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protist - any organism that is not a plant, animal or fungus

 “Dumping ground” kingdom
 65,000 identified species with almost half extinct
 many serve as food for other organisms in aquatic habitats; called zooplankton (protozoans) or
phytoplankton (algae)
 were the first eukaryotic organisms; thought to have evolved about 1.5 billion years ago
 protozoans possibly evolved from the first eukaryotes by endosymbiosis

General Characteristics
 mostly unicellular, some are multicellular (algae)
 They can be:
auto/phototrophs - produce their own food with the aid of light energy through photosynthesis.
heterotrophs - feed on other organisms
saprophytic/saprobes – organism that feed on dead and decaying organic matter.
parasitic/parasite – organism that lives within or on another organism and harms it by feeding on it.
free living – do not exist as parasites or symbionts
 most live in water though some live in moist soil or even the human body
 ALL are eukaryotic (have a nucleus)
 all reproduce asexually but a few can also reproduce sexually
binary fission - divides into 2 identical individuals
conjugation – exchange of genetic information with other individuals

Three Groups of Protists

1. animal-like - referred to as protozoan (pro means 'first,' and zoo refers to 'animals' the first animals)
2. plant-like - referred to as algae
3. fungus-like - referred to as slime molds and water molds


 Protozoans are classified into 4 main groups based on their movement

 Members are foraminiferans, radiolarians and amoeba
 pseudopods/pseudopodia (means "false foot") – used for feeding and movement
 reproduce by binary fission
 Radiolarians - found in warm, marine waters have a test (shell) made of silica & have sticky
pseudopodia to trap food
 Foraminiferans - have a test made of calcium carbonate with holes through which pseudopodia
extend. Foraminiferan tests build up and form limestone or chalk (e.g. White Cliffs of Dover)
 Important food source in marine habitats
 Entamoeba histolytica - a harmful species of amoeba living in freshwater bodies. If present in
underground water, it can contaminate drinking water.
 Amoebiasis - a condition in which the gastrointestinal tract becomes infected with the parasite E.
histolytica. If the protist invades the intestinal lining it leads to amoebic dysentery.

 members are generally known as ciliates
 cilia - tiny hair-like structures used for feeding and movement
 reproduce by binary fission
 found in both fresh and salty water, most are free living
 form protective cysts to survive unfavorable conditions
 Ex. paramecium, stentors, didinium and vorticella.
Contractile vacuole – used to collect and remove excess water
Trichocysts – very small, bottle-shaped structures used for defense
Macronucleus (a working library of genetic information) – a site for keeping multiple copies of
most of the genes
Micronucleus – contains a reserve copy of all of the cell’s genes.

3) PHYLUM ZOOMASTIGINA (or Mastigophora)

 Members are generally known as flagellates or zooflagellates
 flagella – used for movement
 found in fresh water and others live within the body of other organism
 heterotrophs and saprophytes where they absorb nutrients through cell membranes
 reproduce both in asexual reproduction by binary fission and sexual by meiosis
 Trypanosoma gambiense - cause African sleeping sickness but are carried only by Tsetse flies
 Giardia lamblia - found in feces infested fresh water and is a parasite in the human intestine that
causes severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
 Trichonympha - digests cellulose in the guts of termites

 members are generally known as sporozoans
 Motility: none
 all are parasites living in worms, fishes, birds and humans
 uses spores to pass from one host to another
 reproduce by means of sporozoites
 Plasmodium vivax causes Malaria and is carried by the Anopheles mosquito

B. PLANT-LIKE PROTISTS ( classified according to their color)

 most are autotrophs, some are heterotrophs, and saprophytes
 serve as food for other protists and organisms
 about 50 to 60%% of Earths oxygen is released by plant-like protists
 many plant-like protists are flagellates, called phytoflagellates- (phyto- means plant)
 Chemicals from algae are used to make plastics, waxes, transisitors, deodorants, paints, lubricants
and even artificial wood.

 members are called euglenophytes or euglenoids
 microscopic, unicellular and reproduce asexually by binary fission
 plant-like protists that may have 2 flagella but no cell wall, have chlorophyll
 unique in that they are both photosynthetic and saprophytic
 Ex. Euglena – excellent swimmer
eyespot - use to detect light
pellicle – cell membrane in euglena allowing them to squirm and crawl through mud even
there is no enough water.

2) PHYLUM PYRROPHYTA ("fire algae," Greek pyrrhos, fire)

 Members are called dinoflagellates
 some are photosynthetic, and some are heterotrophs
 have 2 flagella and luminescent which means they give off light
 reproduce by binary fission
 Ex. Pyrodinium bahamense var. compressum - causes 'red tide'. They produce a paralytic toxin
that accumulates in shellfish and can be deadly to humans as well as fish

3) PHYLUM CHRYSOPHYTA (means golden plants)

 yellow-green and golden-brown algae
 mostly microscopic and photosynthetic
 store food as leucosin oil or chrysolaminarin rather than starch
 Ex. Diatoms - produce thin, delicate cell walls rich in silicon (found in glass)
 The shells of dead diatoms are mined and ground up to be used as an abrasive in toothpaste and
scouring powders.

4) PHYLUM CHLOROPHYTA (means green plants)

 members are green algae
 have cellulose in their cell walls contain chlorophyll (a and b) – a green pigment
 store food as starch
 mostly freshwater, few marine, some in damp soil, on tree trunks, other damp surfaces
 some are edible like Caulerpa lentillifera - eaten fresh as salad
1. Unicellular – single-celled alga. Ex. Chlamydomonas – a unicellular alga that lives in ponds.
2. Filamentous – forms threadlike structure. Ex. Spirogyra has spiral-shaped chloroplasts,
3. Colonial – a cluster of algae. Ex. Volvox
4. Bi-layer – multicellular algae. Ex. Ulva (sea lettuce) – a multicellular alga that the body is
only two cell thick.

5) PHYLUM RHODOPHYTA (means red plants)

 members are red algae, contain phycobilins – reddish accessory pigments
 both microscopic and large multicellular organisms.
 most of them are found in marine waters.
 They can change color depending on whether they are exposed to light (green in color) or hidden
from light (red in color).
 They help form coral reefs because of their ability to produce calcium carbonate.
 Ex. Eucheuma muricatum and Gracilaria salicornia - a source of agar and carrageenan.
Carrageenan - a complex carbohydrate that is used as a suspending agent in
foods, medicines, and cosmetics and a filtering agent in beverages.
Agar – uses as a solidifying agent in the growth medium for microorganisms
and plant tissue culture.
Dried Porphyra (Nori in Japanese) – a dark green and paper thin is used as a wrapper in sushi rolls.

6) PHYLUM PHAEOPHYTA (meaning dusky plants)

 members are brown algae that contain fucoxanthin – a brown accessory pigment.
 largest and most complex algae, found in shallow, cool, costal water.
 store carbohydrate in the form of laminarin.
 Some members of the group contain alginic acid used as an ingredient in making these candy
and cream cosmetics.
 Ex. Giant Kelp - the largest where it can grow to more than 30 meters in length.
bladder - leaflike and bubblelike structures used to float near the water
surface where light is present.


 have centrioles but lack the chitin cell walls of true fungi
 heterotrophs and saprophytes
 recyclers of organic materials
 can cause plant diseases such as mildews (white substance that grows on the surface of plants) and
blight (a disease that makes up plants dry up and die

Groups of Fungus-like Protists

 members are cellular slime molds
 have characteristics of protists and fungi

 members are Acellular Slime Molds
 begin their life cycles as amoeba-like cells
 feed on decaying vegetation
plasmodium – collection of amoeba-like organisms.

 members are water molds
 have cell walls made of cellulose and produce motile spores
 reproduce both asexually and sexually
 thrive on dead or decaying organic matter in water and are plant parasites on land
 they produce hyphae – thin filaments
 Ex. Phytophthora infestans – a water mold that destroys potatoes.