Ulvaria obscura

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Ulvaria obscura
Ulva lactuca - Sowerby.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Phylum: Chlorophyta
Class: Ulvophyceae
Order: Ulvales
Family: Ulvaceae
Genus: Ulvaria
U. obscura
Binomial name
Ulvaria obscura
(Kützing) Gayral ex Bliding

Ulvaria obscura is an intertidal and subtidal benthic marine algae found in temperate and Arctic ocean waters around the world.[1][2]


Ulvaria obscura is a common marine algae, typically identified in algal blooms referred to as "Green Tides".[3][4] The species is distinct in its ability to produce the neurotransmitter dopamine as a herbivore defense mechanism.[5][6] The species has a wide tolerance to various growth conditions, surviving temperatures between 5-29 °C, salinities from freshwater to complete saturation, and grows well under various light intensities.[7] The species growth rate responds to increased dissolved inorganic nitrogen availability, making the species a possible indicator of anthropogenic pollution leading to eutrophication.[8][9][10]


The thalli of Ulvaria obscura are bladelike, usually less than 5 cm tall and 8 cm thick, consisting of a single cell layer, and typically have between 2 and 6 pyrenoids per cell.[11] Thalli turn from green to dark brown upon desiccation due to the oxidation of dopamine within the tissues.[6]


  1. ^ Lindeberg, Mandy; Lindstrom, Sandra. "Ulvaria obscura var. blyttii". Seaweed of Alaska. Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  2. ^ Latala, Adam (1990). "Photosynthesis and respiration of some marine benthic algae from Spitsbergen". Polar Research. 8 (2): 303–307. doi:10.1111/j.1751-8369.1990.tb00394.x.
  3. ^ Lee, Dejah J.; Nelson, Timothy A. (2003). "Are "Green Tides" harmful algal blooms? Toxic properties of water-soluble extracts from two bloom-forming macroalgae, Ulva Fenestrata and Ulvaria Obscura (Ulvophyceae)". Journal of Phycology. 39 (5): 874–879. doi:10.1046/j.1529-8817.2003.02157.x.
  4. ^ Raven, J.A.; Fletcher, R.L.; Taylor, R. (2001). "Preliminary Studies on the Growth of Selected 'Green Tide' Algae in Laboratory Culture: Effects of Irradiance, Temperature, Salinity and Nutrients on Growth Rate". Botanica Marina. 44 (4): 327–336. doi:10.1515/BOT.2001.042.
  5. ^ Cancilla, DA.; Van Alstyne, KL.; Vyvyan, JR.; Nelson, AV. (2006). "Dopamine functions as an antiherbivore defense in the temperate green alga Ulvaria obscura". Oecologia. 148 (2): 304–311. doi:10.1007/s00442-006-0378-3. PMID 16489461.
  6. ^ a b Gifford, Sue-Ann; Winans, Amanda K.; Anderson, Katie J.; Van Alstyne, Kathryn L. (2011). "Dopamine release by the green alga Ulvaria obscura after simulated immersion by incoming tides". Marine Biology. 158 (9): 2087–2094. doi:10.1007/s00227-011-1716-5.
  7. ^ Mathieson, A.C.; Guo, Z. (1992). "Physiological Ecology of Four Ulvoid Green Algae". Botanica Marina. 35 (6): 523–534. doi:10.1515/botm.1992.35.6.523.
  8. ^ Tjoelker, M.; Nelson, A.V.; Tjoelker, M. (2003). "Seasonal and Spatial Patterns of "Green Tides" (Ulvoid Algal Blooms) and Related Water Quality Parameters in the Coastal Waters of Washington State, USA". Botanica Marina. 46 (3): 263–275. doi:10.1515/BOT.2003.024.
  9. ^ Nelson, T. A.; Van Alstyne, K. L.; Ribarich, H. (2003). "The Effects of Nitrogen Regime on Growth, [CHN], [DMSP], [Chlorophyll], [Protein] and Nitrogen Uptake Rate in Ulvaria Obscura and Ulva Fenestrata". Journal of Phycology. 38 (1): 29. doi:10.1046/j.1529-8817.38.s1.83.x.
  10. ^ Nelson, TA; Haberlin, K.; Fredrickson, K.; Simunds, DJ; Buckingham, L; Van Alstyne, KL (2008). "Ecological and physiological controls of species composition in green macroalgal blooms". Ecology. 89 (5): 1287–1298. doi:10.1890/07-0494.1. PMID 18543622.
  11. ^ Gabrielson, Paul; Widdowson, Thomas; Sandra, Lindstrom; Hawkes, Micheal; Scagel, Robert (2000). Keys to Benthic Marine Algae and Seagrasses of British Columbia, Southeast Alaska, Washington and Oregon. Vancouver, British Columbia: University of British Columbia. pp. 80 & 97. ISBN 0888654669.