May 3, 2011

Montana Sacrilidge

Remember awhile back we posted on a study about plants in California? No? Too bad it was a good post. For those not willing to go back and read it I'll review a bit of it here.

It seems that much to the surprise of the researchers of this particular study, the plant life in  California rather than fleeing to the hills to escape man induced fire and brimstone were instead moving down the mountainside. As we discussed at the time, this had the researchers in quite a tizzy.
We now have a shocking development in the flimflam community, where it has been determined that in spite of previous model induced hypothesis, real world evidence points to the conclusion that plant life rather than fleeing to the mountain heights to escape MAN MADE GLOBAL WARMING it is instead moving down hill.
For years researchers have watched plants and animals migrate to cooler quarters in response to global warming. But a new study suggests some plants are moving downhill, drawn by increased precipitation.
Before I got all wrapped up in a discussion of the predictions by the amazing Dr Chu of Nobel Laurette and Energy fame, I mentioned that my theory was that they were moving downhill in order to suck up some of that sweet California carbon dioxide emitted along the I-5 corridor. As it turns out neither the University of Montana researchers theory or mine was sufficient to appease the God's Of Academia and their lust for taxpayer funded studies. So some local folks at Stanford are taking issue with their peers, though they did not mention my theory in the article for some reason.

I probably would not have caught the connection to the previous study, in fact I probably would not have read the article at all if I had not been captivated by the opening paragraphs.
A lizard is almost invisible, camouflaged in a bush.  A bumblebee flits about and pauses on one of the plant’s flowers. An ant descends a stem, delivering food to her brothers. 
What kind of lives would the lizard, bee, and ant lead without this plant?
What kind of lives indeed. The pure poetry of this brought me to tears...then I got up off the floor and read the rest of the article.

I will not bore rob you of the joy of reading the entire article by posting it all here. But I will post a few key points on this waste of time an money academic endeavor.
To discover how California plant distributions have changed over time, the Stanford team is using a comprehensive dataset: museum specimens of a large number of California plants.  Since the mid 1800’s and until the present day, these plants have been collected by a variety of individuals, from the famous naturalist John Muir to amateur botanists, says William Anderegg, a Stanford graduate student in biology involved in the project.  When and where the plants were picked can be used to assess how the locations of the plants themselves have changed over time.
This actually sounded somewhat familiar and of course it was:
This January, Shawn Crimmins and colleagues at the University of Montana published a similar study of California plant species movements, analyzing a part of the dataset used by the Stanford team.  The group discovered that plants moved down, rather than up, in elevation, driven by water availability.  However, Anderegg claims that the group did not correctly account for differences in how plants have been collected over time, and that “they could have … gotten a completely false trend due only to sampling.” 
Oh those Montana Hayseeds researchers and their false trends, we can't have them coming down here to the Golden State and telling us our plants are not acting in a political correct manner as prescribed by consensus science! "Downhill you say, well we'll show you bumpkins, we are going to bring in some heavy hitters to show you which way the plants grow, uh go, Ivy League brains are needed to put you Montanaites in your place! "
To address that possibility, the Stanford team collaborated with Adam Wolf, a postdoctoral associate at Princeton University, to develop a new statistical method to obtain accurate plant location information that accounts for biases in where and when plants were sampled.  Using their new method, the team is attempting to better understand the movements of California plant species.  One preliminary finding is that the distribution of plants in the Mojave Desert are moving up in elevation over time, in accord with the increasing temperature hypothesis. The group hopes to find why species in other locations are moving more, less, or not at all.
"HUH SEE Montana Boy! Stanford don't take crap from a state whose biggest thing is sky. You get political incorrect findings in our state and we'll develop a new statistical method to get the approved results. Don't mess with Texas huh? Texas got nothing on California when it comes to getting IPCC  results, it ain't for nothing that the great Al Gore bought that mansion here you know." 
It all ties back into the broader research task on Root’s agenda:...
Indeed it does
 ...learning about species interactions to better understand the full impact of climate change.  Think back to the plant, bee, ant, and lizard, all intertwined in their environment.  A change in the location of the plant could have profound consequences on the others.  Root believes that with further research, we can prepare ourselves, and other species, for the shifts and disruptions that our actions may have already set in motion. 
“There is hope,” she said.
Yes, Hope and climate change what more could a researcher ask for? And let's not forget about the lizard. Hey and Montana Boy keep your politically incorrect butt out of California...capice?

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