Thursday, April 04, 2013

Get Their Attention

There is a bad joke which describes how a farmer buys a donkey at the fair after being told that the animal was obedient.  About five minutes later the farmer returned complaining to the seller that the donkey had simply stopped on the road and would not move.  The wrangler, nodded picked up a bat and walked with the farmer to the place the animal had stopped.  Walked about it twice and hauled off and clonked the donkey between the eyes, remarking, first you have to get his attention.

Media Matters prints eight tips from scientists on covering polar bear survival.  The last flare up was driven by the usual idiots on the appearance of a new book by your ignoramous of the day, Zak Unger.  Eli will only print the first of the eight tips which pretty much show where Mr. Unger was coming from

1. Anecdotal Evidence Doesn't Trump Scientific Evidence.

In February, Fox News repeatedly promoted a book by firefighter Zac Unger on his time in Churchill, Manitoba to claim that "the polar bears are doing just fine." Even though bears in that region are actually among the subpopulations in decline, Fox News suggested that the book undermined climate science. Dr. Andrew Derocher, a scientific advisor to Polar Bears International, called that premise "flawed" and told Media Matters that "scientific literature shows very clearly the loss of sea ice in the satellite record and the projections (many many scientific papers) show that the future will be particularly challenging for polar bears as the sea ice disappears." He added, "I've worked on polar bears for 30 years and the changes are incredibly easy to see but as scientists, we don't just look at bears, we measure them and analyze the data."

Stirling criticized Unger for "a very sad piece of deliberately misleading and dishonest writing" that "tells only parts of the story that suit him." Similarly, Derocher said it was "unfortunate" when "someone who clearly doesn't understand a subject well botches up the science." Furthermore, media should not rely on anecdotal information when there is "a lot of data" on sea ice and polar bear body condition. He added:
The book you mentioned was written by someone who spent a few months in 1 place with his family talking to people. What I did on my last trip to Kentucky doesn't qualify me to rewrite the history [of] the eastern US. I've worked on polar bears for 30 years. Many of my colleagues for even longer. You don't go to a plumber for heart surgery but when it comes to polar bears "everybody is an expert". In science, an expert has to demonstrate expertise. Hanging around in Churchill for a few months talking to the locals doesn't qualify as an expert. Our last paper on polar bears in Conservation Letters had something like 200 years of cumulative polar bear expertise. How it can be that media put the scientific perspective on par with a casual observer is beyond me.
In fact, some reports that rely on polar bear sightings to conclude they are doing "fine" may be unwittingly underscoring the urgency of sea ice melt. As lost habitat drives bears from their hunting grounds, they sometimes wander into towns and garbage dumps. This may lead to more contact with humans, and an overall impression that polar bears are abundant, even to the point of being a nuisance. In fact, as Dr. Steven C. Amstrup, a former polar bear project leader at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), told Media Matters, a bear sighting in a new place "probably means the bears are having a hard time making a living where they used to make a living."
Mr. Unger and his friends clearly need some bashing.

64 comments:

cRR Kampen said...

Well, Derocher's bashing looks very commendable to me. Whatever the response of the donkey, it will be balked from lying flat on belly.

I am thankful for the information, too, for I was still a bit drowned from the noise whether Nanuk was doing normal, bad or worse. Well, looks like their culture will disappear. They will not mingle with donkeys though (except maybe for feeding) but assimilate with continental Ursus. They will win all swimming contests and maybe marathons too.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm....

Polar Bears survived millenia of much hotter Alti-thermal Arctic summers.

Me thinks they'll be fine.

Common sense, on the other hand, is dying a slow, tortured death.

Eunice

kT said...

Methinks you're an idiot. And common sense was demoted to a minor scientific method over 100 years ago with the advent of special relativity and quantum mechanics.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

kT,
Eunice is not an idiot. She is a bot. Her IQ would have to rise 2 sigma for her to attain idiot status...

Idiots can usually at least pass a Turing test.

kT said...

If that's the case then I expect that Eunice is a well paid shill bot.

Russell Seitz said...

The first sign of environmental stress we noticed in our polar bear was nose cracking accompanied by the release of plaster dust after being kicked repeatedly in the schnozzola by a screaming four year old.

The bear was about 30 at the time, having returned feom Alaska in my grandfather's company in 1925.

A decade later, the bear began to exibhit signs of Floppy Head rigor, a species of Alzheimer's common to animal rugs , attended by partial claw and paw loss and limited attention span.

Remanded to a basement floor, the once bright bear developed an alarmingly cheesy hue and , surrounded by Ursus marinus dandruff, soon after expired of Green Bear syndrome.

Russell Seitz said...

Needless to say, I have been interested in polar bear conservation ever since.

Anonymous said...

Eunice enjoys the perverse pleasure of weaklings hurling insults with all their might, but no logic or facts.

E

kT said...

Could you point out the logic and facts in Eunice's post, because I must have missed them somehow.

Hank Roberts said...

Task: derail discussion of Unger.
Ignore how his anecdote got promoted to "balance" science.

Method: factless comment by a copypaster.

Result: works every time.

Brad Keyes said...

kT

"And common sense was demoted to a minor scientific method over 100 years ago"

You believe in scientific method[s] now, kT? You, who once were adamant that science had no rules, standards or definition?

That's progress.

" with the advent of special relativity and quantum mechanics."

Which are absolutely irrelevant on a maritime ursine scale. Common sense works just fine at the superatomic, substellar granularity which we cohabit with our fellow mammals. Eunice's point stands, loser.

EliRabett said...

Careful Brad

Brad Keyes said...

Why, are you going to arbitrarily batch-delete my comments again?

Brad Keyes said...

That's the difference between us climate realists and you deletionists: we use reason, not power, to silence our opponents.

Anonymous said...

Keyes, do you have a point to make about polar bears?

If so, please be specific, and referenced.


Bernard J.

Brad Keyes said...

Spefifically? What Eunice said.

EliRabett said...

Yes. Don't be stupid.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Only slightly off topic, the NYT has a good article on scam academic publishers up today. Worth a look:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/health/for-scientists-an-exploding-world-of-pseudo-academia.html?hp&_r=0

Anonymous said...

So, what you're really saying Keyes is that you have nothing but the vapid mutterings of a demonstrated imbecile with which to make your case.

How very unsurprising.


Bernard J.

willard said...

> Common sense works just fine at the superatomic [...]

Indeed, see for yourself:

> Together with David Schkade, Kahneman developed the notion of the focusing illusion (Kahneman & Schkade, 1998; Kahneman, Krueger, Schkade, Schwarz & Stone, 2006) to explain in part the mistakes people make when estimating the effects of different scenarios on their future happiness (also known as affective forecasting, which has been studied extensively by Daniel Gilbert). The "illusion" occurs when people consider the impact of one specific factor on their overall happiness, they tend to greatly exaggerate the importance of that factor, while overlooking the numerous other factors that would in most cases have a greater impact. A good example is provided by Kahneman and Schkade's 1998 paper "Does living in California make people happy? A focusing illusion in judgments of life satisfaction." In that paper, students in the Midwest and in California reported similar levels of life satisfaction, but the Midwesterners thought their Californian peers would be happier. The only distinguishing information the Midwestern students had when making these judgments was the fact that their hypothetical peers lived in California. Thus, they "focused" on this distinction, thereby overestimating the effect of the weather in California on its residents' satisfaction with life.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Kahneman

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have.

Brad Keyes said...

Dr J:

"So, what you're really saying Keyes is that you have nothing but the vapid mutterings of a demonstrated imbecile "

Don't forget "well paid shill bot!" ;-)

Polar bears have survived warmer climates. They'll be fine. This is common sense.

Eunice pointed this out, apparently to devastating effect since the only comebacks you can produce are:

1. to deprecate common sense (which, I agree, is not infallible)

2. to hurl ad feminams

Lame.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

In looking at the recent comments I wonder who the commenter named RP from "Denver" is. He tried to roast Francis Collins for ramming through a paper about a new treatment for progeria syndrome which was not very successful.

Unfortunately he was wrong:

http://www.pnas.org/content/109/41/16666

You don't think it could be *our* RP, do you?

EliRabett said...

Ethon would be honored to invite him over for dinner.

Brad Keyes said...

Does climate catastrophism represent a failure of affective forecasting? By obsessing over a single variable, are catastrophists falling victim to a cognitive illusion?

willard unwittingly provides us with a nice analogy:

"A good example is provided by Kahneman and Schkade's 1998 paper "Does living in California make people happy? A focusing illusion in judgments of life satisfaction." ... Thus, they "focused" on this distinction, thereby overestimating the effect of the weather in California on its residents' satisfaction with life."

EliRabett said...

Now some, not Eli, might point out that issues associated with climate change include temperature, precipitation, sea level, agriculture, glacier melt and much more.

Brad Keyes said...

Read the comments under the MediaMatters post. They include a message from Zac Unger.

Let me quote the fireman who, according to Eli, "needs some bashing":

"In no way am I climate change denier and I never say that polar bears are doing just fine. My point is that scientists do us (and themselves) a disservice when they blur the lines between science and advocacy. I am a firefighter, true, but I also have a Master's in Environmental Science from Berkeley. In no way do I claim to be a polar bear expert. However, my point is that BOTH the left and the right have contributed to the circus atmosphere surrounding polar bears. Neither side is blameless, and the continued politicization of what should be a scientific issue will only end up muddying the waters and distracting from the real issue, which is global warming."

willard said...

On the one hand, you have temperature, precipitation, sea level, agriculture, glacier melt, and much more.

On the other hand, you have an old tree, land temperatures, an uptick, and emails.

When will we read the last batch of emails, again?

PS: The animal kingdom already survived a meteor, btw, so I guess common sense has something about that.

David B. Benson said...

This is what we certainly need to stay far from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anoxic_event

Anonymous said...

Keyes, do both yourself and the internet a favour and go back to school.

You could do worse than to start by learning about the complexities of biotic response to "press" and "pulse" events, about "plasticity", and about "adaptability" within the constraints of genetically/physiologically determined bioclimatic envelopes.

I could provide you with a bullet-list of very relevant ecophysiological and evolutionary minutæ that would assist you in framing a clearer understanding of this matter, but I suspect that you'd only use them as cheat cards for your exams.

You need to develop an integrated and holistic appreciation for the subject.

Just saying.

Bernard J.

Brad Keyes said...

Bernard,

I'm immune to your Jedi mind tricks. You're just handwaving, and the total absence of content in your post is blatantly obvious.

Not good enough. Please tell us, if you can, exactly how an in-depth knowledge of any or all of the buzzword topic headings you name-drop would materially affect my (or Eunice's) argument.

willard said...

Pure common sense:

> The Black Death in the middle ages is estimated to have killed more of Europe’s population than World War 2. This means that deaths during World War 2 were not unusual, and hence must be due to natural causes, not man-made.

http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/32753644033

If we're patient enough, Brad will entertain us about Thomas Reid.

Brad Keyes said...

willard,

Are you telling us that you consider that "argument" to be analogous with Eunice's?

It's not. Do you need me to explain why?

Nor is it an instance of sensus communis. Do you need me to explain why?

Thank you for your confused concerns,

Brad

willard said...

We certainly thank Brad for his interpretative concerns:

> Are you telling us that you consider that "argument" to be analogous with Eunice's?

No, I'm saying that unless you're Roderick Chisholm and in a very specific setting, appealing to common sense lacks potency.

***

Here's Eunice's appeal to common sense:

> Common sense, on the other hand, is dying a slow, tortured death.

Here's is Brad's:

> Common sense works just fine at the superatomic, substellar granularity which we cohabit with our fellow mammals.

Both appeals do not work at the same level, but they're still appeals to common sense.

The first one is an unfalsifiable editorial.

The second one is a claim that is easily falsified.

***

No wonder Brad deflects with:

> Look an analogous squirrel!

twice now.

Brad Keyes said...

willard,

I beg your pardon, I was laboring under the misconception that we were arguing about polar bears. Do you have anything—intuitive, nonintuitive or counterintuitive—to say about polar bears, willard? At all?

Anonymous said...

Brad Keyes requested:

"Please tell us, if you can, exactly how an in-depth knowledge of any or all of the buzzword topic headings you name-drop would materially affect my (or Eunice's) argument.

First, I didn't say that you needed an "in-depth knowledge" of the ecological concepts to which I referred. What I did say was that you "need to develop an integrated and holistic appreciation for the subject". This is very different to the meaning with which you tried to verbal me - one can have an "integrated and holistic appreciation" that requires only a general understanding of the subject.

Second, you have repeatedly demonstrated that you have no sophisticated and nuanced grasp of the generalities of either of the complex-systems disciplines that are climate science or ecology. I (and likely and many others) am sick of trying to talk to ignorant people. It's essentially impossible - and largely fruitless - to engage with someone who doesn't understand that which s/he thinks s/he can discuss with operational knowledge. If you want some history on this subject go read the Tim Curtin threads at Deltoid and you'll see what I mean.

When you actually know what you're talking about, then come back and have a sensible discussion. Until then you're just a waste of oxygen and of electrons.

Bernard J.


[Recaptcha says "2221 tofuwit". An ironic juxtaposition of notions of intelligence, if one knows one's Doyle.]

willard said...

(1) Polar bears swim faster than humans.

(2) Polar bears run faster than humans.

(3) If you ever enter a triathlon with polar bears, you better build yourself a big advance on the bicycle.

(4) (1) and (2) might not be true of this polar bear:

http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/5531886506

cRR Kampen said...

" I (and likely and many others) am sick of trying to talk to ignorant people."

Yes. Though I am willing to reconsider my vomit ejection after receiving salary. Not talking just two cents either.

Brad Keyes said...

Bernard,

Enough with the vacuous condescension already. Please tell us, if you can, exactly how an integrated and holistic, or sophisticated and nuanced, knowledge of any or all of the buzzword topic headings you name-drop would materially affect my (or Eunice's) argument.

Cheers.

BBD said...

Still vexing the ether with your circumlocutions eh, Brad?

Just stay away from the basics and you might be okay...

;-)

chek said...

Enough with the vacuous condescension already.

If you'd only listened to your own advice "Brad", you'd have packed up your multi-blog-platform mission to bore everyone to death with your laser-sharp stupidity months ago.

David B. Benson said...

Canada's Inuit roar in protest over move to protect polar bears
They say animal rights activists put the species at more risk than hunters who regard it as central to their livelihood.
http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/08/nation/la-na-polar-bears-20120708

Anonymous said...

"Please tell us, if you can, exactly how an integrated and holistic, or sophisticated and nuanced, knowledge of any or all of the buzzword topic headings you name-drop would materially affect my (or Eunice's) argument."

Such knowledge would result in you arguing from an informed position, which currently you do not.

This effect on your argument is likely to profoundly change that same argument - unless you subsequently chose to cling to deliberate dissemblance in order to maintain your traditional stance...

Just saying.


Bernard J.

Brad Keyes said...

Aww. As usual, you can't say where—if anywhere—I was mistaken. All you've got is content-free, handwavy faux condescension. As I've come to expect from you, Bernard. LOL ... You're completely see-through!

Anonymous said...

Keyes.

Are you starting to sweat because I'm pressing you on your understanding of ecology?

If you don't like my general pointing out of your non-familiarity with basic ecology, perhaps you'd like to go right down to the tacks and explain ("Eunice" is welcome to help you if you require it) why the loss of summer will not affect the summer fast period of polar bears, nor the feeding season around the fast.

Perhaps you'll also explain why the loss of ice habitat will not affect the bears' thermoregulation ecophysiology, and why it will not affect their social/behavioural ecology, especially with respect to their breeding ecology. The interactions of each of these aspects should also be considered...

Please.

References and testable evidence would bolster your case.



Bernard J.


[Recaptcha humour is still in evidence - uresaye 5501]

Brad Keyes said...

Bernard:

"perhaps you'd like to go right down to the tacks and explain ("Eunice" is welcome to help you if you require it) why the loss of summer will not affect the summer fast period of polar bears, nor the feeding season around the fast."

For all I know it will affect them. Everything affects everything in ecology. The question is whether it will extirpate them as a species. My understanding is that (as Eunice alludes) they have survived both ice ages and nice ages before, and there is no reason to think they will not outlast the Anthropocene. Surely it doesn't matter if they survive in smaller numbers, as long as they survive. (Bad news for polar bears is good news for the various victim species whose lives they make hell.) Am I wrong? If so, please explain why.

Brad Keyes said...

Correction: ursus maritimus evolved during the current ice age, but before the current interglacial. (I was wrongly synonymising "glacial" with "Ice Age" in my head—sorry.) Eunice's comment, while less lyrical perhaps, was more accurate than mine.

Anonymous said...

Brad Keyes (and Eunice).

"... there is no reason to think they will not outlast the Anthropocene"

Eh?! There is most definitely reason to think that the polar bear will not outlast the Anthropocene.

The current ice age sensu stricto commenced more than two and a half million years ago. This is more than half of the evolutionary age of the polar bear, and particularity salient is the fact that the majority of the species' evolution occurred during this ice age, and that the species' Arctic specialisation has been latterly honed in this time.

The warming that humans are setting in train, if realised, will exceed temperatures ever experienced by the species (and indeed by many species), and will do so over the span of only several centuries compared to the several million years in which the polar bear has refined its adaptation to freezing conditions. The bear's ecophysiology is predicated on the existence of sea ice, and on the prey species associated with ice ecosystems.

It is for this reason that there is a high risk that the species will not survive the Anthropocene. Similarly many of the species which share the polar bear's ecosystem are highly unlikely to survive the human-caused cessation of the current ice age.

I note that neither you nor Eunice has yet offered any biologically-based reason for thinking that the polar bear will survive without the Arctic sea ice, and especially that they could survive without the ice that will likely be lost after a few more centuries. Again, if you or Eunice think that the polar bear can survive in a world that is several degrees warmer than the 20th century baseline, I invite you to detail how this would happen.

Direct and supported reference to the feeding and breeding biologies of the species would be instructive.


Bernard J.

Brad Keyes said...

"The warming that humans are setting in train, if realised, will exceed temperatures ever experienced by the species"

Nonsense. Polar bears have "experienced" the temperature of a zoo in Germany. They have "experienced" the temperature of a zoo in Sydney.

"...and will do so over the span of only several centuries compared to the several million years in which the polar bear has refined its adaptation to freezing conditions...

"Again, if you or Eunice think that the polar bear can survive in a world that is several degrees warmer than the 20th century baseline, I invite you to detail how this would happen.

"Direct and supported reference to the feeding and breeding biologies of the species would be instructive."


I've cited zoological proof. Polar bears don't mind nice weather.

As an aside, one gets the impression that the climate apologists, in their desperation to keep the fear alive for another few minutes, are now prepared to dazzle the rubes with a thick lexicon of pseudoscientific noncepts ("ecophysiology" and "bioclimatic envelope" being immediate examples). And no doubt it works on some people.

bill said...

Bradley thinks Zoos are an ecosystem.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Keyes: "Nonsense. Polar bears have "experienced" the temperature of a zoo in Germany. They have "experienced" the temperature of a zoo in Sydney."

See, Bwadwey, this is why you are an idiot.

Brad Keyes said...

bill:

"Bradley thinks Zoos are an ecosystem."

Don't be stupid. Everybody knows a zoo is just a taxoeconomic envelope.

BTW the point of my devastating anecdotes, for those of you feigning or suffering the hebetude to miss it, is that (contrary to pseudointellectual myth) the "physiology" of a polar bear is not "adapted" specifically to "freezing conditions." It's the folly of the soft-handed academic to think of confining these carnivorous colossi to "bioclimatic envelopes" and "ecophysiological mailing tubes." Ha. Believe me, if you'd ever looked into the black abyss of an ursus maritimus pupil* you wouldn't speak in effete abstractions ever again.

Obviously, the Arctic populations of these soulless killers have certain stalking, butchering and other behavioral traditions finely-honed to local conditions, but that's not the same thing is it, boys and girls?

* Do you think the white god that dragged your research assistant from his tent into the howling night gave two shits about "the Holocene baseline" or whether ECS is 2.0 or 2.5 degrees? The screams were over in a moment, but you never forget them. He came recommended for his PhD research in climatozoology, he'd even done a summer internship in Consensus Science under Oreskes, he was obviously passionate about the human threat to apex predator populations, he'd read the peer-reviewed literature, and he thought he'd be safe. (His rifle was still there, unloaded, in the tattered tent.) He understood what was out there, or so he thought. But in the jaws of the great ghost, what was the point of a "sophisticated and nuanced grasp of the generalities of either of the complex-systems disciplines that are climate science or ecology"?

willard said...

[Bernard J] Direct and supported reference to the feeding and breeding biologies of the species would be instructive.

[Bradley K] I've cited zoological proof. Polar bears don't mind nice weather.

[IUCN] While all bear species have shown adaptability in coping with their surroundings and environment, polar bears are highly specialized for life in the Arctic marine environment. Polar bears exhibit low reproductive rates with long generational spans. These factors make facultative adaptation by polar bears to significantly reduced ice coverage scenarios unlikely. Polar bears did adapt to warmer climate periods of the past. Due to their long generation time and the current greater speed of global warming, it seems unlikely that polar bear will be able to adapt to the current warming trend in the Arctic. If climatic trends continue polar bears may become extirpated from most of their range within 100 years. [http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22823/0]

willard said...

Polar Bears in a Warming Climate

Andrew E. Derocher, Nicholas J. Lunn and Ian Stirling

> Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) live throughout the ice-covered waters of the circumpolar Arctic, particularly in near shore annual ice over the continental shelf where biological productivity is highest. However, to a large degree under scenarios predicted by climate change models, these preferred sea ice habitats will be substantially altered. Spatial and temporal sea ice changes will lead to shifts in trophic interactions involving polar bears through reduced availability and abundance of their main prey: seals. In the short term, climatic warming may improve bear and seal habitats in higher latitudes over continental shelves if currently thick multiyear ice is replaced by annual ice with more leads, making it more suitable for seals. A cascade of impacts beginning with reduced sea ice will be manifested in reduced adipose stores leading to lowered reproductive rates because females will have less fat to invest in cubs during the winter fast. Non-pregnant bears may have to fast on land or offshore on the remaining multiyear ice through progressively longer periods of open water while they await freeze-up and a return to hunting seals. As sea ice thins, and becomes more fractured and labile, it is likely to move more in response to winds and currents so that polar bears will need to walk or swim more and thus use greater amounts of energy to maintain contact with the remaining preferred habitats. The effects of climate change are likely to show large geographic, temporal and even individual differences and be highly variable, making it difficult to develop adequate monitoring and research programs. All ursids show behavioural plasticity but given the rapid pace of ecological change in the Arctic, the long generation time, and the highly specialised nature of polar bears, it is unlikely that polar bears will survive as a species if the sea ice disappears completely as has been predicted by some.

http://icb.oxfordjournals.org/content/44/2/163.abstract

bill said...

And this bizarre attempt to channel the spirit of Werner Herzog saves you how, exactly, Bradley? ;-)

Your 'argument' is... well, there's no point in even describing it as an argument, is there; not really? The 'Bradley Knows Nothing of Biology or Ecosystems' school is winning hands-down, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Seriously Keyes, zoos are your proof that polar bears will survive in the 'wild' without sea ice?! Zoos?!

Do you know why polar bears survive in zoos? Do you? Do you know why the zoo context is completely removed from the real world?

Just as zoos are to animals, we have respirators and dialysis machines to sustain human life where it would otherwise be lost. I'm curious to know the technical details of the machine that is keeping you going without a functioning intellect.


Bernard J.


[Recaptcha informs "substituting uageeke"]

Anonymous said...

And Keyes, an 'FYI'...

Florid language and logical fallacy do not trump basic biology or evolution.

Write this on a page of foolscap and tape it to your toilet door.


Bernard J.


[Even Recaptcha thinks that Keyes is a "complete Pookipa"]

Brad Keyes said...

"If climatic trends continue polar bears may become extirpated from most of their range within 100 years."

Only then will young Helmsley, who had a bright future, a mortgage and a pregnant PhD thesis, be avenged.

willard said...

EFFECTS OF CLIMATE-INDUCED CHANGES IN PARASITISM, PREDATION AND PREDATOR-PREDATOR INTERACTIONS ON REPRODUCTION AND SURVIVAL OF AN ARCTIC MARINE BIRD

Anthony J. Gaston, Kyle H. Elliott

> A detailed understanding of the processes and interactions within biological communities is needed to describe and predict the biological consequences of climate change. Global warming may affect biological communities at specific sites through changes in the species composition that follow changes in range, or through altered food web interactions caused by changes in phenology or behaviour. We describe the demographic consequences for a colonial nesting seabird, the Thick-billed Murre (Uria lomvia), of exceptionally intense mosquito parasitism and predation by polar bears in a particular year. Increases in mosquito parasitism and bear predation are changes in behaviour rather than changes in range, and both caused unusual adult mortality and reproductive failure in Thick-billed Murres. In the case of adult mortality, the effects of predation and parasitism were complementary, whereas in the case of reproductive failure, most birds affected by parasitism would in any case have subsequently lost their eggs to bear predation. The mosquito and bear activities had the secondary result of redirecting the attention of gulls and foxes, the usual predators of murre eggs, towards scavenging carcasses and preying on eggs exposed by birds deserting their ledges. This diversion reduced the impact of gulls and foxes on the murres and altered the spatial configuration of predation risk. Our observations emphasize the difficulty faced by ecologists in predicting the consequences of global warming even for simple and relatively well-studied ecosystems. Moreover, the net effect of combined parasitism and predation was much greater than reported previously, reducing overall colony productivity by 20% and increasing adult mortality by 20%. If this effect happens every year, it will have population consequences.

http://arctic.synergiesprairies.ca/arctic/index.php/arctic/article/view/4265

bill said...

I think Brad trying to explain to us that the bears deserve it, willard.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that Keyes finally realised the lameness of his 'evidence'? His commentary seems to have gone rather limp; shrivelled, even...

Brad Keyes said...

Dear anonymous adolescent,

You're so right—I can't hide it any longer. My "commentary," which relied desperately on irrefutable facts about polar bears, stands torn to shreds by the systems science, which rests solidly on what the systems "scientists" are telling us about Thick-billed Murres and their sterility.

The fact that the thread has gone dead is, therefore, all about me. Nothing to do with the various other participants at all!

Exactly as you suggest.

Thus proving that nameless commenters make the most perceptive contributions, and are simply hiding their light under a bushel, not hiding their inanity behind anonymity as is often cruelly alleged.

Kudos,

"Keyes"

willard said...

Vulnerability to climate change in the Arctic: A case study from Arctic Bay, Canada

James D. Ford, Barry Smit , Johanna Wandel

> This paper develops a vulnerability-based approach to characterize the human implications of climate change in Arctic Bay, Canada. It focuses on community vulnerabilities associated with resource harvesting and the processes through which people adapt to them in the context of livelihood assets, constraints, and outside influences. Inuit in Arctic Bay have demonstrated significant adaptability in the face of changing climate-related exposures. This adaptability is facilitated by traditional Inuit knowledge, strong social networks, flexibility in seasonal hunting cycles, some modern technologies, and economic support. Changing Inuit livelihoods, however, have undermined certain aspects of adaptive capacity, and have resulted in emerging vulnerabilities in certain sections of the community.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378005000786

bill said...

Ya got nothin' Bradley. Biology, zoology, ecology... you just don't get it.

And, as you've gone to great pains to point out to the folks at Deltoid, that ain't your real name.

Anonymous said...

Humour us Brad Keyes.

What exactly is your detailed and defensible case for claiming that polar bears will survive a planet warmed so much that Arctic summer sea ice is no more than a memory and a curiosity in the data archives?

You know, a case stated as a scientist would state it...


Bernard J.