A Pink History
Hutt Lagoon Pink Lake - Story of a Vanishing Lagoon
In a Nutshell
Most people wouldn't have pleasant images come to mind if the word "algae" was said to them. For those in Western Australia the word association might be with the Swan River Algal Bloom, another phenomenon that is detrimental to the water it resides in.
However, much like mushrooms are a yummy form of fungus, the algae in the Hutt Lagoon Pink lake, Dunaliella salina, is a positive addition to this salt lake.
That's because when this algae is exposed to sunlight, it produces beta-carotene which gives off a red pigment. The red pigment of the beta-carotene and the white salt lake bed, create the beautiful Pink colour.
Another amazing part of this algae reaction, is that it doesn't just make the lake pink! Depending on the time of day you can get a whole stack of amazing colours (related to the red family)
Beta-carotene is a naturally forming red-orange chemical found in carrots and other vegetables.
It is used by the human body to create Vitamin A, and is an antioxidant.
Beta-carotene is often used in vitamin supplements and skin care products, due to its links to promoting healthy skin.