Date of Award

Spring 2009

Project Type


Program or Major

Plant Biology

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Christopher D Neefus


Eutrophication of coastal ecosystems is a global problem, and algae have become an important resource for bioremediation. The goals of this study were (1) to assess the biodiversity of Ulva spp. in the Great Bay Estuarine System (GBES) of New Hampshire and Maine, and (2) to assess which Ulva populations are most appropriate for bioremediation by determining if environmental nutrient history and/or taxonomie differences affect ammonium uptake. Molecular analysis of the internal transcribed spacer nrDNA regions of Ulva spp. revealed four distinct distromatic taxa: Ulva lactuca Linnaeus, Ulva rigida C. Agardh, Ulva compressa Linnaeus, and U. pertusa Kjellman. The latter three are new reports for New Hampshire. Infra- and interspecific comparisons revealed that nutrient history influences substrate affinity, whereas taxonomy influences uptake rate. Consequently, there is a clear need for reassessment of global Ulva populations, and both nutrient history and taxonomy should be considered when using Ulva for bioremediation.