The Green algal project

The small, microfilamentous marine green algae (MFGA) are a taxonomically heterogeneous group among Chlorophyta with members belonging to several orders (Bryopsidales, Ulotrichales, and Ulvales, among others). Despite their prevalence in the macroalgal flora, MFGA stand out as particularly poorly studied among marine organisms. Due to the difficulties in the field to determine its species, they are typically not recorded at the species level, which highlights the limited knowledge surrounding this group. The project “Unveiling the rich hidden diversity of microfilamentous marine green algae (Chlorophyta) in Norway” aims to gain more knowledge about these. The project is funded by The Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre and is part of The Norwegian Taxonomy Initiative, it started in 2024 and will finish in 2027. The project coordinator is Franz Goecke at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), and project partners are Kjersti Sjøtun at the University of Bergen (UiB), Ruth Nielsen (Natural History Museum of Denmark), Juliet Brodie (Natural History Museum, London, UK), Heroen Verbruggen (University of Melbourne, Australia), Frederik Leliaert (Meise Botanic Garden, Belgium), Sophie Steinhagen (University of Gothenburg, Sweden), Olivier De Clerck (Ghent University) and Markus Molis (The Arctic University of Norway, UiT).

Elven & Søli (2020) reported 504 (including 197 marine) species of Chlorophyta for the Norwegian flora but estimated that the number of species, yet to be discovered should reach around 2000 species for the country. In particular, the Ulvophyceae and Chlorophyceae contain a total of 128 and 18 marine species, respectively. Molecular data lacks for most species of these small microfilamentous alga species in Norway, and it is expected that many of the genera may comprise cryptic species. The project will aim to collect new information and genetic data on these groups of green algae.


Examples of microfilamentous marine green algae: