Protists - Examples and Characteristics of Protists

len Alfred Ajibola - Sun, 28th April, 2019 @ 14:35: PM

Topics in Biology

Biology Scheme of Work, SS1, First Term Biology Scheme of Work, SS1, 2nd Term Biology Scheme of Work, SS1, 3rd Term Seminal Vesicles and Bulbourethral Glands as Male Accessory Sex Organs Male Reproductive System: Scrotum and its contents Brain: Introduction to the Human Brain Forebrain: Lobes of the Cerebrum and their Functions Cerebellum: Parts and Functions of the Cerebellum Midbrain: Division and Functions of the Midbrain Negative Feedback Mechanism in Homeostasis Arterial Disorders: Characteristics and Causes of Arterial Disorders Types of Desert and their Characteristics Characteristics of Tropical Rainforest Swamp Forest: What are Swamp Forests? Characteristics of Swamp Forests Savanna: Savanna and Grassland explained Savanna - Types of Savanna Tropical Savanna and Temperate Savanna with their Characteristics Introduction to Biomes: What is a Biome? Importance of Swamp Forests

Academic Questions in Biology

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

Which of the following is a category of long bones?

  • A. Stunted long bones
  • B. Reduced long bones
  • C. Giant long bones
  • D. Bended long bones
  • E. Curved long bones
  • F. Elongated long bones

The end product of photosynthesis is _____.

  • A. O2
  • B. C​​​​​​2​​​​C5OH
  • C. H2​​​​​O
  • D. CO2
  • E. C6H12O6
  • F. C2H5COOH

The above diagram illustrates a _____.

  • A. Food Chain
  • B. Food Web
  • C. Food Pyramid
  • D. Food Link
  • E. Food Hub
  • F. Food zone

The living cells that makes up cartilages are called _____.

  • A. osteocytes
  • B. osteoblasts
  • C. osteoclasts
  • D. chondroblasts
  • E. chrondocytes
  • F. Osteoprogenitor cells

Which of the following statement is incorrect with regards to chitin?

  • A. Ecdysis is a term associated with chitin
  • B. It is a skeletal material
  • C. It is a type of skeleton
  • D. It is present outside the organism
  • E. It does not grow when the organism grows
  • It is present in ants

Which of the following is NOT a function of the human skeleton?

  • A. Gives Shape
  • B. Provides Protection
  • C. Aids in Locomotion
  • D. Supports Movement
  • E. Assists in Inhalation and Exahalation
  • F. None of the above
  • G. All of the above

Organisms that manufacture their own food through the help of sunlight or chemicals are best referred to as _____.

  • A. autotrophs
  • B. chemosynthetic
  • C. photosynthentic
  • D. chemoautotrophs
  • E. photoautotrophs
  • F. chemoautotrophs

Organisms that begins a food chain and also manufacture their food through photosynthesis are best referred to as _____.

  • A. heterotrophs
  • B. autotrophs
  • C. homotrophs
  • D. producers
  • E. photosynthetic
  • F. chemosynthetic

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We know for sure that plants and animals are living organisms because they fulfill all the basic characteristics necessary for life.

Below are the basic characteristics of life:

  1. Movement
  2. Respiration
  3. Nutrition
  4. Irritability
  5. Growth
  6. Reproduction
  7. Death
  8. Adaptation
  9. Competition
  10. Please read on Basic Characteristics of Life here.

Note: Living organisms goes beyond plants and animals.

There are millions of organisms that are neither plant nor animals. Generally, the classification of organisms into kingdoms have given more insight about life. (Recall that Biology is the study of life).

As a matter of fact, anything that has life must belong to a kingdom.

Below are the kingdoms with regards to the classification of living organisms:

  1. Archae: They include those bacteria that survive in extreme conditions like hot acidic springs and salt lakes. They are also referred to as archaebacteria.

  2. Monera: The organisms found here are called monerans. The bacteria and blue-green algae belong to this kingdom.
  3. Protista: The organisms found here are called Protists. Protists are the focus of this article.
  4. Fungi: Organisms belonging to this kingdom are simply called fungi. Mushrooms and Yeasts are examples of fungi.
  5. Plantae: The organisms found here are called plants. All plants belong to this kingdom.
    Please read on the Differences between Plants and Crops here.
  6. Animalia: All animals belong to this kingdom. Ants, Hydra, Cats, Fishes, Birds, Reptiles and Human Beings all belong to kingdom animalia.

The Swedish Botanist Carolus Linnaeus (1701 - 1778) developed the modern method of classification (called taxonomy or systematics; as listed above.

Please read on Reptiles and their Characteristics here.

What are Protists?

Protists are neither plants nor animals nor fungi nor bacteria; they are simply protists.

An organism belonging to kingdom protista is referred to as a protist; just as those belonging to kingdom plantae are called plants.

All protists are eukaryotic organisms. Being eukaryotic imply that their cell structure has a nucleus bordered by a membrane. They also have organelles in their cytoplasm.

Generally, protists live in an aquatic or fluidly or moist habitat.

Please read on Swamp Forests and Deserts here.

All protists do not share similar characteristics. This is due to the fact that some are animal-like. This means that they have animal like features; for instance, their cells have a cell membrane. (All animals have a cell membrane).

Conversely, others are plant-like in the sense that they have cell wall and chloroplast; thus can manufacture their own food. (All plants have cell wall in addition to a cell membrane).

Please read on Autotrophic Nutrition and Photosynthesis here.

A few protists are fungi-like because they reproduce by forming spores.

Generally, all protists are commonly grouped together because they do not particularly fit into any other kingdom.

Examples of protists includes: amoeba, paramecium, euglena, chlamydomonas, plasmodium, kelp, slime molds and water molds.

Note: Some protists are single celled (unicellular) while others are colonial (form colonies) and multicellular (made up of more than one cell).

In terms of size, a few protist can be very large, for instance kelp while others are microscopic, for instance, amoeba

Protist can can be free-living (for example, amoeba) or parasitic (for example, plasmodium). A few are saprophytic.

Below is a diagram showing various Protists.

Protists - Len Academy


Characteristics of Protists


1. Locomotion

This is the ability of an organism to move from one point to another.

Although some protists are non-motile (cannot move from one point to another), others exhibit locomotion via a variety of locomotary organelles.

Below are some protists and their locomotary organelles:

  • Amoeba --> Pseudopodia
  • Paramecium -->  Cilia
  • Euglena --> Flagella
  • Chlamydomonas --> Flagella

Examples of non-motile protist are plasmodium and Toxoplasma gondii.

Note: Slime mold and water mold are protists that exhibit little movement.

Please read on some Amazing Facts in Biology here.


2. Nutrition

Certain protists are photosynthetic autotrophs (that is, they can manufacture food by utilizing the energy from sunlight). Examples are euglena and algae.

Conversely, some are heterotrophic (that is, they cannot produce their own food and hence rely on readymade food). Examples are amoeba and paramecium.

The protist plasmodium is the causative agent for malaria. (It is sometimes referred to as the malaria parasite). It undergoes a parasitic kind of nutrition; which is a type of heterotrophic mode of nutrition.

Please read on Micro-organisms causing Food, Water and Air Borne Diseases here.

Note: Some protists are both autotrophic and heterotrophic. Euglena is an example.


3. Cell Structure

Most are unicellular. Amoeba, paramecium, euglena, chlamydomonas and  plasmodium are examples of unicelluler protist.

A few protists are multicellular; for example, kelp, slime molds and algae.


4. Reproduction

Reproduction is typically asexual but sometimes, sexual reproduction does occur.

Binary fission is a form of asexual reproduction that occurs in Amoeba.

Please read on Reproduction in Plants here.

Plasmodium falciparum may undergo sexual reproduction at some stages in it's life cycle.

Please read on the Male Reproductive System here.


5. Habitat

They generally live in an aquatic habitat. This is usually a fresh water in most cases. Fresh water habitat include ponds, lakes, rivers and streams.

Note: Seas and Oceans are salt water. Any water body that isn't a sea or an ocean is much likely to be a fresh water.

Please read on Tropical Rainforest and Savanna here.


6. They are Eukaryotic organisms 

Being eukaryotic implies that their cell structure have a well defined nucleus and cell membrane.

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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.

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A snail can actually sleep for 3 years 😁

An adult human being is composed of about 60% water. In fact, a newly born baby is composed of about 80% of water. This will drop to 65% after a year and finally to about 60% as the child ages

Without saliva, food can never be enjoyed. Food becomes tasteless since saliva is needed to dissolve the chemicals present in food onto the tongue’s taste buds.

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For a thing to be considered Living, it must possess all the Basic Characteristics of Life. These include:

  1. Movement

  2. Respiration

  3. Nutrition

  4. Irritability or Sensitivity

  5. Growth

  6. Excretion

  7. Reproduction

  8. Death

  9. Adaptation

  10. Competition

Please read the explanations on all the Basic Characteristics of Life here

During strenuous exercises like sprinting or 🏃 running, your body may actually work in the shortage of oxygen. During this time, your body owes oxygen (called oxygen debt) and it must be replenished or repayed after the exercise is stopped. This is why you breathe excess of oxygen after you stopped the exercise.

This is the concept of anaerobic respiration

A food Chain is a diagram that shows the relationship between plants and animals within a habitat on the basis of how they rely on each other for food.

Note: Habitat is a place where an organism live. It is of three types:

  • Terrestrial (Land)
  • Aquatic (Water)
  • Arboreal (🌲 Treetops)

You can read on Food Chain here

The term Biology originated from two Greek words. They are:

  • Bios: means life. 
  • Logos: means knowledge or to study.

Biology can therefore be defined is the study of life

Anything that has life is generally considered as a living organism (or organism) 🌱🐐🐓. All living organisms must be able to carry the following activities:

  1. Movement
  2. Respiration
  3. Nutrition
  4. Irritability or Sensitivity
  5. Growth
  6. Excretion
  7. Reproduction
  8. Death
  9. Adaptation
  10. Competition

The above listed points are often regarded as the basic characteristics of life. You can memorize them using the acronym (MR. NIGER DAC).

You can read on the introduction to Biology and the basic characteristics of life here

The gas used in the manufacture of food by plants is Carbon dioxide or Carbon(IV)oxide or CO2. 

Plants manufacture food through a process called photosynthesis. Please read on photosynthesis here

Note: Plants are the only orgnisms that take away CO2 from the atmosphere