Some of the salt ponds circling the south bay exude a crimson glow. This is not the blood of butchered sea lions, not even the ghastly remains of dying microorganisms, as I used to believe. It is, in fact, evidence of blue-green algae.
On Oct 29, 1999, I received an email, titled "Your inaccurate musings on salt ponds," from the Public Affairs Manager of Cargill Salt, Newark, CA. I was chided for stating that microorganisms were dying in Cargill's salt ponds. As it turns out, Dunaliella, also known as blue-green algae, occurs naturally in salt water, and actually proliferate in highly saline conditions. As the salinity increases, the green pigment contained in the protoplasm of Dunaliella turns red. So what you are seeing is red blue-green algae.
Cargill Salt claims the algae does not suffer during this color transformation, but I am not convinced. I will contact the animal rights activists PETA who will conduct their own, unbiased, testing.
These ponds seems like a good place to put a wetlands, which would free the Dunaliella from their unnatural bondage and humiliating mutilation. I say, free the algae.
San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge: