Species of Enteromorpha are summer annuals; they decay at the end of the season, producing masses of decaying bleached fronds (3). These seaweeds are fast-growing species that are able to reproduce quickly (3). The life cycle passes through a number of stages. The ‘gametophyte’ stage produces massive amounts of mobile sex cells or gametes that fuse together to form the ‘sporophyte’ stage. This stage then produces mobile spores, which develop into the gametophyte stage, and the cycle begins once more (3). The gametes and spores are produced in such massive quantities that the water becomes green. Their release is synchronised with the tidal cycles (3).
In some parts of the world gut weed (E. intestinalis) is sold as a foodstuff (4).