The World I See - Buffy Redsecker

Creature from the Pink Lagoon

In the late spring of '05, my friends on the island of Isabela, Galapagos, Ecuador, couldn't wait for me to see the color the water had turned in the Lagoon just outside of town. They said "pink" but I assumed they were exaggerating. They were not! The water was HOT pink. The color of a rabies vaccination. A very unnatural shade to find in nature. Neither this Black Necked Stilt, nor the algae bloom causeing the scary color are endemic to the Galapagos Islands, though both are known visitors. The Black Necked Stilt comes annually, and the algae seems to show up more frequently in the last few years as the population on the Island increases. I believe this species of Algae to be Oscillatoria rubescens, which can form in bodies of water that have been enriched in dissolved nutrients. The resulting bloom often depletes the water oxygen, and can cause skin irritations in swimmers.

(reference: http://www-biol.paisley.ac.uk/bioref/Eubacteria/Oscillatoria.html and http://www.water.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/D00E8CE3-33C6-4E45-AD7D-7972AB33CBF5/0/oscillatoria.JPG)

algae bloompinkpink waterwaterblack necked stiltshorebirdgalapagosIsla Isabelaoscillatoriaalgaelagoonpollution