Scientists solve the Salt Lake’s crimson mystery
AKSARAY - Anatolia News Agency
Scientists reveal that the Salt Lake’s reddish coloring was produced by tiny algae called ‘dunaliella salina.’ The crimson color intensified In the summer season.
Scientists appear to have finally solved the mystery of why the banks of Central Anatolia’s Salt Lake (Tuz Gölü) turn crimson, revealing that the reddish coloring was produced by tiny algae called “dunaliella salina.”
Murat Kaya, the head of the Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Department at Aksaray University, said they had been conducting studies on the phenomenon for some time and added that there was an algal bloom – the reproduction of a specific kind of algae in a specific region.
“In the summer season, the crimson color intensified, but in winter with the rising water level, the redness disappears,” he said.
“The reason for the crimson color stems from a pigment called ‘beta carotene’ and traces of this pigment are found in three living creatures. One of them is ‘Artemia Salina’ but the mentioned creature cannot survive in such salinity,” he said. “Another possibility is an algae species called ‘Dunaliella Salina,’ which lives in a saline environment. The third one is a bacterium called ‘halo bacterium.’”
Özge Balkız, the coordinator of the local Nature Protection Center, said she shared the photos depicting the redness of Salt Lake with scholars in France.
Like their Turkish counterparts, French scholars concluded that the crimson color was caused by the algae “Dunaliealla Salina.”
“Flamingos feed on artemia salina. And artemia salina’s food is ‘Dunaliella Salina,’” said Balkız, whose research focuses on flamingos.
“They exist in a saline environment. When saltiness increases, the amount of algae increases, too. So we can say that the more salty the environment, the more algae exist,” she said.