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Temporal range: Mid Ordovician – Recent[1] (?)
diversity of Ulvophyceae
diversity of Ulvophyceae
Scientific classification Edit this classification
(unranked): Archaeplastida
(unranked): Viridiplantae
Division: Chlorophyta
Class: Ulvophyceae
Stewart & Mattox, 1978[2][3]

The Ulvophyceae or ulvophytes are a class of green algae,[4] distinguished mainly on the basis of ultrastructural morphology, life cycle and molecular phylogenetic data.[5] The sea lettuce, Ulva, belongs here. Other well-known members include Caulerpa, Codium, Acetabularia, Cladophora, Trentepohlia and Monostroma.

The Ulvophytes are diverse in their morphology and their habitat. Most are seaweeds such as those listed above. Others, such as Rhizoclonium, Pithophora and some species of Cladophora live in fresh water[6] and in some areas are considered weeds.[7]


The origin and early diversification of the Ulvophyceae likely took place in the late Neoproterozoic.[8][9] Although most contemporary ulvophytes are marine macroalgae (seaweeds), ancestral ulvophytes may have been freshwater, unicellular green algae. Molecular phylogenetic evidence suggests that macroscopic growth was achieved independently in the various major lineages of Ulvophyceae (Ulvales-Ulotrichales, Trentepohliales, Cladophorales, Bryopsidales and Dasycladales).[9] Fossils are rare but there are some good candidates in a mid-Ordovician lagerstatten.[1]

Current hypothesis on relationships among the main clades of Ulvophyceae[10][11] are shown below.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Nowak, Hendrik; Harvey, Thomas H.P.; Liu, Huaibao P.; McKay, Robert M.; Zippi, Pierre A.; Campbell, Donald H.; Servais, Thomas (2017). "Filamentous eukaryotic algae with a possible cladophoralean affinity from the Middle Ordovician Winneshiek Lagerstätte in Iowa, USA". Geobios. 50 (4): 303. Bibcode:2017Geobi..50..303N. doi:10.1016/j.geobios.2017.06.005. hdl:2381/40483.
  2. ^ Stewart KD, Mattox KR (1978). "Structural evolution in the flagellated cells of green algae and land plants". BioSystems. 10 (1–2): 145–152. doi:10.1016/0303-2647(78)90036-9. PMID 656563.
  3. ^ Adl SM; Simpson AGB; Farmer MA; Andersen RA; Anderson OR; Barta JR; Bowser SS; Brugerolle G; Fensome RA; Fredericq S; James TY; Karpov S; Kugrens P; Krug J; Lane CE; Lewis LA; Lodge J; Lynn DH; Mann DG; McCourt RM; Mendoza L; Moestrup Ø; Mozley-Standridge SE; Nerad TA; Shearer CA; Smirnov AV; Spiegel FW; Taylor MFJR (2005). "The new higher level classification of eukaryotes with emphasis on the taxonomy of protists" (PDF). Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology. 52 (5): 399–451. doi:10.1111/j.1550-7408.2005.00053.x. PMID 16248873.
  4. ^ a b Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. (2007). "Class: Ulvophyceae taxonomy browser". AlgaeBase version 4.2 World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. Retrieved 2023-06-17.
  5. ^ Graham LE, Graham JM, Wilcox LW (2009) Algae. 2nd Edition. Benjamin Cummings (Pearson), San Francisco, CA
  6. ^ O'Kelly, Charles J. (2007). "The Origin and Early Evolution of Green Plants". Evolution of Primary Producers in the Sea. Academic Press. p. 297. doi:10.1016/B978-012370518-1/50014-X. ISBN 9780123705181.
  7. ^ "Terms for Weeds Your Lake Bottom Blanket Prevents". 2 November 2019.
  8. ^ Verbruggen, H.; Ashworth, M.; LoDuca, S.T.; Vlaeminck, C.; Cocquyt, E.; Sauvage, T.; Zechman, F.W.; Littler, D.S.; Littler, M.M.; Leliaert, F. (2009). "A multi-locus time-calibrated phylogeny of the siphonous green algae". Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 50 (3): 642–653. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2008.12.018. PMID 19141323.
  9. ^ a b Cocquyt, E.; Verbruggen, H.; Leliaert, F.; De Clerck, O. (2010). "Evolution and Cytological Diversification of the Green Seaweeds (Ulvophyceae)". Mol. Biol. Evol. 27 (9): 2052–2061. doi:10.1093/molbev/msq091. ISSN 0737-4038. PMID 20368268.
  10. ^ Leliaert, F., Smith, D.R., Moreau, H., Herron, M.D., Verbruggen, H., Delwiche, C.F. & De Clerck, O. (2012). "Phylogeny and molecular evolution of the green algae" (PDF). Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences. 31: 1–46. doi:10.1080/07352689.2011.615705. S2CID 17603352.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Škaloud, Pavel; Kalina, Tomáš; Nemjová, Katarína; De Clerck, Olivier; Leliaert, Frederik (2013). "Morphology and Phylogenetic Position of the Freshwater Green Microalgae Chlorochytrium (Chlorophyceae) and Scotinosphaera (Scotinosphaerales, ord. nov., Ulvophyceae)". Journal of Phycology. 49 (1): 115–129. doi:10.1111/jpy.12021. ISSN 0022-3646. PMID 27008394. S2CID 7359581.