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Motility

The majority of protists are motile, but different types of protists have evolved varied modes of movement ( [link] ). Some protists have one or more flagella, which they rotate or whip. Others are covered in rows or tufts of tiny cilia that they coordinately beat to swim. Still others form cytoplasmic extensions called pseudopodia anywhere on the cell, anchor the pseudopodia to a substrate, and pull themselves forward. Some protists can move toward or away from a stimulus, a movement referred to as taxis. Movement toward light, termed phototaxis, is accomplished by coupling their locomotion strategy with a light-sensing organ.

Part a shows a shoe-shaped Paramecium, which is covered with fine, hair-like cilia. Part b shows an Amoeba, which is irregular in shape with long extensions of cytoplasm jutting out from the main body. The extensions are called pseudopods. Part c shows an oval Euglena, which has a narrow front end. A long, whip-like flagellum protrudes from the back end.
Protists use various methods for transportation. (a) Paramecium waves hair-like appendages called cilia to propel itself. (b) Amoeba uses lobe-like pseudopodia to anchor itself to a solid surface and pull itself forward. (c) Euglena uses a whip-like tail called a flagellum to propel itself.

Life cycles

Protists reproduce by a variety of mechanisms. Most undergo some form of asexual reproduction, such as binary fission, to produce two daughter cells. In protists, binary fission can be divided into transverse or longitudinal, depending on the axis of orientation; sometimes Paramecium exhibits this method. Some protists such as the true slime molds exhibit multiple fission and simultaneously divide into many daughter cells. Others produce tiny buds that go on to divide and grow to the size of the parental protist. Sexual reproduction, involving meiosis and fertilization, is common among protists, and many protist species can switch from asexual to sexual reproduction when necessary. Sexual reproduction is often associated with periods when nutrients are depleted or environmental changes occur. Sexual reproduction may allow the protist to recombine genes and produce new variations of progeny that may be better suited to surviving in the new environment. However, sexual reproduction is often associated with resistant cysts that are a protective, resting stage. Depending on their habitat, the cysts may be particularly resistant to temperature extremes, desiccation, or low pH. This strategy also allows certain protists to “wait out” stressors until their environment becomes more favorable for survival or until they are carried (such as by wind, water, or transport on a larger organism) to a different environment, because cysts exhibit virtually no cellular metabolism.

Protist life cycles range from simple to extremely elaborate. Certain parasitic protists have complicated life cycles and must infect different host species at different developmental stages to complete their life cycle. Some protists are unicellular in the haploid form and multicellular in the diploid form, a strategy employed by animals. Other protists have multicellular stages in both haploid and diploid forms, a strategy called alternation of generations that is also used by plants.

Habitats

Nearly all protists exist in some type of aquatic environment, including freshwater and marine environments, damp soil, and even snow. Several protist species are parasites that infect animals or plants. A few protist species live on dead organisms or their wastes, and contribute to their decay.

Section summary

Protists are extremely diverse in terms of their biological and ecological characteristics, partly because they are an artificial assemblage of phylogenetically unrelated groups. Protists display highly varied cell structures, several types of reproductive strategies, virtually every possible type of nutrition, and varied habitats. Most single-celled protists are motile, but these organisms use diverse structures for transportation.

Questions & Answers

what is soil
Amina Reply
differences between euglenoid and amoeboid
Grace Reply
what are the difference between aerobic and anaerobic respiration?
Maxwell Reply
Aerobic respiration involves the use of oxygen whiles anaerobic respiration does not involve the use of oxygen
Quabena
what is assmilation
Lucy Reply
what is cell
Manish Reply
cell is the structural and functional unit of life or living things
hamid
where anaerobic respiration occurre?
Manish
in cell
Manish
in cells?
Manish
where anaerobic respiration occurre in cell?
Manish
what's phloem?
Gift Reply
what is different between Latin name and common names
mary Reply
hey
Gift
what's enzyme
Gift
what structure help root hair cells to take up water.
Jackson Reply
which two part of a plant cell are affected when the is immersed in sucrose solution?
Jackson
which two part of a plant cell are affected when the is immersed in sucrose solution?
Jackson
the xylem cells absorbs water and mineral salt from the soil to all part of the plant.
Nana
And the phloem cell take up food prepared from the leaves to all part of the plant
Nana
what is genetic engineering
Mavis Reply
what are the three main type of ecosystem
Mavis
biosphere,
Bigenis
biosphere
Adeniyi
where anaerobic respiration occur?
Manish
what is mitochondria
Might Reply
please what's genetics erngee
Abanke Reply
what is genetic engineering
Eveline Reply
what is the meaning of term mitosis
Lwitiko Reply
outline the significance of mitosis to organisms
Lwitiko
significant of meiosis are to increase in variation and leads to the formation of haploid gamete
Eveline
thanks
Abanke
name the resources to be conserved
Oreva Reply
define natural resources
Oreva
name the agencies responsible for the conservation of natural resources
Oreva
land,water,forests,
Kiiza
nema,uwa
Kiiza
wassup guyz
Peace
land ,water
Erika
Good Land and Water
garnhial
food, fish, livelihoods,forest, land and water
garnhial
explain the importance of carbon dioxide in the body
Kiiza Reply
how does that works
SAMUEL

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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