Department of Plant Sciences and Biotechnology, Faculty of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.
Marine Pharmaceutical Science Research Center, Ahwaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahwaz, Iran.
Genus Ulva includes edible seaweed species with extensive morphological overlaps, plasticity, and intra specific variation, making it taxonomically difficult to classify. Ulva species occur in the Persian Gulf, and Oman Sea, but there is no detailed information on their genetic structure, diversity, as well as species relationships. Aims of the present study were to: (1) identify existing species of the genus Ulva in selected areas of the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea, and (2) illustrate species relationships by a combination of morpho-anatomical and molecular data. Based on morphological features, 10 Ulva species were identified which were confirmed by their DNA homology with the reported taxa. The Ulva species were delineated using a combination of morphological, anatomical and molecular data (ISSR, SCoT, ITS, rbcL, and tufA region sequences). AMOVA revealed species genetic differentiation and a higher level of intra-specific diversity in Ulva. The species relationship is discussed based on genetic and morphological data. A kind of divergent selection on morphological characters and in response to geographical coordinates is suggested.