Year 3, Month 7, Day 27: Sex Laxar I En Laxask

The New York Times reports on a nice piece of science:

Alaskan salmon are apparently evolving to adapt to climate change.

Researchers have suspected that temperature-driven changes in migration and reproduction behaviors — which have happened in many species — may be evidence of natural selection at work. Now there is genetic evidence to confirm the hypothesis.

For their study, published online last week in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the scientists studied Alaska pink salmon in a small stream near Juneau where there have been complete daily counts of all adult fish since 1971.

The salmon migrated in two distinct populations, one appearing toward the end of August, the other starting in September. In 1979, scientists introduced a neutral genetic marker into the later-migrating population so it could be identified and tracked without affecting its fitness.

A small prize to anyone who can tell me something about the headline. Sent July 16:

The news that pink salmon are beginning evolutionary adaptation to a rapidly transforming environment should be a powerful signal to those people still actively denying the reality of global climate change. But there’s a big gap between “should” and “is,” and it’s spelled “rejection of science.”

The same people proclaiming evolution a blasphemous falsehood are at the forefront of the climate-denial pack, rejecting as absurd the suggestion that two centuries’ worth of CO2 emissions might have an effect on Earth’s atmospheric equilibrium. Such ignorance would be merely risible but for the fact that blinkered rejection of facts is now an absolute prerequisite for electability in today’s Republican party.

As the scientific evidence for climate change keeps accumulating, the GOP’s positions will evolve — incorporating even-more-convoluted explanations for the inconvenient facts. 2016’s Republican convention will likely be a sea of tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theorists. Can those Alaska salmon produce their birth certificates?

Warren Senders

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