Ulva fenestrata Postels & Ruprecht

Ulva lactuca

Common names: Sea Lettuce. Glasán (Irish).

Please note: Formerly known as Ulva lactuca in NE Atlantic. Recent studies have shown that Ulva lactuca is a warm-temperate to tropical species and the entity called Ulva lactuca in the NE Atlantic is correctly Ulva fenestrata.
Description: Thallus sheet-like, light green, rather delicate and translucent, to 250 mm long. Persists throughout the year.
Habitat: On rock and in lower-shore rock pools, and in the shallow subtidal.
Distribution: Common and widely distributed in the NE Atlantic and N Pacific. Staus elsewhere requires further study.
Key characteristics: light green colour and translucent thallus; however, this and other species of Ulva in the NE Atlantic require expert identification, and even then there is much dispute as to the status of the various species that have been reported from various areas of the NE Atlantic including U. rigida, U. gigantea, U. scandinavica, and U. armoricana.
Usage: Brent Geese (Light-bellied Brent below at Silver Strand, near Galway) eat Ulva at low tide. Ulva is collected and used dried in salads and as a garnish.

Brent Geese eating Ulva at Silver Strand Galway Bay © M.D. Guiry

Species list

Photographs © M.D. Guiry