Linnaeus was right all along: Ulva and Enteromorpha are not distinct genera.

Christine Maggs, J. Blomster, H.S. Hayden, P.C. Silva, M.J. Stanhope, J.R. Waaland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

500 Citations (Scopus)


Ulva, one of the first Linnaean genera, was later circumscribed to consist of green seaweeds with distromatic blades, and Enteromorpha Link was established for tubular forms. Although several lines of evidence suggest that these generic constructs are artificial, Ulva and Enteromorpha have been maintained as separate genera. Our aims were to determine phylogenetic relationships among taxa currently attributed to Ulva, Enteromorpha, Umbraulva Bae et I.K. Lee and the monotypic genus Chloropelta C.E. Tanner, and to make any nomenclatural changes justified by our findings. Analyses of nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer DNA (ITS nrDNA) (29 ingroup taxa including the type species of Ulva and Enteromorpha), the chloroplast-encoded rbcL gene (for a subset of taxa) and a combined data set were carried out. All trees had a strongly supported clade consisting of all Ulva, Enteromorpha and Chloropelta species, but Ulva and Enteromorpha were not monophyletic. The recent removal of Umbraulva olivascens (P.J.L. Dangeard) Bae et I.K. Lee from Ulva is supported, although the relationship of the segregate genus Umbraulva to Ulvaria requires further investigation. These results, combined with earlier molecular and culture data, provide strong evidence that Ulva, Enteromorpha and Chloropelta are not distinct evolutionary entities and should not be recognized as separate genera. A comparison of traits for surveyed species revealed few synapomorphies. Because Ulva is the oldest name, Enteromorpha and Chloropelta are here reduced to synonymy with Ulva, and new combinations are made where necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-294
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Phycology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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