Introduction to the Ecology of Protists

What you’ll learn to do: Describe the role that protists play in the ecosystem

Protists function in various ecological niches. Whereas some protist species are essential components of the food chain and generators of biomass, others function in the decomposition of organic materials. Still other protists are dangerous human pathogens or causative agents of devastating plant diseases.

The key point to remember is that protists have a wide impact on the ecosystem as well as the biosphere. Oxygen levels on the planet wouldn’t be where they are without plant-like protists going through photosynthesis. There are protists vital to the nitrogen cycle as well as decomposition and recycling of dead organic matter. Science is only now learning the true impact of the group Protista.