UPDATE: Enteromorpha: synonymous with the genus Ulva
See Linnaeus was right all along: Ulva and Enteromorpha are not distinct genera. in Eur. J. Phycol (August 2003) 38: 277-293.
Old text: Enteromorpha is distributed throughout the
world, in a wide variety of environments. Enteromorpha can
tolerate salinities varying from freshwater to seawater, and Enteromorpha has
also been reported to be able to survive in salt springs and salt mines.
This variation is not only found in the genus as a whole, but also
in single species. E. intestinalis can grow on the ocean coast,
in brackish waters, and inland in freshwater.
Enteromorpha can also grow on a wide variety
of substrates, growing on sand, mud, or rock, and even wood, concrete
or metal. Enteromorpha can also grow without any substrate.
In some inland waterways, such as Elkhorn Slough in Monterey Bay, Enteromorpha will
become detached from the muddy substrate, rise to the surface, and
then continue to grow, covering the surface of the water with a green
layer of algae.
Enteromorpha is also able to grow throughout
the intertidal littoral plane. Enteromorpha has been found
growing above the high tide mark, in the spray zone, as well as below
the low tide limit. Enteromorpha is also excellent at colonizing
unpopulated areas, and is often the first algae to settle on cleared
areas, both on shores and on ships. Because of this, Enteromorpha is
the cause of much annoyance and expense for ship owners. Enteromorpha is
especially well suited to grow on ships because it can withstand changes
in temperature and salinity so well. It is also possible that Enteromorpha's worldwide
distribution is due in part to its well adapted ability to hitch a
ride on ships. Conversely, it could be thatEnteromorpha is
able to grow on sea vessels so easily because it has adapted to a worldwide
In Monterey Bay, the author found abundant amounts of Enteromorpha in
Elkhorn Slough, as well as in Stillwater Cove at Pebble Beach. Enteromorpha was
also found in the harbor and at Hopkins Marine Station on Fisher Beach.
Elkhorn Slough. At times, Enteromorpha can become so abundant
that it covers the Slough almost completely.
Enteromorpha can often be found growing with Ulva,
however, it will also grow with other algae, in a variety of different
habitats. The following photographs illustrate some of these environments.
This photograph was taken on Fisher Beach, at Hopkins
Marine Station in Pacific Grove, CA.
1. Endocladia (nail brush seaweed)
2. Enteromorpha (green
3. Fucus (rock
4. Mastocarpus (tiny
This photograph was taken in Stillwater Cove, at Pebble
Beach, CA. Porphyra was also found growing near Enteromorpha at
the Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, CA.
1. Enteromorpha (green
2. Porphyra (nori)