Fishy business

Scientists behaving badly ???

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Fishy business

#1  Postby Macdoc » Mar 22, 2017 11:04 am

A groundbreaking study on the dangers of 'microplastics' may be unraveling
By Martin EnserinkMar. 21, 2017 , 1:00 PM
GOTLAND, SWEDEN—It's a cold, dreary day in early March, and Josefin Sundin is standing in one of the two aquarium rooms at the Ar Research Station on a remote corner of Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea. "This is where it all happened," she says, while gazing around as if searching for fresh clues. Her colleague and friend Fredrik Jutfelt takes cellphone pictures.

Nine months ago, these two researchers triggered a scandal in Swedish science by accusing another friend and colleague of making up research supposedly done here. Now, they have returned to Gotland to discuss what happened—and how whistleblowing has taken over their lives. The station is deserted; the 2017 research season has yet to start. But the station manager, Anders Nissling, has made a pot of strong coffee and is happy to give a tour of the offices and laboratories where researchers come to study the creatures and ecosystems of the sea and a nearby lake.

At the heart of the case is a three-page paper that made headlines after it was published in Science* on 3 June 2016. It showed that, given a choice between a natural diet and tiny plastic fragments, perch larvae will consume the plastic "like teens eat fast food," as a BBC story put it. This unhealthy appetite reduced their growth and made them more vulnerable to predators. It was a dire warning, suggesting the plastic trash washing into rivers, lakes, and oceans was creating ecological havoc.
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The study was also, Sundin and Jutfelt claim, "a complete fantasy." It was purportedly done at the Ar station in the spring of 2015 by Oona Lönnstedt, a research fellow at Sweden's Uppsala University (UU); her supervisor and only co-author, Peter Eklöv, did not work on the island. Sundin, a postdoc at UU, was working at the station at that time, too, and occasionally lent Lönnstedt a hand. But she saw no sign of a study of the scope and size described in Science.

Jutfelt, who like Sundin is Swedish but works as an associate professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, also spent a few days at the station when the study supposedly took place, and didn't see it either. Lönnstedt wasn't even on the island long enough to do the study described in Science, the duo claims. Many other details were, well, fishy, they said, such as Lönnstedt's claim that part of the study's data was forever lost because her laptop was stolen 10 days after the paper was published.


continues
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/ ... unraveling
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Re: Fishy business

#2  Postby crank » Mar 22, 2017 11:13 pm

Well, that's disturbing, and surprisingly complicated. I thought today, you had better be able to back up all of your experimental work with copious data so these things don't happen. The accused are behaving like they're guilty, too many questionable rationales for the problems, like a stolen laptop with no backup. Really? They kept such important data on an unbacked up system? That's enough to earn ridicule and suspicion. I hate this kind of shit that just feeds the science-deniers examples to mischaracterize.
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