Top marine scientists defend attack on Great Barrier Reef research

This article discusses a dispute between Australia’s climate scientists and deniers.

Scientists at Australia’s leading marine science agency say an attack on the integrity of their research into threats to the Great Barrier Reef was flawed and based on “misinterpretation” and “selective use of data”.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (Aims) researchers were responding to accusations made in November 2017 in a journal Marine Pollution Bulletin that claimed much of their work “should be viewed with some doubt”.

In November Dr Piers Larcombe, an industry consultant affiliated with the University of Western Australia, and Prof Peter Ridd, of James Cook University in Queensland, claimed in a “Viewpoint” article that there was a lack of “quality control” in marine science.

The pair claimed to have identified flaws in nine scientific papers published between 2003 and 2013.

But in the response, led by Aims scientist Dr Britta Schaffelke, several of the criticised scientists write: “Given their sincere call to improve quality control processes in science, it is interesting that nowhere in their Viewpoint article do Larcombe and Ridd make it clear to readers that many of their criticisms of the nine GBR [Great Barrier Reef] papers have been raised previously and have been thoroughly addressed by the original authors.”

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