We investigated the presence and kinetics of the oxidative stress response in intertidal and subtidal individuals of the ulvoid macroalga Ulva lactuca L. Stress responses, as measured with both enzymatic and fluorescent-based antioxidant assays, differed between individuals collected from a subtidal and an intertidal habitat. Subtidal individuals secreted significantly more hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) than intertidal individuals when subjected to osmotic stress or desiccation. The activity of reactive-oxygen-scavenging enzymes and the ability to scavenge exogenous H2O2 were lower in subtidal than in intertidal individuals, suggesting that subtidal individuals are less stress tolerant. In vitro experimentation demonstrated that millimolar concentrations of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and its breakdown products could efficiently scavenge H2O2, with DMSP being a less-effective scavenger than dimethyl sulfide (DMS), acrylic acid, and acrylate. The addition of H2O2 at concentrations of 2.5 mM or greater induced the cleavage of DMSP into DMS and acrylic acid in subtidal individuals. Intertidal individuals were affected in the same manner with the addition of 5 mM H2O2. There were no differences in the amounts of DMSP cleavage in subtidal and intertidal algae when the algae were subjected to hyposaline conditions. Our data suggest that the oxidative-stress-induced cleavage of DMSP affords products with efficient H2O2-scavenging abilities. In addition, U. lactuca individuals growing in intertidal habitats are better acclimatized to changing environments and thus have a higher threshold for oxidative stress than conspecifics in subtidal habitats.