Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Species of Enteromorpha are summer annuals; they decay at the end of the season, producing masses of decaying bleached fronds (3). These seaweeds are fast-growing species that are able to reproduce quickly (3). The life cycle passes through a number of stages. The 'gametophyte' stage produces massive amounts of mobile sex cells or gametes that fuse together to form the 'sporophyte' stage. This stage then produces mobile spores, which develop into the gametophyte stage, and the cycle begins once more (3). The gametes and spores are produced in such massive quantities that the water becomes green. Their release is synchronised with the tidal cycles (3). In some parts of the world gut weed (E. intestinalis) is sold as a foodstuff (4).
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Description

Species within the genus Enteromorpha are very difficult to identify as differences between species are small and hard to spot (3). They are green seaweeds, with tubular and elongate fronds that may be branched, flattened or inflated (2). They are bright green in colour and may occasionally be bleached white, particularly around rock pools (4). They attach to the substrate by means of a minute disc-like holdfast (4). The fronds of a species may vary in appearance due to changes in environmental conditions, which further confuses identification, and microscopic examination of cell details is often necessary to identify a species with certainty (3).
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Distribution

Range

This genus is widespread in north-west Europe and has a wide global distribution with gutweed (E. intestinalis) having a global distribution (3). Enteromorpha compressa, E. intestinalis (gut weed) and E. linza are all common and widespread around the British coast (3).
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Physical Description

Type Information

Type locality: Japan: Okinawa Pref., Yonaguni Island
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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 16 specimens in 29 taxa.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0.5

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 0.5
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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These green seaweeds are found at all levels of the shore, and seem to particularly thrive in areas where freshwater run-offs occur (2). They are also found in estuaries and saltmarshes, and is able to withstand low salinities (2). Where conditions are calm the seaweed may detach and survive as free-floating clumps (2).
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Associations

Known predators

Enteromorpha (Enteropmorpha) is prey of:
Anatidae
Nodolittorina tuberculata
Littorina
Fissurella barbadensis
Enchinometra lucunter
Acanthopleura granulata
Chelon labrosus
Liza ramada
Liza aurata
Cygnus olor
Tadorna tadorna
Anas penelope
Pholis gunnellus
Platichthys flesus
Crangon crangon
Nereis diversicolor
Nereis virens
Neomysis integer
Littorina littorea
Littorina saxatilis
Alderia modestus

Based on studies in:
USA: Rhode Island (Marine)
Barbados (Littoral, Rocky shore)
Portugal (Estuarine)
Scotland (Estuarine)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • S. W. Nixon and C. A. Oviatt, Ecology of a New England salt marsh, Ecol. Monogr. 43:463-498, from p. 491 (1973).
  • F. Briand, unpublished observations
  • L. Saldanha, Estudio Ambiental do Estuario do Tejo, Publ. no. 5(4) (CNA/Tejo, Lisbon, 1980).
  • Hall SJ, Raffaelli D (1991) Food-web patterns: lessons from a species-rich web. J Anim Ecol 60:823–842
  • Huxham M, Beany S, Raffaelli D (1996) Do parasites reduce the chances of triangulation in a real food web? Oikos 76:284–300
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records: 5
Specimens with Sequences: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
Public Records: 1
Public Species: 1
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Barcode data

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Genomic DNA is available from 13 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at Coastal Marine Biolabs & Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Status

Not threatened (2).
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Threats

These species are not threatened.
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Management

Conservation

Conservation action is not required for these species.
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