Environment Update: Mass fish death in Singapore and Blood red lake in Turkey

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There have been various interesting and worrying reports on the environment and the changes that are occurring every second on this Earth. Recently, two news updates caught our eye; about the mass fish deaths in Singapore and the Lake in Turkey that has turned blood red.

Mass fish deaths at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Singapore, again

This article is based on materials provided by The Straits Times. Content may be modified for length.

Close to a thousand fish went belly up at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on last week, in a repeat of a similar incident last year.

National water agency PUB said that the latest incident at Kallang River, which runs through the park, affected about 800 to 900 fish of varying sizes. They were mainly cichlids, a diverse family which includes the popular aquarium fish luohan and the food fish tilapia. Fish specimens have been sent to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore for examination, and investigations are ongoing, said a spokesman for PUB. It is monitoring the situation.

While the cause of the mass fish deaths is a mystery for now, experts suspect that, like the incident in February last year which killed about 400 fish, it could be related to the hot weather and reduced rainfall (Click here to read about large scale fish death in Singapore due to plankton blooms). Dr Tan Heok Hui, a fish expert from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) department of biological sciences, explained that this could have led to low oxygen levels in the water. When there is less rain, the water becomes clearer, so sunlight can better penetrate and algae grows faster, explained Dr Tan, who is also a museum officer at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

Water samples that the PUB collected for testing showed that the raw water quality, including dissolved oxygen levels, was within the normal range, it said. The agency received a report of dead fish at around 7.40pm on Monday, and cleanup operations since then have been largely completed.

“As of now, the water quality of the river in Bishan Park is normal, live fishes can be seen in the water and the public can continue with their activities at Kallang River at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park,” said the PUB spokesman. Dr Chou Loke Ming, adjunct research professor at the Tropical Marine Science Institute at NUS, said the mass fish deaths are worrying, and that it could happen again. “Most would point to the changing climate and that may indeed be true, but we need to investigate to be sure,” he said.

Turkish Lake turns blood red due to large algae bloom

This article is based on materials provided by ABCNews. Content may be modified for length.

A popular salt lake in Turkey recently turned a deep red color thanks to an enormous bloom of Dunaliella salinas algae.

Saline lake Tuz Gola, the second-largest lake in Turkey, is slowly evaporating amid the summer heat, according to Stony Brook University marine ecology research professor Dr. Christopher Gobler. “Because the lake is losing water, the salinity is getting higher and higher, which kills off a lot of the plankton that normally eat this red algae,” Gobler said. “So now, the algae is thriving and will probably red until the lake fully evaporates, probably next month during the peak of summer heat.”

During dry months, the lake often attracts tourists who can literally walk on the salt flats until water starts coming back during winter months, Gobler said. But for now, tourists can wade in the water that filled with harmless algae, according to Gobler. “I wouldn’t recommend drinking the lake’s water, but some people actually grow Dunaliella salinas algae for its antioxidant properties,” Gobler said.

He added that pink flamingos currently at the lake can thank the “incredibly colored” algae for their vibrant color. “The lake is home to pink flamingos, and the reason they’re pink is because they get their coloration through the food web, which starts with the algae,” he said. “This algae gets eaten by plankton, which gets eaten by fish and other organism that then get eaten by flamingos.”

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Scientist-entrepreneur-manager-journalist: -Co-founder, Author; Former Assistant Editor and Director, Biotechin.Asia, Biotech Media Pte. Ltd.; -Founder & CEO, SciGlo (www.sciglo.com); -Programme Management Officer, SBIC, A*STAR (former Research Fellow). --Sandhya graduated from University of Madras, India (B.Sc Microbiology and M.Sc Biotechnology) and received her Ph.D from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked on oxidative stress in skin, skeletal, adipose tissue and cardiac muscle for a decade from 2006-2016. She is currently working as a Programme Management Officer handling projects and grants at Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Earlier to this she was a Research Fellow in the Fat Metabolism and Stem Cell Group at SBIC. Sandhya was also the Vice President and Publicity Chair of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc Society) (2014-2016). Recently she founded a platform for scientists - SciGlo (www.sciglo.com) and is a startup mentor at Vertical VC (Finland). She is an ardent lover of science and enjoys globe trotting and good vegetarian food.