Back in 2013, YouTube channel SciShow lesson brought viewers to Lake Hillier, an unusually salty lake with a bubblegum-pink hue located in Western Australia.
Three years later, the episode spawned a research project on its own. Researchers with the eXtreme Microbiome Project (XMP), launched a real scientific investigation and profiled the microbial life in Lake Hillier.
They found the algae in question that produces the red hues, but that the color of the lake primarily came from halobacteria and other extremophilic (extreme habitat-loving) microbes that are pinkish in color. The researchers also found a bacteria called Dechloromonas aromatica, which breaks down compounds in chemical solvents. The researchers believe this may be evidence of the lake’s history as a leather tanning station in the early 1900s.