Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Philip Munday’s work falls to pieces whenever someone tries to verify it.
Last week, Nature published a damning refutation of a significant body of climate change research. The title of that article is self-explanatory: Ocean acidification does not impair the behaviour of coral reef fishes.
The authors studied more than 900 fish from six different species over a period of three years, attempting to verify earlier findings by a team of researchers at Australia’s James Cook University. Their attempts failed.
Scholarly convention being what it is, the now-discredited work isn’t identified in a clear manner. Readers are compelled to sift through footnotes to locate the “several high-profile papers” that are being refuted. So here they are:
Danielle L. Dixson, Philip L. Munday, Geoffrey P. Jones
Ocean acidification disrupts the innate ability of fish to detect predator olfactory cues.
Ecology Letters, 2009/2010
Philip L. Munday, Danielle L. Dixson, Mark L. McCormick, Mark Meekan, Maud C.O. Ferrari, Douglas P. Chivers
Replenishment of fish populations is threatened by ocean acidification
Maud C. O. Ferrari, Mark I. McCormick, Philip L. Munday, Mark G. Meekan, Danielle L. Dixson, Oona Lönnstedt, Douglas P. Chivers
Effects of ocean acidification on visual risk assessment in coral reef fishes
Functional Ecology, 2012
Göran E. Nilsson, Danielle L. Dixson, Paolo Domenici, Mark I. McCormick, Christina Sørensen, Sue-Ann Watson, Philip L. Munday
Near-future carbon dioxide levels alter fish behaviour by interfering with neurotransmitter function
Nature Climate Change, 2012
Philip L. Munday, Morgan S. Prachett, Danielle L. Dixson, Jennifer M. Donelson, Geoff G.K. Endo, Adam D. Reynolds, Richard Knuckey
Elevated CO2 affects the behavior of an ecologically and economically important coral reef fish
Marine Biology, 2012
Philip L. Munday, Alistair J. Cheal, Danielle L. Dixson, Jodie L. Rummer, Katharina E. Fabricius
Behavioural impairment in reef fishes caused by ocean acidification at CO2seeps
Nature Climate Change, 2014
Megan J. Welch, Sue-Ann Watson, Justin Q. Welch, Mark I. McCormick, Philip L. Munday
Effects of elevated CO2 on fish behaviour undiminished by transgenerational acclimation
Nature Climate Change, 2014
The author in common is research leader Philip Munday. When eight of this man’s papers were double-checked, others scientists were unable to confirm his findings. They performed the same experiments, but got different results. Every. Single. Time.
The James Cook University website tells us Munday is “in the top 1% of cited researchers in the ISI fields of Plant and Animal Science” (bold added). He sits on the editorial board of three scientific journals.
He also – ding, ding, ding – “has contributed to IPCC reports” on ocean acidification. In fact, Munday’s name appears 46 times in this 174-page document about a 2011 IPCC workshop on that topic.
You heard it here first, folks. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s pronouncements about tropical fish rely on a man whose work falls to pieces whenever anyone tries to verify it.