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Enteromorpha (Enteromorpha spp.)

Enteromorpha Common Names: Green alga

Description: Recorded in Michigan (Lougheed and Stevenson 2004) within the last decade. Also found in a Southeast Michigan stream in 2010.

Habit: Long, hollow, mostly tubular, filamentous. Tube walls are 1 cell thick with axes 1-7 mm. wide. Light green in color and intestine shaped. Grows to 20 cm. but generally tends to be smaller.

Stems: Cylindrical throughout or with the terminal portion expanded and bladelike, or centrally compressed with only the margins hollow. Long and 1 cell thick and 1-7 mm. wide.

Habitat: Typically found in saltwater or brackish environments rather than freshwater but seem to particularly thrive in areas where freshwater run-offs occur. Also found in estuaries and saltmarshes, and is able to withstand low salinities. Where conditions are calm, may detach and survive as free-floating clumps.

Reproduction: Fast growing and able to reproduce quickly. Life cycle involves may stages: Gametophyte stage, which produces massive amounts of mobile gametes that fuse together; Sporophyte stage which produces mobile spores, which develop into the gametophyte stage and the cycle then repeats. The release is synchronised with tidal cycles.

Impact and Damage: May cause green tides and biofouling mats that cause cascading effects throughout the food web. Can deplete available oxygen in the water and increase the production of hydrogen sulphide in the sediment, which can cause population declines in other fauna and flora. Mats can also shade out native seagrass beds and negatively impact their corresponding communities Can distrupt feeding by wading birds.

Similar species: Species of Ulva spp.

Monitoring and rapid response: Reduction of pollution and nutrient run-off could decrease the habitat of Enteromorpha.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from, The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species and The Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

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Enteromorpha spp.







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