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Climate Change Threatens The Iconic Pink Lakes Of Western Australia

The iconic pink lakes of southern Western Australia could face a threat as experts warn that climate change might alter their distinctive colour and dry them up entirely. 

These vibrant lakes, such as Hutt Lagoon and Lake Hillier, draw thousands of visitors each year.

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According to Angus Lawrie, a salt lake ecology specialist at Murdoch University, the rising temperatures and reduced rainfall could potentially turn more salt lakes pink across Western Australia. 

However, he also cautions that some lakes may face the risk of drying up entirely.

“We are expecting that these lakes are going to receive less water and hold water for shorter periods of time. Because pink lakes tend to be at the more saline end of salt lakes, we are probably expecting to see more pink lakes,” Mr Lawrie said.

The distinctive pink colour of these lakes is a result of specific environmental conditions required for micro-organisms to flourish. 

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Lawrie said changes to the lakes could have significant effects on the organisms that inhabit these environments.

“If we see a decline in the habitat quality of salt lake environments, that will have really serious flow-on effects,” he added.

Mr Lawrie also said these lakes provide crucial food sources for various bird species, including both Australian and migratory birds. 

The potential decline in habitat quality could pose a threat to these birds, particularly those that travel long distances to take advantage of the salt lake ecosystems.“There is a real need to do further studies on these animals because there is not enough that we know about their ecology, which has important implications for their conservation.”

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