Daily Archives: April 15, 2015

A Whale of a Fish Story: St. Andrews Study Beyond Limits of Science

When the claims of a study are well within if not swamped by measurement limits (error bars) and methodological uncertainties such claims  are arbitrary and cannot be taken seriously. In essence it is a made-up story driven by assumptions. This looks to be that kind of study. A press release such as here is rather embarrassing. 

Christian Ramp, Julien Delarue, Per J. Palsbøll, Richard Sears, Philip S. Hammond. Adapting to a Warmer Ocean—Seasonal Shift of Baleen Whale Movements over Three Decades. PLOS One DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121374

Global warming poses particular challenges to migratory species, which face changes to the multiple environments occupied during migration. For many species, the timing of migration between summer and winter grounds and also within-season movements are crucial to maximise exploitation of temporarily abundant prey resources in feeding areas, themselves adapting to the warming planet. We investigated the temporal variation in the occurrence of fin (Balaenoptera physalus) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in a North Atlantic summer feeding ground, the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Canada), from 1984 to 2010 using a long-term study of individually identifiable animals. These two sympatric species both shifted their date of arrival at a previously undocumented rate of more than 1 day per year earlier over the study period thus maintaining the approximate 2-week difference in arrival of the two species and enabling the maintenance of temporal niche separation. However, the departure date of both species also shifted earlier but at different rates resulting in increasing temporal overlap over the study period indicating that this separation may be starting to erode. Our analysis revealed that the trend in arrival was strongly related to earlier ice break-up and rising sea surface temperature, likely triggering earlier primary production. The observed changes in phenology in response to ocean warming are a remarkable example of phenotypic plasticity and may partly explain how baleen whales were able to survive a number of changes in climate over the last several million years. However, it is questionable whether the observed rate of change in timing can be maintained. Substantial modification to the distribution or annual life cycle of these species might be required to keep up with the ongoing warming of the oceans.

Paper is here (Open Access).

Divalent Copper as a Major Triggering Agent for Alzheimer’s Disease

Brewer GJ Divalent Copper as a Major Triggering Agent in Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2015 Apr 8.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is at epidemic proportions in developed countries, with a steady increase in the early 1900 s, and then exploding over the last 50 years. This epidemiology points to something causative in the environment of developed countries. This paper will review the considerable evidence that that something could be inorganic copper ingestion. The epidemic parallels closely the spread of copper plumbing, with copper leached from the plumbing intodrinking water being a main causal feature, aided by the increasingly common use of supplement pills containing copper. Inorganic copper is divalent copper, or copper-2, while we now know that organic copper, or copper in foods, is primarily monovalent copper, or copper-1. The intestinal transport system, Ctr1, absorbs copper-1 and the copper moves to the liver, where it is put into safe channels. Copper-2 is not absorbed by Ctr1, and some of it bypasses the liver and goes directly into the blood, where it appears to be exquisitely toxic to brain cognition. Thus, while aggregation of amyloid-β has been postulated to be the cause of AD under current dogma, the great increase in prevalence over the last century appears to be due to ingestion of copper-2, which may be causing the aggregation, and/or increasing the oxidant toxicity of the aggregates. An alternative hypothesis proposes that oxidant stress is the primary injuring agent, and under this hypothesis, copper-2 accumulation in the brain may be a causal factor of the oxidant injury. Thus, irrespective of which hypothesis is correct, AD can be classified, at least in part, as a copper-2 toxicity disease. It is relatively easy to avoid copper-2 ingestion, as discussed in this review. If most people begin avoiding copper-2 ingestion, perhaps the epidemic of this serious disease can be aborted.

Click here for full paper (fee).

Carbon Dioxide and Global Sea Ice, No Correlation

CO2 is increasing. But global sea ice is not.

CO2-vs-sea-ice pgosselin
Source: P Gosselin

N-nitrosamines in East China Drinking Waters

Li T1, Yu D, Xian Q, Li A, Sun C. Variation of levels and distribution of N-nitrosamines in different seasons in drinking waters of East China. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Apr 11.

We surveyed the occurrence of nine N-nitrosamine species in ten bottled drinking waters from supermarket and other water samples including raw waters, finished waters, and distribution system waters from nine municipal drinking water treatment plants in eight cities of Jiangsu Province, East China. N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) was detected in one of ten bottled drinking water samples at concentration of 4.8 ng/L and N-nitrosomorpholine (NMor) was detected in four of the ten bottles with an average concentration and a standard deviation of 16 ± 15 ng/L. The levels of nitrosamines in the distribution system water samples collected during summer season ranged from below detection limit (BDL) to 5.4 ng/L for NDMA, BDL to 9.5 ng/L for N-nitrosomethylethylamine (NMEA), BDL to 2.7 ng/L for N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) and BDL to 8.5 ng/L for N-nitrosopyrrolidine (NPyr). Samples of distribution system waters collected in winter season had levels of nitrosamines ranged from BDL to 45 ng/L for NDMA, BDL to 5.2 ng/L for NPyr, and BDL to 309 ng/L for N-nitrosopiperidine (NPip). A positive correlation of the concentration of NDMA as well as the total nine N-nitrosamines between finished waters and distribution system waters was observed. Both dissolved organic carbon and nitrite were found to correlate linearly with N-nitrosamine levels in raw waters.

Click here for paper (Open Access).