelly persecuted, and probably not worth the effort.

david fb
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spineless creatures

You mean Loren's strawman?
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Is there ANY scientific report, paper, or article about jellyfish, in the last twenty years, that could be construed as instigating or inciting alarm or panic about global warming?

Here are some:

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/40006097?uid=3739560&a...

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2419.1999....

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010....

If you read a typical news article you can see the media has taken studies like these and extrapolated into something to be alarmed about.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2011782/Jellyfish-...
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Is there ANY scientific report, paper, or article about jellyfish, in the last twenty years, that could be construed as instigating or inciting alarm or panic about global warming?

With popular science articles it is a case of 'aiding and abetting'; many of the news articles include supporting quotes from scientists. There are also articles in the research literature such as this one by Hays et al. from 2005:

Climate change and marine plankton
http://faculty.bennington.edu/~sherman/the%20ocean%20project...
"Although other factors, such as eutrophication and fishing cannot be ruled out as additional factors driving these long-term changes in jellyfish abundance, climate change is strongly implicated."

Purcell et al. write in Anthropogenic causes of jellyfish blooms and their direct consequences for humans: a review:
"Analyses of several long-term (8 to 100 yr) trends in jellyfish populations demonstrate that their abundances vary with climate, often at decadal scales (reviewed in Purcell 2005)....Persistent increases of jellyfish unrelated to climate variation have not yet been demonstrated."

DB2
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DB2: With popular science articles it is a case of 'aiding and abetting'; many of the news articles include supporting quotes from scientists. There are also articles in the research literature...

1. From the abstract of the first article:

As models produced under all climate-change scenarios indicate a move toward a positive NAO, and pH of the oceans is predicted to decrease with rising CO2, we suggest that jellyfish frequency will increase over the next 100 years.

That sounds like instigating alarm or panic about global warming to you?

--------------------------------------------------

2. Here is the conclusion from the second article:

Although we cannot rule out anthropogenic causes for the ecosystem perturbations we observed, our results provide an example of how climate change might influence an Arctic ecosystem, though we are not able to identify the underlying processes that transferred the physical changes through the ecosystem resulting in the observed increase of medusae biomass.

That sounds like instigating alarm or panic about global warming to you?

--------------------------------------------------

3. Here is the conclusion from the third article:

While it is not possible to disentangle completely the specific effect of climate change on the jellyfish population in the Irish Sea from wider ecosystem changes and/or changes in fishing practice, we have explored alternative hypotheses and conclude that it appears that within the current 16-year jellyfish time-series, the strongest driver of long-term changes in jellyfish abundance is climate variation (Table 3a).

That sounds like instigating alarm or panic about global warming to you?

--------------------------------------------------

4. Okay, maybe your real point is that journalists take studies like these -- and the comments of scientists -- and extrapolate them into something to be alarmed about.

On reading the Daily Mail article that you cite as an example of this instigation of alarm and panic, I see that the focus of this news article is on ocean acidification due to carbon dioxide:

Since the start of the industrial revolution, acidity levels of the oceans have gone up 30 per cent, marine biologists say. The report, published in December 2010 by the UN Environment Programme, warns that the acidification of oceans makes it harder for coral reefs and shellfish to form skeletons — threatening larger creatures that depend on them for food. The decline in creatures with shells could trigger an explosion in jellyfish populations... Populations have boomed in the Mediterranean in recent years. Some marine scientists say the changing chemistry of the sea is to blame.

This does not look to me like the work of a panicky journalist. To me it looks like matter-of-fact reporting about the possible effects of ocean acidification on jellyfish populations, as mediated by the exoskeletons of shellfish.

--------------------------------------------------

Jesus Christ on a Crutch, Bob, what do you want these oceanographers and journalists to do? Not explore these questions? Censor their publications so that nothing that might alarm anybody ever appears? Protect your delicate mind from any suggestion or hypothesis that parts of the environment might be having trouble? Repeat panglossian reassurances that all is for the best, in this best of all possible worlds?

"Aiding and abetting" indeed. That is language lifted straight from the law on treason. By using this phrase you are implying that these scientists are doing something akin to treason. I think you need to back off and think about this.

Loren
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Jesus Christ on a Crutch, Loren, I see you still haven't recovered. Maybe it's time to switch to decaf? From the University of Southampton press release:

"Increased speculation and discrepancies about current and future jellyfish blooms by the media and in climate and science reports formed the motivation for the study."

For example, in the following news item we have the NGO scientist talking up the 'invasion' and a university professor who admits she has no data but 'feels' that temperature increases are to blame.

Jellyfish Plague Blamed on Climate Change
www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0808-02.htm
A plague of jellyfish along Europe's beaches has become the latest environmental hazard to be blamed on global warming....Oceana, which campaigns to protect and restore the world's oceans, attributes the rise in the number of jellyfish to a rise in water temperature because of climate change....After navigating the waters of the Mar Menor, Ricardo Aguilar, the director of research on Oceana's catamaran, said: "We have found jellyfish all over the Mediterranean, but in this area we've seen concentrations of more than 10 jellyfish per square metre. Wherever we look, there is practically nowhere without jellyfish."....

Gianluca Sara, the assistant professor of ecology and marine biology at the University of Palermo, plans to launch a research project on the issue in the autumn. Dr Sara said: "I have no scientific data but, as an observer, there seems to be a huge increase along the Sicilian coast. I feel that temperature increase and over-fishing are related to this though, at the moment, this is only my feeling."

To repeat: "Increased speculation and discrepancies about current and future jellyfish blooms by the media and in climate and science reports"

DB2
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Oh, no. The jellyfish meme is back....

Global warming causing jellyfish to flock to British beaches
www.heraldscotland.com/news/14650434.Global_warming_causing_...
Global warming is causing swathes of jellyfish to flock to British beaches as warmer seas attract the stinging menaces. The number of blooms, when jelly fish mass together, are on the rise in coastal waters, according to the Marine Conservation Society....

Dr. Peter Richardson, head of biodiversity and fisheries at the Marine Conservation Society said: "There's evidence that jellyfish numbers are increasing in some parts of the world, including UK seas. Some scientists argue that jellyfish numbers increase and then decrease normally every 20 years or so; however, others believe these increases are linked to factors such as pollution, over-fishing and possibly climate change."

DB2
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Flawed citation practices facilitate the unsubstantiated perception of a global trend toward increased jellyfish blooms
Sanz-Martin and Condon
www.researchgate.net/publication/304355596_Flawed_citation_p...
Abstract:
Speculation over a global rise in jellyfish populations has become widespread in the scientific literature, but until recently the purported 'global increase' had not been tested. Here we present a citation analysis of peer-reviewed literature to track the evolution of the current perception of increases in jellyfish and identify key papers involved in its establishment. Trend statements and citation threads were reviewed and arranged in a citation network. Trend statements were assessed according their degree of affirmation and spatial scale, and the appropriateness of the citations used to support statements was assessed.

Analyses showed that 48.9% of publications misinterpreted the conclusions of cited sources, with a bias towards claiming jellyfish populations are increasing, with a single review having the most influence on the network. Collectively, these disparities resulted in a network based on unsubstantiated statements and citation threads. As a community, we must ensure our statements about scientific findings in general are accurately substantiated and carefully communicated such that incorrect perceptions, as in the case of jellyfish blooms, do not develop in the absence of rigorous testing.

DB2
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