According to the Associated Press, the spot where the water suddenly turned pink was a coastal pond at the Keala Pond National Wildlife Refuge on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Mr Brett Wolfe, manager of the reserve, said: “I was told about the incident by someone walking on the beach. He called me and said ‘something strange is happening on the lake’.”
At first, Mr. Wolfe was concerned that the bright pink color might be caused by an algae bloom, but laboratory results showed that toxic algae were not the cause of the phenomenon. Instead, Halobacteria – a salt-loving bacteria – may be the culprit.
Halobacteria are a type of archaea, or single-celled organisms, that thrive in water with high salt content. At present, the salinity of the water of this pond is more than 70 parts per thousand, which is twice the salinity of sea water.
However, Mr Wolfe said DNA analysis would be required to accurately identify the organism that caused the pond water to turn pink.
Additionally, drought in Maui may also contribute to this phenomenon. But this is just a hypothesis as no one in the reserve has ever seen the pond turning pink like this before.
According to Wolfe, this pond has experienced periods of drought and high salinity in the past, but it is not as pink as it is now.
Since Oct. 30, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff have been monitoring the color of the water in the pond, and are working with the Department of Aquatic Resources and the Hawaii State Department of Health to determine the cause, the AP reported. Find more solutions.
Meanwhile, many curious tourists flocked to the reserve after pictures of the pink pond surfaced on social networks.
“We want them to hear about the conservation of endangered native waterbirds as well as the renewal of our wetlands. But no, they come to see the pink color of the pond water,” Wolfe joked.
Keala Pond National Wildlife Refuge is a coastal salt marsh that provides nesting, feeding, and resting places for the endangered Hawaiian stilt bird called aeo and the Hawaiian ginseng ale gluo.
Keliya Pond is also home to many migratory birds during winter.
Mr Wolfe said the pond’s pink water did not appear to be harmful to the birds.
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