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These frog ‘saunas’ could help endangered species fight off a deadly fungus

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Download the Nature Podcast 3 July 2024

In this episode:

00:47 Searching for dark matter in black holes

Researchers have been scanning the skies looking for black holes that formed at the very beginning of the Universe — one place where elusive and mysterious dark matter is thought to be located. If these black holes did contain dark matter, they would be especially massive and so researchers would be able to see the bending of light as they pass in front of stars. Such events would be rare, so to find them researchers trawled through a decades-long dataset. However, despite the large number of observations, the researchers didn’t find many examples of these events and none that were long enough to show signs of much dark matter. So, the hunt for enigmatic material goes on.

Research Article: Mróz et al.

09:42 Research Highlights

How some comb jellies survive the crushing ocean depths, and how giving cash to mothers in low-income households can boost time and money spent on children.

Research Highlight: Deep-sea creatures survive crushing pressures with just the right fats

Research Highlight: Families given cash with no strings spend more money on kids

12:39 A simple, solution to tackle a deadly frog disease

A simple ‘sauna’ built of bricks and a supermarket-bought greenhouse, can help frogs rid themselves of a devastating fungal disease, new research has shown. Although options to prevent or treat infection are limited, the fungus that causes the disease chytridiomycosis has an achilles heel: it can’t survive at warm temperatures. A team in Australia used this knowledge to their advantage to develop saunas where frogs can warm themselves to clear an infection. Frogs who spent time in these hot environments were able to shake the fungus, and gained some immunity to subsequent infections. Although this research involved only one type of frog, it offers some hope in tackling a deadly disease that has driven multiple species to extinction.

Research Article: Waddle et al.

News and Views: Mini saunas save endangered frogs from fungal disease

20:06 Briefing Chat

This time, we discuss what the upcoming UK election could mean for science, and the return of rock samples from the Moon’s far side.

Nature News: UK general election: five reasons it matters for science

Nature News: First ever rocks from the Moon’s far side have landed on Earth

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Source: Ecology - nature.com

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