161,688 species and infraspecific names are in the database, 22,723 images, 63,673 bibliographic items, 473,640 distributional records.

Ulva Linnaeus, 1753, nom. et typ. cons.

Empire Eukaryota
Kingdom Plantae
Subkingdom Viridiplantae
Infrakingdom Chlorophyta infrakingdom
Phylum Chlorophyta
Subphylum Chlorophytina
Class Ulvophyceae
Order Ulvales
Family Ulvaceae

Holotype species: Ulva lactuca Linnaeus

Original publication and holotype designation: Linnaeus, C. (1753). Species plantarum, exhibentes plantas rite cognitas, ad genera relatas, cum differentiis specificis, nominibus trivialibus, synonymis selectis, locis natalibus, secundum systema sexuale digestas. Vol. 2 pp. [i], 561-1200, [1-30, index], [i, err.]. Holmiae [Stockholm]: Impensis Laurentii Salvii.
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Taxonomic status: currently recognized as a distinct genus.

Gender: This genus name is currently treated as feminine.

Nomenclatural notes
Opinions on the origin of the word "Ulva" are many and varied. The most plausible is that pre-Linnaean authors took it from a Latin word from a sedge or marsh plant (Ulva palustris), mentioned in Pliny and Virgil. It may have originated as a Proto-Indo-European word for "to grow". A Celtic origin for the word seems unsubstantiated. - (21 Jul 2017) - M.D. Guiry

Description: Mature thallus a flattened distromatic blade in which the two cell layers are developmentally independent but closely adherent. Blades can be broadly expanded, irregularly lobed, cuneate, linear, lanceolate, oblanceolate, or deeply divided into linear lacinae. Some species show regular perforations such as U. reticulata, or marginal dentations such as U. rigida, U. scandinavica and U. taeniata. Growth of blade by diffuse cell divisions primarily along the margins. Usually attached to substrate by rhizoidal cells in a basal holdfast and/or rhizoidal extensions of cells in the lower portion of the blade or occasionally extending along part or the entire longitudinal axis of the blade. Rhizoidal extensions running between the two cell layers of the blade. Vegetative cells with a single parietal chloroplast and 1 or more pyrenoids. Vegetative cells uninucleate, rhizoidal cells often multinucleate. Chromosome counts range between 5 and 13 chromosomes in the haploid thallus, with the most common number being 10. Vegetative reproduction by fragmentation or by growth of new upright thalli from basal cells and/or persistant holdfasts. Life history typically an alternation of isomorphic, unisexual haploid gametophytes and diploid sporophyte. Meiosis shown to occur during sporogenesis. With the exception of rhizoidal cells and some basal cells, all cells of the blade capable of becoming reproductive. Asexual reproduction by quadriflagellated zoospores; sexual reproduction by biflagellated anisogamous, or rarely isogamous gametes. Swarmers released from mother cells one at a time through a pore on the surface of the blade. Gametes positively phototactic; after syngamy motile zygotes become negatively phototactic. Zoospores initially positively phototactic, later becoming negatively phototactic. Germination usually direct, but a germination tube can develop prior to cell division in some species such as U. arasakii and U. californica. Germling differentiates into a uniseriate filament attached by a basal disk usually composed of primary attaching cells and rhizoidal extensions of cells in lower region of filament. In a few species a basal disk develops prior to development of the upright filament. The upright filament later becomes pluriseriate by repeated longitudinal cell divisions perpendicular to the surface of the filament. Separation of cells along the longitudinal axis lead to the development of a tubular monostromatic germling. The tube eventually becomes compressed with the walls adhering to form a distromatic blade. Extensive genetic analysis of Ulva mutabilis and other species has demonstrated a wide range of life history variations in which the reproductive and cytological cycles do not always coincide. Gametes can develop parthenogenetically into haploid gametophytes, haploid sporophytes, diploid sporophytes or sporophytes that are partially haploid and diploid. Asexual populations that reproduce by biflagellated swarmers reported from some areas may result when conditions favor parthenogenetic over sexual reproduction. A cosmopolitan genus with species in all oceans and estuaries of the world. Species of Ulva have traditionally been based on morphological, anatomical and cytological characteristics such as shape, size, presence or absence of dentation, thickness, cell dimensions and number of pyrenoids. Many studies have shown that these characteristics can be highly variable within species, varying with age, reproductive state, wave exposure, tidal factors, temperature, salinity, light and biological factors such as grazing. In recent years developmental patterns in culture, reproductive details and the apparent inability of species to interbreed have been used to evaluate species concepts based on morphological and anatomical characteristics.

Information contributed by: C. Tanner. The most recent alteration to this page was made on 29 Aug 2011 by M.D. Guiry.

Common names

(as Ulva)
Japanese: Awosa, Aosa (Chapman & Chapman 1980).

Portugese: Alface do mar (Oliveira 1947).

Numbers of names and species: There are 408 species names in the database at present, as well as 199 infraspecific names. Of the species names, 85 have been flagged as accepted taxonomically on the basis of the listed literature under the species name. In some instances, opinions on taxonomic validity differ from author to author and users are encouraged to form their own opinion. AlgaeBase is a work in progress and should not be regarded as a definitive source only as a guide to the literature..

Names: ('C' indicates a name that is accepted taxonomically; 'S' a homotypic or heterotypic synonym; 'U' indicates a name of uncertain taxonomic status, but which has been subjected to some verification nomenclaturally; 'P' indicates a preliminary AlgaeBase entry that has not been subjected to any kind of verification. For more information on a species click on it to activate a link to the Species database):

Click here to also show infraspecific names in the list below.

Verification of data
Users are responsible for verifying the accuracy of information before use, as noted on the website Content page.

Some of the descriptions included in AlgaeBase were originally from the unpublished Encyclopedia of Algal Genera, organised in the 1990s by Dr Bruce Parker on behalf of the Phycological Society of America (PSA) and intended to be published in CD format. These AlgaeBase descriptions are now being continually updated, and each current contributor is identified above. The PSA and AlgaeBase warmly acknowledge the generosity of all past and present contributors and particularly the work of Dr Parker.

Descriptions of chrysophyte genera were subsequently published in J. Kristiansen & H.R. Preisig (eds.). 2001. Encyclopedia of Chrysophyte Genera. Bibliotheca Phycologica 110: 1-260.

Created: 29 December 2000 by M.D. Guiry

Verified by: 29 August 2011 by M.D. Guiry

Linking to this page: http://www.algaebase.org/search/genus/detail/?genus_id=33

Citing AlgaeBase
Please cite this record as:
M.D. Guiry in Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 2021. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. http://www.algaebase.org; searched on 16 June 2021.

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