Ecopocalypse causes giant fish ears
First Vulcans, then Obama, now les poissons
Under the sea, fish are growing abnormally large ear bones - and it's all our fault.
According to a study published Friday in the prestigious journal Science, boffins at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at San Diego's University of California have discovered that rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the world's oceans are causing sea bass to grow oversized otoliths - that's boffinspeak for ear bones.
And what causes rising carbon dioxide levels? You guessed it: we humans.
A Scripps statement blames "human activities, particularly fossil fuel burning" for causing "both increased ocean CO2 and ocean acidification."
For the aforementioned bass, big ear bones may be no laughing matter. "Otoliths serve a vital function in fish," says Scripps, "by helping them sense orientation and acceleration."
David Checkley, a Scripps professor and lead author of the study, admits that "At this point one doesn't know what the effects are in terms of anything damaging to the behavior or the survival of the fish with larger otoliths." He adds, however, that "The assumption is that anything that departs significantly from normality is an abnormality and abnormalities at least have the potential for having deleterious effects."
The seafaring researchers plan further studies to determine if the same deformities are occurring in fish other than the sea bass and whether being otolithically big-boned affects a fish's survival and behavior.
"If fish can do just fine or better with larger otoliths then there's no great concern," says Checkley. "But fish have evolved to have their bodies the way they are. The assumption is that if you tweak them in a certain way it's going to change the dynamics of how the otolith helps the fish stay upright, navigate and survive."
We can only hope that the ocean's finned folk never learn of our complicity in their predicament. The briny deep is already a dangerous enough place without it being stocked with billions of enraged - if clumsy - smelt, scrod, grunts, and grunions. ®
its all true
global warming can be proven easily,
at 7:30AM this morning it was 9C its now 9:30 and 18C therefore by midnight it should be hotter than the sun round here.
About this "bone in acid" thing... "calcium" (I think you mean cacium carbonate btw) is not "soluble" in acid. In an acidic aqueous environment, the carbonate reacts with the protons to produce CO2 and water (a phenomenon known as "effervescence"), hence liberating Ca++ (1).That's when the increased partial pressure in CO2 in the water can be reduced (bubblebobblebabblepshhhhiiiit). As for what would happen in saturating CO2 conditions, the mind boggles.
(1) -yes, bootnote of the bootnote, I know, right?- it looks (to the distant and untrained eye) as "solubility" -the calcium carbonate "melts" in the acidic water-, but the mechanism is rather different. Solubility is when, let's say, NaCl -salt- gets dissociated in Na+ and Cl- ions in water.
Sure, the ocean acts as a buffer for CO2, in the long run, in the sense that a lot of it gets trapped as calcium carbonate (think billion tons of tiny seashells). But in the short run, the surface water is actually mostly saturated in CO2, and an increase in the temperature (be it from man-made CO2, methane, solar flares or alien death-rays) should cause a massive release of CO2 -and methane, by the way- from the warmer oceans (in turn, fuelling the warming through greenhouse effect). So if we assume that there is a man-made CO2-induced global warming (which is quite consensually admitted, but unproven), then an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere leads to a decrease of CO2 in the oceans.
Of course, if you scrap the "CO2-caused warming", and assume that an increase in atmospheric CO2 does not cause a significant warming, then there might be an increase in dissolved CO2 as the increased partial pressure in the air will displace the equilibrium. So basically you can have "man-made CO2 causes a global warming" *or* "man-made CO2 creates monster sea-bass with Prince Charles' ears" but having both would be difficult to explain
"scientists do not include trite little caveats just to prove they're 'not biased'."
Oh yes we do. It's actually common practice, and it's a rather good thing. The idea is to ask yourself "OK, what could have been wrong with my experiment" and examine (and eliminate, through experiments or reasonning) all the reason why you could have a borked result. The problem is, more and more people just find one reason why they could have expected the contrary, and just use that to infer that they *must* have done things right. Hence my jadedness. I'm not saying that it's bad, I'm just saying that it's been misused to the point of being meaningless.
"a lot of scientists are at least as clever as you,"
I think so, too.
"Honestly, what motivates such an exaggerated attack on such an innocuous and (frankly) rather uninteresting research observation?"
Must be jealousy. Or maybe I'm tired of the artificial sexying-up of scientific subjects by the crowbaring-in of social issues. And I think it's a rather interesting observation, since you mention it. I for one would have expected the opposite, if only for pH reasons. But then again, pH is (quite) easy to regulate, and bicarbonate may very well be the limiting factor for oolith formation in the sea bass (a bit like how calcium is the limiting factor for women), so it might have been quite expectable...
Anyway, I stand by my guns, the scientific community is behaving more and more in a cult-like, "don't question the Dogma" manner, especially in the US, but also quite everywhere else to a (sometimes) smaller extent. And it's very painful when viewed from inside.