Ten new species of Ulva (Ulvophyceae, Chlorophyta) discovered in New Caledonia: genetic and morphological diversity, and bloom potential

Ulva is a green macroalgal genus with rich species diversity and worldwide distribution. While current knowledge on Ulva diversity focuses on temperate regions, genetic and morphological data in tropical and subtropical areas are scarce and the species richness is not clearly defined. The genus is known for its bloom-forming ability that can induce green tides leading to severe environmental and economic damage. In the last two decades, several important blooms of Ulva spp. have occurred in New Caledonia, requiring further investigations to identify the species involved. As knowledge of New Caledonian Ulva diversity is limited, an update to the Ulva spp. inventory in the area is essential. Based on Ulva specimens collected throughout New Caledonia (Grande Terre, Isle of Pines and Loyalty Islands), we (1) reassessed species diversity using species delimitation methods, (2) analysed morpho-anatomical characters to identify species and/or enrich their diagnosis, and (3) reconstructed a multilocus phylogeny (ITS, rbcL, tufA) of the genus. We found 21 secondary species hypotheses (SSHs) among our dataset, from which five were successfully assigned to U. lactuca, U. ohnoi, U. tepida, U. meridionalis and U. taeniata. Ten SSHs were defined as new species for which we provided taxonomic description, and six other SSHs were singletons that will need to be data-enriched for better interpretation. Our concatenated multilocus matrix included 61 Ulva species. Of these, 15 species were found in New Caledonia and were moderately to strongly supported. Among the Ulva species found in New Caledonia, seven are known to be bloom-forming which highlights the need for strict regulation and regular monitoring of water quality, particularly in areas exposed to strong nutrient input where these species can form green tides.


Ulva diversity in New Caledonia was reassessed with 15 species highlighted.
Ten new species have been discovered in New Caledonia.
Indigenous species caused recent green tides in New Caledonia.


Anatomy, diversity, green tides, marine, Pacific, phylogeny, rbcL, species delimitation, tropical, Ulvales

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Lagourgue L., Gobin S., Brisset Maele, Vandenberghe Sylvette, Bonneville C., Jauffrais Thierry, Van Wynsberge Simon, Payri C.E. (2022). Ten new species of Ulva (Ulvophyceae, Chlorophyta) discovered in New Caledonia: genetic and morphological diversity, and bloom potential. European Journal Of Phycology. 57 (4). 458-478. https://doi.org/10.1080/09670262.2022.2027023, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00752/86394/

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