Conspecificity of an invasive ecotype of Ulva compressa from the SW Baltic with the model organism Ulva mutabilis

Steinhagen, Sophie, Barco, Andrea, Wichard, T. and Weinberger, Florian (2017) Conspecificity of an invasive ecotype of Ulva compressa from the SW Baltic with the model organism Ulva mutabilis Phycologia, 56 (SP4). pp. 179-180.

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The genus Ulva is has broadly negative connotations because of its ability to form harmful “green tides” and the problems it causes with precise species identification, due to its morphological plasticity. During recent years, tides of unattached Ulva compressa U. Linneus 1753 with an atypical sheet-like morphology were for the first time observed in the German Baltic. Here we report that this nuisance alga is conspecific with the type strain of U. mutabilis Föyn 1958 from Faro in Portugal, an important model organism to study morphogenesis, morphogenetics and mutualistic interactions. Different approaches were used to examine conspecificity: (1) Comparisons on vegetative and reproductive features of cultured material of Ulva mutabilis and German Ulva compressa resulted in congruent results proving that a certain morphogenetic mutation pattern is shared. Spontaneous mutations of “slender-like” thalli are appearing whilst the common form exhibits a “leaf-like” wildtype morphology. (2) Interbreeding experiments of gametes of Ulva compressa and Ulva mutabilis were successful and showed a fertile first-generation offspring exhibiting the typical wildtype morphology similar to the phenotype of the parental generation. (3) Phylogenetic and species delimitation analyses were carried out on 128 tufA sequences of Ulva compressa specimens sampled in 2014–2016 in Germany and on tufA sequences of two clones of the strains Ulva mutabilis (sl-G[mt+]) and Ulva mutabilis (wt-[mt-]) to identify Molecular Operational Taxonomic Units (MOTUs).
The Generalized Mixed Yule-Coalescent (GMYC)
method comprises one major MOTU containing all included sequences of Ulva compressa and Ulva mutabilis, while reference sequences included in the analysis clustered outside this MOTU. This highly supports the monophyly of Ulva compressa and Ulva mutabilis, which can be treated as the same species. As a consequence, U. mutabilis is also a suitable model for future studies of green tides and their molecular and morphogenetic basis in the Baltic Sea.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-B Experimental Ecology - Benthic Ecology
Refereed: No
ISSN: 0031-8884
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2017 11:41
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2018 07:08

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