Introduction to the Characteristics of Protists

Identify the common characteristics of protists

There are over 100,000 described living species of protists, and it is unclear how many undescribed species may exist. Since many protists live as commensals or parasites in other organisms and these relationships are often species-specific, there is a huge potential for protist diversity that matches the diversity of hosts. As the catchall term for eukaryotic organisms that are not animal, plant, or fungi, it is not surprising that very few characteristics are common to all protists.

What You’ll Learn to Do

  • Describe the cell structure of protists
  • Describe the motility of protists
  • Describe the metabolic diversity of protists
  • Describe the life cycle and habitat diversity of protists

Learning Activities

The learning activities for this section include the following:

  • Cell Structure and Motility
  • Metabolism
  • Life Cycles and Habitats
  • Self Check: Characteristics of Protists


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