Back in 2006, US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Enforcement and Regulation biologist Charles Monnett published a brief paper in which he described a number of drowned polar bears spotted during an aerial marine-mammals survey. This observation was the first of its kind: nobody had ever seen floating corpses of Ursus maritimus before, apparently.
Although scientists had already concluded that polar bears would have difficulty in an ice-free arctic, and might be more prone to drowning as they attempted to access the disappearing ice-platforms they needed for hunting, Dr. Monnett's observations added a nice little exclamation point to this conclusion.
Since about February of this year, however, Mr. Monnett has been the subject of an "integrity inquiry" by the U.S. government, and the deniosphere has gone wild with the notion that this inquiry might be related to the '06 paper, and might therefore cast doubt on that paper. Well, as was previously implied here, it is not and does not. More precisely:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska: The US government suspended an Arctic biologist over how he awarded a polar bear research project to the University of Alberta and its management, not for his earlier scientific work detailing drowned polar bears, a watchdog group said Monday.
Now, as some have noted previously, this whole investigation has the stench of a witch-hunt about it: the Bureau hands out drilling permits, after all, and Dr. Monnett's paper did not make them happy. Furthermore, the transcript of Mr. Monnett's original interrogation contains page after page of questions related to his work on polar bears and, frankly, the investigators come off as barely numerate and aggressively stupid. Monnett's notes and computer were seized afterwards, and it is fair to suggest that new grounds were found for his suspension from these sources after the old grounds did not pan out.