Strong Endemism of bloom-forming tubular Ulva in Indian West Coast, with description of Ulva paschima Sp. Nov. (Ulvales, Chlorophyta)

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 15;9(10):e109295. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109295. eCollection 2014.


Ulva intestinalis and Ulva compressa are two bloom-forming morphologically-cryptic species of green seaweeds widely accepted as cosmopolitan in distribution. Previous studies have shown that these are two distinct species that exhibit great morphological plasticity with changing seawater salinity. Here we present a phylogeographic assessment of tubular Ulva that we considered belonging to this complex collected from various marine and estuarine green-tide occurrences in a ca. 600 km stretch of the Indian west coast. Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference phylogenetic reconstructions using ITS nrDNA revealed strong endemism of Indian tubular Ulva, with none of the Indian isolates forming part of the already described phylogenetic clades of either U. compressa or U. intestinalis. Due to the straightforward conclusion that Indian isolates form a robust and distinct phylogenetic clade, a description of a new bloom-forming species, Ulva paschima Bast, is formally proposed. Our phylogenetic reconstructions using Neighbor-Joining method revealed evolutionary affinity of this new species with Ulva flexuosa. This is the first molecular assessment of Ulva from the Indian Subcontinent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem
  • DNA / genetics
  • Genetic Markers
  • Phylogeny*
  • Phylogeography*
  • Salinity
  • Seawater
  • Seaweed / genetics*
  • Seaweed / physiology
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Ulva / genetics*
  • Ulva / physiology


  • Genetic Markers
  • DNA

Grants and funding

Supported by INSPIRE Faculty award (IFA-LSPA-02) from Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.