A popular salt lake in Turkey turns reddish orange in color

A view from the “Salt Lake” in Aksaray, Turkey. (Photo courtesy: Murat Oner Tas/Anadolu Agency)

Due to an enormous bloom of Dunaliella salinas algae, a popular salt lake in Turkey has turned an orangey red color instead of the conventional blue, green or muddy brown.

Located in the central Anatolia region, Tuz Gola is the second-largest lake in Turkey, and is slowly evaporating amid the summer heat.

“Because the lake is losing water, the salinity is getting higher and higher, which kills off a lot of the plankton that normally eat this red algae,” professor Christopher Gobler of Stony Brook University marine ecology research told ABC News.

Gobler said during dry months, the lake often attracts tourists who can walk on the salt flats until water starts returning during winter months.

“I wouldn’t recommend drinking the lake’s water, but some people actually grow Dunaliella salinas algae for its antioxidant properties,” he added.

The lake is also home to pink flamingos. “The reason they’re pink is because they get their coloration through the food web, which starts with the algae,” Gobler said.

“This algae gets eaten by plankton, which gets eaten by fish and other organisms that then get eaten by flamingos.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46