this is a test only

by Lou Dolinar

I’m messing with the online editor, please don’t even think of posting this.


Those darn cetaceans, they’re so charismatic that everyone wants a piece of the action when they get their names in the paper.  I have to stick up for my buddy Delingpole, (I’ve always liked lost causes) but there is a lesson here too: If the seemingly cool scientific report isn’t peer reviewed, caveat emptor. 

Go back to the original  paper in question. It supports neither the press release nor the various stories written off the press release. I read it, ugh.   It was about as dry and lifeless as possible. However, the authors of the paper, Professor Ian Boyd, in a fit of speculation, were quoted rather precisely:

‘I can see some quite robust advice being provided based upon our results that can help naval activity avoid the problem of causing beaked whales to strand, but I am also worried that the general levels of sound that humans make in the ocean from all sorts of sources like ships, oil and gas exploration and renewable energy may be a much more serious problem for beaked whales and some other sensitive species,’ he said.
‘Perhaps the most significant result from our experiments is the extreme sensitivity of these animals to disturbance.’

As for the corrrection, poor Professor Boyd, I’m sure his email box blew up after the original story ran: 

Prof Ian Boyd, of the University of St Andrews, said the construction of offshore renewable energy sites is likely to cause some species to move to other areas and to distrub their feeding and reproductive cycles. At present it is not possible to predict precisely how this will affect their populations.

However, he wished to correct a report on this website this week that said there was a proven link between off-shore wind farms and strandings.

The professor said a quotation attributed to him in a press release issued by the university, which discussed strandings related to sonar emissions from naval vessels and which suggested renewable energy sources also contributed to the disturbance of whales, had been taken out of context.