A biologist who claimed polar bears were drowning due to melting ice caps has been put on administrative leave as officials investigate allegations of scientific misconduct.
Though the exact nature of the allegations is not known, according to a government watchdog group representing Anchorage-based scientist Charles Monnett, investigators had focused on his 2006 journal article about the bears that had gained worldwide attention.
The group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, filed a complaint on Monnett's behalf with the agency, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).
ON 18 July, BOEMRE told Monnett that he was being forced to go on leave, pending an investigation into ''integrity issues.''
According to Jeff Ruch, the watchdog group's executive director, he had not yet been told by the investigator about the specific charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work.
Regardless of the outcome or the nature of the allegations, the investigation would likely fuel the ongoing fight between climate change activists and those who are sceptical of scientists' findings about global warming, say observers.