Sciene Voyages Life And Physics
National Geographic Society
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A small plane flies over one of the soda lakes of eastern Africa (left). Dotted with islands of foam, where liquid and gas bubble through its salt crust, Tanzania's Lake Natron appears to be a wasteland. Yet, notice the color. Pink algae bloom everywhere. After a rain, fresh water collects on the salt flats, and there the algae survive. The algae feed the flamingos (below) that flock to the lake by the millions to breed, and the birds' droppings feed the algae. The algae also give the birds' ' feathers their pink hue. Moreover, the harsh salt crust keeps many predators from crossing the treacherous flats—thereby providing a safe place for the flamingos to nest. Thus, living and nonliving parts of the environment—the algae and the salt crust—work together to support life. In this unit, you will learn that complex webs connect living things and are key to supporting life, even in hostile environments.
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