The Kingdom of Protists

By Jason Wan

About Protists

Protists are prokaryotic organisms. Some protists are heterotrophs and some are autotrophs. Some protists are unicellular and some are multicellular. Protists that are multicellular have simpiler cells than of a unicellular protist. Some protists include amoebas, euglenoids, diatoms, dinoflagellates, paramecium, and protozoans. There are two types of protists, plant-like protists and animal-like protists. Amoebas, euglenoids, paramecium, and protozoans are animal-like protists. Diatoms and dinoflagellates are plant-like protists.

Harmful and Helpful Protists

Some protists are harmful and some are harmless. Some harmful protists are protozoans, but not all protozoans are harmful. An example of a harmful protozoan is the Giardia. When a beaver goes to a stream to drink, it deposits these Giardia. If a human, such as a hiker comes by and drinks from the stream, the Giardia will attach to the hiker's intestines. The Giardia then feeds and reproduces. The hiker will get a disease called hiker's disease. This disease's symptoms are serious intetinal conditions. As I said before, not all protists are harmful. For instance, one type of protozoan with flagella lives in the intestines of a termite. The protozoan eats the wood and produces sugar for itself and the termite. The termite protects the protozoan and to return the favor, the protozoan produces sugar for the termite.

How Protists affect the Community/Me

Protists affect the community in many ways. For example, protists are a part of the food chain, so even if we don't eat them, they could affect the food we eat. For example, a jelly fish may eat a protist, then a tuna comes by and eats the jelly fish. Since some people eat tuna, they could be affected by the loss of protists in the food chain. Another example, is that as stated in the above paragraph, some protists cause hiker's disease. Some protists are parasites who feed on a host can cause extremely deadly diseases such as malaria. Though you may have heard that mosquitos pass on malaria, that information is only partially true. The truth is that the protists that cause malaria come from mosquitos carrying them. Protists are important to science because they are living organisms and are part of food chains so they fit under bioligy. Protists are important to me because they are living things and I believe that all living things are important.