Frilled dragon lizards, new research


This 1 June 2019 video says about itself:

On this episode of On Location, Coyote, Mark, and Mario are in Australia! Will they be able to catch the magnificent frilled dragon during their adventure? And if so… can they snap the perfect photo of a frilled dragon on top of our Brave Wilderness Adventure Kit?! Watch to find out!

From the Université de Genève in Switzerland:

How the dragon got its frill

June 25, 2019

The frilled dragon exhibits a distinctive large erectile ruff. This lizard usually keeps the frill folded back against its body but can spread it as a spectacular display to scare off predators. Researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, and the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics report in the journal eLife that an ancestral embryonic gill of the dragon embryo turns into a neck pocket that expands and folds, forming the frill. The researchers then demonstrate that this robust folding pattern emerges from mechanical forces during the homogeneous growth of the frill skin, due to the tensions resulting from its attachment to the neck and head.

In Jurassic Park, while the computer programmer Dennis Nedry attempts to smuggle dinosaur embryos off the island, he gets attacked and killed by a mid-sized dinosaur that erects a frightening neck frill. This fictional dinosaur [also based on Dilophosaurus] is clearly inspired from a real animal known as the ‘frilled dragon’, that lives today in northern Australia and southern New Guinea. These lizards, also known as Chlamydosaurus kingii, have a large disc of skin that sits around their head and neck. This frill is usually folded back against the body, but can spread in a spectacular fashion to scare off predators and competitors. Folding of the left and right sides of the frill occurs at three pre-formed ridges. But, it remains unclear which ancestral structure evolved to become the dragon’s frill, and how the ridges in the frill form during development.

Recycling gills

A multidisciplinary team led by Michel Milinkovitch, Professor at the Department of Genetics and Evolution of the UNIGE Faculty of Science and Group Leader at the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, shows today that the dragon’s frill, as well as bones and cartilages that support it, develop from the branchial arches. These are a series of bands of tissue in the embryo that evolved to become the gill supports in fish, and that now give rise to multiple structures in the ear and neck of land vertebrates. In most species, the second branchial arch will eventually fuse with the arches behind it. But in the frilled dragon, this arch continues instead to expand, leading to the formation of the dragon’s spectacular frill. “These changes in the development of gill arches highlight how evolution is able to “recycle” old structures into new forms playing different roles,” enthuses Michel Milinkovitch.

Mechanical process rather than molecular genetic signal

As the frill develops, the front side of the skin forms three successive folds, which make up the pre-formed ridges. Studying the formation of these ridges, the Swiss team reveals that they do not emerge from increased growth at the folding sites, but from physical forces — whereby the growth of the frill is constrained by its attachment to the neck. This causes the top layer to buckle, creating the folds of the frill. “We then simulated this process in a computer model and discovered that we could trace how the folds develop in the frills of the real lizard embryos,” continues Michel Milinkovitch.

These results provide further evidence that physical processes, as well as genetic programs, can shape tissues and organs during an embryo’s development.

Neo-nazi terrorist danger in Germany


This 2011 video says about itself:

Right-wing terrorists are thought to be behind the murders of a number of immigrants and a policewoman. One of the suspects is a woman. Right-wing extremism is widely thought to be dominated by violent men. But increasing numbers of women are joining neo-Nazi organizations. It’s estimated females now account for between 10 and 20 percent of the membership of such groups. Women are also taking on a different role — no longer limited to spreading hatred through propaganda, they’re actively perpetrating violence, too. We investigate the role of women in neo-Nazi groups.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Eight right-wing extremists accused in Chemnitz of founding a terrorist organisation

The German federal public prosecutor accuses eight members of the right-wing extremist organization “Revolution Chemnitz” of forming a terrorist organization, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR report.

The men, who are between 21 and 31 years old, were reported to have prepared terrorist attacks in September last year. Eg, they planned to launch “a popular uprising” on 3 October last year with an attack in Berlin. With their attacks, they aimed to overthrow the government and the democratic order. They were arrested two days before the planned action in Berlin.

The attacks that the group prepared were supposed to look as if they had been committed by leftist groups, reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung. In the attacks, they wanted to go further than the extreme right-wing terror group NSU, which between 2000 and 2007 caused fear by killing people of foreign ancestry.

Neonazis

The charge is based on telephone and chat traffic by the suspects. The Attorney General considers Christian K. the leader of the group. He arranged for the men to meet last September and to communicate in a regulated chat group. “You have to make it look like
the parasites have started it”, he wrote in the chat about the planned attack in Berlin.

35-year-old [anti-fascist] Daniel Hillig was stabbed to death in Chemnitz after a fight in a street with a Syrian and an Iraqi asylum seeker. Then supporters and opponents of a more generous refugee policy took to the streets en masse. Some of the eight suspects also participated in the demonstrations.

Lübcke

“The question here is whether the danger of the extreme right is being taken seriously enough”, says NOS correspondent Judith van de Hulsbeek. “That discussion has been going on for ages, especially after the murder series by the NSU, the National Socialist Underground.”

Since the murder of politician Walter Lübcke (65) at the beginning of this month, the discussion about the danger of the extreme right in Germany has revived. The suspect who is detained for the murder is a neo-Nazi known to the police.

“Now you can hear the old accusation of ‘the blind spot on the right in the justice department’ everywhere again,” says Van de Hulsbeek. “People want to know how many extreme right-wing groups there are who want to carry out attacks and how professionally they are organized. The head of the intelligence service has also admitted that they currently have too few people and do not have the entire [ne0-nazi] scene in sight.”

The ‘intelligence’ service and police are too busy spying on, and intimidating, climate activists, Muslims, punk rock musicians and leftists.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

The Lübcke murder and the return of the “Nazi problem” in Germany

25 June 2019

Nearly 75 years after the collapse of Hitler’s Third Reich, the assassination of German politician Walter Lübcke (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) on June 2 by a right-wing terrorist has exposed the long-concealed filthy truth that Germany once again has a very real Nazi problem.

For several weeks, Lübcke’s murder was downplayed by the media and virtually ignored by the political elite. But smouldering public outrage and, even more, the fear of politicians that they may be targeted by right-wing terrorists, have led to high-level admissions that neo-Nazi activity is now a major political danger in Germany.

The cover of Der Spiegel, Germany’s mass-circulation weekly news magazine, has a photo of the assassin, Stephan Ernst, and the headline: “The Brown Sleepers: Father, Neighbour, Killer? The New Danger from the Right.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), declared in Dortmund on Saturday that the murder of Lübcke was “an urgent call … to examine all areas for possible signs of right-wing extremist tendencies and networks.” Warning of “a total loss of credibility,” Merkel said that the state is “called upon to act at all levels, and the German government takes this responsibility very, very seriously.”

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (Christian Social Union, CSU), who had claimed only a few days earlier that there was no evidence of the involvement of right-wing extremist terrorist groups in the Lübcke murder, admitted that right-wing extremism has become “a serious danger.” Seehofer therefore intends to “give the constitutional state more bite” and “exert all efforts to increase security.”

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas acknowledged in a comment for the mass-circulation Bild newspaper, “Germany has a terrorism problem. We have more than 12,000 right-wing extremists committed to carrying out acts of violence in our country. 450 have been able to go undercover, even though outstanding arrest warrants for them exist.” He concluded with a call to “combat the beginnings, together, every day, and everywhere.”

All these belated statements of shock and concern reek of hypocrisy and deceit. The right-wing terrorist network is a Frankenstein monster brought into existence by the police and intelligence agencies. It is protected and encouraged by the main political parties. Together with the media and an influential layer of extreme right-wing academics, they have created a political and intellectual environment that sanctions and encourages the resurgence of fascism.

They have promoted the racist Alternative für Deutschland, whose principal leader recently trivialized the Nazi atrocities as insignificant “bird poop” that should not detract from a thousand years of “glorious” German history. According to media reports, the accused assassin of Lübcke, Ernst, donated 150 Euros to the AfD in 2016. He sent the money with the message: “Election Campaign Donation 2016: GOD BLESS YOU.”

The Grand Coalition has played the central role in building up the political authority of the AfD. The decision of the CDU/CSU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), in the aftermath of the last national election in 2017, to continue their unpopular coalition government made the AfD the leader of the official parliamentary opposition, even though it received only 12.6 percent of the vote.

The CDU and the SPD have made pacts with the AfD, affording it ever-greater influence in the state apparatus, the security forces and in the federal and state parliaments. At the same time, both parties have largely adopted the AfD’s policies.

Seehofer and Maas exemplify the coalition’s cultivation of neo-fascist elements. In the aftermath of last summer’s fascistic anti-immigrant protests in Chemnitz, Seehofer proclaimed that he would have joined the march if he was not a government minister. He insisted that “the problem of immigration is the mother of all problems in this country.”

Maas, a Social Democrat who incessantly demands an aggressive foreign policy backed by military force, has directed his vitriol against the widespread left-wing and anti-war sympathies of large sections of the German population, especially of the student and working-class youth.

At the centre of this foul political process was a carefully orchestrated campaign to relativize and legitimize the crimes of the Third Reich by claiming that Hitler’s policies were an understandable, though perhaps excessive, response to the greater evil of Bolshevism. The reactionary role played by the German government and media is made particularly clear in the case of Professor Jörg Baberowski, the prominent Hitler apologist who heads the politically connected Department of East European Studies at Berlin’s prestigious Humboldt University.

Baberowski is despised by students for his vicious diatribes against immigrants and his cynical trivialization of Nazi crimes. “Hitler was not vicious,” he told Der Spiegel in 2014. “He did not like to hear of the extermination of the Jews at his table.” Despite—or rather, because of—this, Baberowski has been lionized in the media and protected by his many friends in the state apparatus. Just days before Lübcke’s murder, the German government backed the right-wing extremist professor in an official statement, declaring that any criticism of Baberowski was an attack on “the free democratic social order.”

Now Baberowski’s Facebook friend, Erica Steinbach, has been publicly denounced as one of the spiritual authors of the murder of Lübcke. Earlier this year, Steinbach published a series of attacks on Lübcke for his defence of the acceptance of refugees in October 2015. Baberowski’s friend refused for some time to delete death threats against Lübcke posted in the comments section of her page.

Lübcke’s murder has fully confirmed the warnings of a fascist resurgence made by the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (SGP) and the World Socialist Web Site. We explained the political implications of both Baberowski’s legitimization of Hitler’s crimes and then President Joachim Gauck’s announcement of the “end of military restraint” at the 2014 Munich Security Conference.

The SGP warned, “The propaganda of the post-war era—that Germany had learnt from the terrible crimes of the Nazis, had ‘arrived at the West,’ had embraced a peaceful foreign policy, and had developed into a stable democracy—is exposed as lies. German imperialism is once again showing its real colours as it emerged historically, with all of its aggressiveness at home and abroad.”

The danger posed by the fascist resurgence is real. But there are profound differences between the political situation that existed in the 1930s and today. While Hitler was able to mobilize millions of disoriented and ruined small businessmen and poverty-stricken peasants under his banner, fascism today is not a mass movement. It is despised by the overwhelming majority. Despite all the efforts by the German ruling class to whitewash the historic crimes of German imperialism, the broad mass of the population has not forgotten the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s. A recent poll shows that 70 percent of the German population opposes any government participation of the AfD. Only 9 percent would back a coalition government including the AfD.

The strength of the AfD and the fascist killers who orbit around it is to a very great extent dependent on its support in the state apparatus, especially the police and intelligence agencies. Moreover, it can count on the sympathy, and even active encouragement, of the CDU/CSU and SPD. Gauck, who is supported by all the established parties, called, in a recent Spiegel interview published after the killing of Lübcke, for a “greater tolerance towards the right.”

A current CDU discussion paper in the state of Saxony-Anhalt openly calls for the formation of a coalition government with the AfD based on an explicitly right-wing extremist program. The paper argued that it is necessary “to once again unite the social with the national. Security from social decline with security from criminality. The desire for a home and national identity must be clearly opposed to all strands of multiculturalism in left-wing parties and groups.”

As occurred in the Weimar Republic in the 1920s, following the murders of Centre Party politician Matthias Erzberger and liberal Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau by right-wing extremists, the state apparatus, which has been infiltrated by the far-right, will be utilized to intensify the crackdown against the left.

The Grand Coalition’s latest report of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution [Verfassungsschutz] confirms that for the bourgeoisie, “enemies of democracy” are to be found not on the right, but on the political left. The AfD and its right-wing extremist supporters are referred to as the “victims“ of alleged “left-wing extremism”. But opposition to capitalism, nationalism, militarism and imperialism is denounced as “left-wing extremist” and “unconstitutional.”

The SGP has been placed on the government’s “watch list” on the grounds that it denounces the AfD, opposes the remilitarization of Germany, and calls for a socialist society.

The SGP is not intimidated and will not be deterred by this political threat. The SGP is taking legal action against the Verfassungsschutz. It is appealing to the only social force that can defeat the right-wing political conspiracy: the German, European and international working class.

How young oysters move, new research


This 2013 video from the USA says about itself:

Who Killed Crassostrea virginica: The Fall & Rise of Chesapeake Bay Oysters – Promo

While confronting head-on the conflicting claims about the calamities that struck down the world’s richest oyster grounds, this fresh perspective re-evaluates the roles of three groups that combined to kill off most of the oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. The roles of watermen who fish the oysters, oyster farmers who grow them, and scientists who study them, are illuminated by recent research in science labs, along the bottom of the Bay and deep in long-forgotten historical archives. Directed and produced by Michael W. Fincham, Maryland Sea Grant College. Presented by Maryland Public Television.

From Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama in the USA:

Playing ‘tag’: Tracking movement of young oysters

June 24, 2019

A new publication in the journal Estuaries and Coasts investigates the use of a fluorescent dye to track movements of young oysters. The publication, “Field mark-recapture of calcein-stained larval oysters (Crassostrea virginica) in a freshwater-dominated estuary,” provides new knowledge on methods for tracking oysters in low salinity environments common to coastal waters, particularly in the northern Gulf of Mexico. This information is important to understand where oysters settle and grow compared to locations of parent stocks and to guide management practices of oysters or any marine species with larval stages that live in the water column.

Free-living aquatic animals have the potential to be transported long distances during early life development. These movements can influence adult distributions and subsequently how populations are connected. By understanding larval transport pathways, we can better inform restoration efforts of remaining marine invertebrate populations globally. This information is particularly important for commercial species such as oysters, which are a valuable resource for Alabama and other coastal waters.

“By knowing where larvae originate and where they end up, we can determine what locations are better for oyster populations and provide managers with information to select sites for oyster restoration,” said Haley Gancel, Ph.D. candidate, who is lead author on the research study. Gancel is a student at the University of South Alabama and works with Dr. Ruth H. Carmichael at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Determining larval transport pathways is a challenge due to the microscopic size of larvae, high mortalities rates, and dilution in the marine environment. In this study researchers used a harmless fluorescent dye called calcein to track oyster larval movements in Mobile Bay, AL and found that oyster larvae are transported from lower Mobile Bay to Mississippi Sound, using dominate freshwater flow paths.

The approach used in this study can be applied to a wider range of marine species and help understand how larvae are transported in the marine environment and aid in restoration and management of this and other species throughout their range.

Children in Trump’s horror jails, infants die


This 21 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

The Associated Press reports migrant children are being neglected at a Texas border facility near El Paso. According to the report, children are not being provided with adequate food, water or proper sanitation. CBS News correspondent Mireya Villareal has been covering the situation on the border and joins CBSN to discuss.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

250 migrant children taken away from horrible reception location in Texas

In the US state Texas, some 250 children have been taken away from a border police reception jail where they were detained for weeks in dire circumstances.

The location, near the border town El Paso, was overcrowded. Lawyers who visited the site last week sounded the alarm. The older children had to take care of babies and small children. The lawyers reported, eg, about a 4-year-old child who had not been washed for days, and hungry and inconsolable children.

Some have been detained for three weeks, while it has been legally established that children cannot stay in a temporary reception location for more than 72 hours. Some children had crossed the border with Mexico by themselves, but according to the lawyers, some were also separated from their parents at the border.

“Help urgently needed”

In an e-mail to news agency Associated Press, the border patrol admitted that the location is not suitable for accommodating young children. …

The children's jail near El Paso, Texas, USA. AFP photo

Veronica Escobar, member of the House of Representatives on behalf of the Republican Party

No, NOS; Ms Escobar is a Democratic Party representative.

criticizes President Trump’s policy on migrant children on Twitter. …

It is not clear where the 250 children are now. According to Escobar, some have been transferred to another location in the area. Human rights organizations also have doubts about that jail. Thirty children are now staying in the reception location at El Paso.

Yesterday, the Texas authorities reported that seven migrants were found near the border in the last week who were killed in the extreme heat. Among them are a woman with two babies and a small child. They had probably died days ago when they were found.

By Eric London in the USA:

Horror across US-Mexico border with multiple parents, infants dead

25 June 2019

Catastrophe struck Central American immigrants attempting to flee imperialist war and violence across the US-Mexico border last weekend, generating widespread outrage in the Latin American working class.

On Sunday morning, US officials discovered the bodies of four people—a 20-year-old, a young child and two babies—dead in the Texas desert on the US side of the Rio Grande, known to Latin Americans as the Rio Bravo. The Guatemalan embassy has since identified the young people as Guatemalan nationals. Temperatures in the area reached 113 degrees Sunday.

The FBI has announced it is reviewing the deaths, a highly unusual step which raises questions about whether the immigrants were murdered on the US side of the border. Regardless of the exact cause of death, the immigrants were killed by the policies of the Trump administration.

The same day, a young father and his infant daughter drowned attempting to cross the river on the border of Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Tamaulipas. ElSalvador.com wrote, “Sunday afternoon, a Salvadoran and his 1 year, 11-month-old daughter were overcome by the current of the Rio Bravo in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico when they attempted to cross it to enter the US.”

The father was named Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramirez, he was just 25 years old. His daughter, whose arm was draped around her father’s back when their bodies washed up on the shore, was named Valeria.

Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramirez and his daughter Valeria, dead in the Rio Grande river [Credit: Julia Le Duc]

This photo by Julia Le Duc shows Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramirez and his daughter Valeria, dead in the Rio Grande river.

Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramirez, his daughter Valeria and his partner, when Óscar and Valeria were still alive

This photo shows Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramirez, his daughter Valeria and his partner, when Óscar and Valeria were still alive.

The deaths have sparked mass outrage across Latin America and engendered even deeper hatred against the Trump administration and American imperialism. Practically every major newspaper across the region ran banner headlines describing the deaths and a litany of other horrors confronting immigrants fleeing north.

Salvadorans were outraged after Mexican police assassinated a young Salvadoran woman traveling to the US along Mexico’s east coast this weekend. Elsalvador.com wrote:

“María Senaida Escobar, 19 years old, died after being shot in the head when Mexican police from Veracruz intercepted the truck in which she and other immigrants were driving to the United States.”

On Friday, Mexican National Guardsmen wielding assault rifles were filmed tearing two Nicaraguan mothers from the arms of their young daughters at the border with the US in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. Photos of the National Guardsmen in battle gear frog marching the crying mothers back to Mexico was widely viewed on social media throughout Mexico and Central America and particularly in Nicaragua.

The Trump administration was forced to relocate 300 immigrant children from a concentration camp in Texas where they were being housed under filthy conditions by the fascistic guards.

The New York Times reported: “The move came days after a group of lawyers was given access to the station in Clint and said they saw children as young as 8 years old caring for infants, toddlers with no diapers, and children who said they were waking up at night because they were hungry.”

The lawyers “said that children lacked access to private bathrooms, soap, toothbrushes or toothpaste. Many were wearing the same dirty clothes that they had crossed the border in weeks earlier.”

The children were whisked off to a variety of other concentration camps, including a tent encampment outside of El Paso, Texas.

The attacks on immigrant workers escaping home countries devastated by decades of US imperialist violence has provoked outrage in the American population as well.

Beyond a small segment of die-hard Trump supporters, the masses of people regard the migrant deaths and the deterioration of conditions in the concentration camps with disgust and shame.

Over the weekend, a group of protesters gathered at the Fort Sill military base in the Midwestern state of Oklahoma, the former Japanese internment camp that the Trump administration is opening for detaining 1,400 immigrant children. The group included a number of elderly Japanese Americans who themselves were interned as young children, and one man who was born in a camp in Topaz, Utah.

Military police interrupted the protest and screamed at the former internees: “What is it you people don’t understand!” one soldier shouted, demanding the protesters leave immediately.

“My earliest recollection is being on the train with my family, leaving that camp”, Satsuki Ina, a 75-year-old woman, told Newsweek. “I was two years old.”

Mike Ishii, whose mother, aunts and grandmother were detained in internment camps, also travelled to Oklahoma from New York. “I am just so heartbroken and outraged,” he told Newsweek.

“For me, I don’t feel like I have a choice. I have to go. I need to go there. I need to register my opposition and I think that is a sentiment that is shared by a lot of people in my community. As soon as I first saw the headlines coming out about this policy to bring 1,400 children to Fort Sill, I felt like I just had to be there.”

On Saturday, Trump announced he was postponing by two weeks plans for a massive 10-city series of raids to arrest 2,000 immigrant families at the request of Congressional Democratic leaders Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.

The Democrats, who never raised doubts when Democratic President Barack Obama deported 3 million people, undoubtedly warned Trump that his raids would likely provoke mass demonstrations that they feared neither party could control. Now the two parties are agreeing to provide billions more to fund Trump’s American Gestapo, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

ICE INCARCERATES ILL, PREGNANT MOTHER Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to deport a severely ill pregnant mother with her two children on Wednesday, even though she’s still fighting her removal order in court. [HuffPost]

KIDS REMOVED FROM DANGEROUS DETENTION CENTER The U.S. government has removed most of the children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas following reports that more than 300 kids detained there were caring for each other with inadequate food, water and sanitation. [AP]

Saving frogs from deadly virus


This 2010 video from England says about itself:

Looking at a couple of common frogs I found in my garden.

From the University of Exeter in England:

Skin bacteria could save frogs from virus

June 21, 2019

Bacteria living on the skin of frogs could save them from a deadly virus, new research suggests.

Ranavirus kills large numbers of European common frogs — the species most often seen in UK ponds — and is one of many threats facing amphibians worldwide.

Scientists from the University of Exeter and ZSL’s Institute of Zoology compared the bacteria living on frogs — known as their “microbiome” — from groups with varying histories of ranavirus.

They found that populations with a history of outbreaks had a “distinct” skin microbiome when compared to those where no outbreaks had occurred.

“Whether a population of frogs becomes diseased might depend on the species of bacteria living on their skin”, said Dr Lewis Campbell.

“Ranavirus is widespread, but its presence in the environment doesn’t necessarily mean frogs become diseased — there appears to be some other factor that determines this.

“The skin is often the first infection point in ranavirus, and the first stage of the disease can be skin sores.

“It’s possible that the structure of a frog’s microbiome — the mix of bacteria on its skin — can inhibit the growth and spread of the virus so it can’t reach a level that causes disease.

“While the results of our study demonstrate a clear link between the frog skin microbiome and disease, further research will be needed to understand the exact mechanisms which cause this relationship to form.”

Laboratory trials will help establish whether a history of ranavirus infection causes the microbiome differences, or whether these are pre-existing differences that predispose some populations to infection.

The scientists tested the skin bacteria of more than 200 wild adult European common frogs (Rana temporaria) from ten populations.

They found that the microbiome of individual frogs is usually most similar to that of others in the same population (those living in the same geographical area), but that populations with the same disease history were more similar to each other than to populations of the opposite disease history.

Even though amphibians can partially “curate” their microbiome by producing proteins that benefit specific bacteria, they are limited to those bacteria which are available in their environment.

Ranavirus can wipe out entire common frog populations and, though the new findings need further investigation, the researchers hope their work could help the species.

Dr Xavier Harrison said: “There’s growing evidence that skin bacteria may protect amphibians from lethal pathogens such as chytrid fungus, and that we can develop cocktails of probiotic bacteria to prevent vulnerable individuals from contracting a disease.

“Our work suggests that given enough effort and research, similar probiotic therapies may be effective against ranavirus.”