Lac Rose

So I obsessed enough about this amazing lake that my students were sick of hearing me talk about it. The pink hue is created by the Dunaliella Salina algae. They are spectacular little organisms that produce high concentrations of beta carotene to protect against intense sunlight and glycerol to maintain osmotic pressure. Apparently they are farmed in places to harvest the beta carotene. 

These algae are halophiles so they can survive in very high salt concentrations. The lake has up to forty percent salinity in places. Harvesting the salt requires intense labor. It is harvested by men and women by hand. They are often people that travel from Guinea to Senegal to work. They have to cover themselves in shea butter to minimize the damage to their skin. They have to harvest about three boatloads a day to make a living. A portion is given to the boat owner and the rest is split equally among the women and the men. The salt is also dried in large piles on the shore. And like the lake the salt changes color with the sun. 

Lac Rose

Lac Rose

Yes...it really is pink!

Yes...it really is pink!

Salt boats

Salt boats

Salt harvester

Salt harvester