We have developed methods to determine the visible (VIS) to near-infrared (NIR) spectral properties of thalli and epiphytes of bloom-forming and green macrophyte Ulva curvata in back-barrier lagoons in Virginia, USA. A 2% increase in NIR thalli reflectance from winter to summer matched the drop in summer NIR transmittance. In contrast, summer and winter VIS reflectance were nearly identical while winter transmittance was 10-20% higher. NIR absorption remained at 5% but VIS absorption increased by 10-20% from winter to summer. Replicate consistency substantiated the high transmittance difference indicating thallus composition changed from summer to winter. Epiphytes increased thallus reflectance and decreased transmittance and exhibited broadband VIS and NIR absorptions in summer and selective peaks in winter. A simulation coupling water extinction with thallus reflectance and transmittance found seven submerged thalli maximized the surface reflectance enhancement.