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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Temporal range: Neoproterozoic – Recent

Scientific classification
Domain: Eukarya
Excluded groups

 Fungi
 Plantae
 Animalia

Many others;
classification varies
 Excavata
o Euglenozoa
o Percolozoa
o Metamonada
 Rhizaria

o Cercozoa
 Archaeplastida (in part)
o Rhodophyta (red algae)
o Glaucophyta (basal
o Green algae (in some
 Unikonta (in part)
o Amoebozoa
o Choanozoa

Protists /ˈproʊtɨst/ are a large and diverse group of eukaryotic microorganisms, which belong to
the kingdom Protista. There have been attempts to remove the kingdom from the taxonomy but
it is still very much in use.[1][2][3] The use of Protoctista is also preferred by various
organisations and institutions.[4][5][6] Molecular information has been used to redefine this group
in modern taxonomy as diverse and often distantly related phyla. The group of protists is now
considered to mean diverse phyla that are not closely related through evolution and have
different life cycles, trophic levels, modes of locomotion and cellular structures.[7][8] Besides
their relatively simple levels of organization, the protists do not have much in common.[9] They
are unicellular, or they are multicellular without specialized tissues, and this simple cellular
organization distinguishes the protists from other eukaryotes, such as fungi, animals and plants.

The term protista was first used by Ernst Haeckel in 1866. Protists were traditionally subdivided
into several groups based on similarities to the "higher" kingdoms: the unicellular "animal-like"
protozoa, the "plant-like" protophyta (mostly unicellular algae), and the "fungus-like" slime
molds and water molds. These traditional subdivisions, largely based on superficial
commonalities, have been replaced by classifications based on phylogenetics (evolutionary
relatedness among organisms). However, the older terms are still used as informal names to
describe the morphology and ecology of various protists.

Protists live in almost any environment that contains liquid water. Many protists, such as the
algae, are photosynthetic and are vital primary producers in ecosystems, particularly in the ocean
as part of the plankton. Other protists include pathogenic species such as the kinetoplastid
Trypanosoma brucei, which causes sleeping sickness and species of the apicomplexan
Plasmodium which cause malaria.

Historical classifications

The first division of the protists from other organisms came in the 1830s, when the German
biologist Georg August Goldfuss introduced the word protozoa to refer to organisms such as
ciliates and corals.[10] This group was expanded in 1845 to include all unicellular animals, such
as foraminifera and amoebae. The formal taxonomic category Protoctista was first proposed in
the early 1860s by John Hogg, who argued that the protists should include what he saw as
primitive unicellular forms of both plants and animals. He defined the Protoctista as a "fourth
kingdom of nature", in addition to the then-traditional kingdoms of plants, animals and
minerals.[10] The kingdom of minerals was later removed from taxonomy by Ernst Haeckel,
leaving plants, animals, and the protists as a “kingdom of primitive forms”.[11]

In 1938, Herbert Copeland resurrected Hogg's label, arguing that Haeckel's term protista
included anucleated microbes such as bacteria, which the term "Protoctista" (literally meaning
"first established beings") did not. In contrast, Copeland's term included nucleated eukaryotes
such as diatoms, green algae and fungi.[12] This classification was the basis for Whittaker's later
definition of Fungi, Animalia, Plantae and Protista as the four kingdoms of life.[13] The kingdom
Protista was later modified to separate prokaryotes into the separate kingdom of Monera, leaving
the protists as a group of eukaryotic microorganisms.[14] These five kingdoms remained the
accepted classification until the development of molecular phylogenetics in the late 20th century,
when it became apparent that neither protists nor monera were single groups of related organisms
(they were not monophyletic groups).[15]

Modern classifications

Phylogenetic and symbiogenetic tree of living organisms, showing the origins of eukaryotes

Although systematists today do not treat protists as a formal taxon, the term protist is currently
used in two ways. The most popular contemporary definition is a phylogenetic one that identifies
a paraphyletic group: a protist is any eukaryote that is not an animal, (land) plant, or (true)
fungus. The other definition describes protists primarily by functional or biological criteria:
protists are essentially those eukaryotes that are never multicellular,[16] that either exist as
independent cells, or if they occur in colonies, do not show differentiation into tissues.[17] The
term protozoa is used to refer to heterotrophic species of protists that do not form filaments.
These terms are not used in current taxonomy, and are retained only as convenient ways to refer
to these organisms.[citation needed]

The taxonomy of protists is still changing. Newer classifications attempt to present monophyletic
groups based on ultrastructure, biochemistry, and genetics. Because the protists as a whole are
paraphyletic, such systems often split up or abandon the kingdom, instead treating the protist
groups as separate lines of eukaryotes. The recent scheme by Adl et al. (2005)[17] is an example
that does not bother with formal ranks (phylum, class, etc.) and instead lists organisms in
hierarchical lists. This is intended to make the classification more stable in the long term and
easier to update. Some of the main groups of protists, which may be treated as phyla, are listed in
the taxobox, upper right.[18] Many are thought to be monophyletic, though there is still
uncertainty. For instance, the excavates are probably not monophyletic and the chromalveolates
are probably only monophyletic if the haptophytes and cryptomonads are excluded.[19]

Nutrition can vary according to the type of protist. Many protists are flagellate, for example, and
filter feeding can take place where the flagella find prey. Other protists can engulf bacteria and
other food particles, by extending their cell membrane around them to form a food vacuole and
digest them internally, in a process termed phagocytosis.

Nutritional types in protist metabolism

Nutritional Source of
Source of carbon Examples
type energy
Organic compounds or Algae, Dinoflagellates or
Phototrophs Sunlight
carbon fixation Euglena
Organic Apicomplexa, Trypanosomes
Organotrophs Organic compounds
compounds or Amoebae

Some protists reproduce sexually (gametes), while others reproduce asexually (binary fission).

Some species, for example Plasmodium falciparum, have extremely complex life cycles that
involve multiple forms of the organism, some of which reproduce sexually and others
asexually.[20] However, it is unclear how frequently sexual reproduction causes genetic exchange
between different strains of Plasmodium in nature and most populations of parasitic protists may
be clonal lines that rarely exchange genes with other members of their species.[21]

Eukaryotes emerged in evolution more than 1.5 billion years ago.[22] The earliest eukaryotes
were likely protists. Although sexual reproduction is widespread among extant eukaryotes, it
seemed unlikely until recently, that sex could be a primordial and fundamental characteristic of
eukaryotes. A principal reason for this view was that sex appeared to be lacking in certain
pathogenic protists whose ancestors branched off early from the eukaryotic family tree.
However, several of these protists are now known to be capable of, or to recently have had the
capability for, meiosis and hence sexual reproduction. For example, the common intestinal
parasite Giardia lamblia was once considered to be a descendant of a protist lineage that
predated the emergence of meiosis and sex. However, G. lamblia was recently found to have a
core set of genes that function in meiosis and that are widely present among sexual
eukaryotes.[23] These results suggested that G. lamblia is capable of meiosis and thus sexual
reproduction. Furthermore, direct evidence for meiotic recombination, indicative of sex, was also
found in G. lamblia.[24]

The pathogenic parasitic protists of the genus Leishmania have been shown to be capable of a
sexual cycle in the invertebrate vector, likened to the meiosis undertaken in the trypanosomes.[25]

Trichomonas vaginalis, a parasitic protist, is not known to undergo meiosis, but when Malik et
al.[26] tested for 29 genes that function in meiosis, they found 27 to be present, including 8 of 9
genes specific to meiosis in model eukaryotes. These findings suggest that T. vaginalis may be
capable of meiosis. Since 21 of the 29 meiotic genes were also present in G. lamblia, it appears
that most of these meiotic genes were likely present in a common ancestor of T. vaginalis and G.
lamblia. These two species are descendants of protist lineages that are highly divergent among
eukaryotes, leading Malik et al.[26] to suggest that these meiotic genes were likely present in a
common ancestor of all eukaryotes.

Based on a phylogenetic analysis, Dacks and Roger proposed that facultative sex was present in
the common ancestor of all eukaryotes.[27]

This view was further supported by a study of amoebae by Lahr et al.[28] Amoeba have generally
been regarded as asexual protists. However these authors describe evidence that most amoeboid
lineages are anciently sexual, and that the majority of asexual groups likely arose recently and

Protists generally reproduce asexually under favorable environmental conditions, but tend to
reproduce sexually under stressful conditions, such as starvation or heat shock.[29] Oxidative
stress, which is associated with the production of reactive oxygen species leading to DNA
damage, also appears to be an important factor in the induction of sex in protists.[29]

Role as pathogens
There are some protists that are significant pathogens of animals and others that are pathogens of
plants; for example there are five species of the parasitic genus Plasmodium, which cause
malaria in humans; and the oomycete Phytophthora infestans, which causes late blight in
potatoes.[30] A more thorough understanding of protist biology may allow these diseases to be
treated more efficiently.

Recent papers have proposed the use of viruses to treat infections caused by protozoa.[31][32]

Researchers from the Agricultural Research Service are taking advantage of protists as pathogens
in an effort to control red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) populations in Argentina. With
the help of spore-producing protists such as Kneallhazia solenopsae (this is more widely
recognized as belonging to the fungus kingdom now) the red fire ant populations can be reduced
by 53-100%.[33] Researchers have also found a way to infect phorid flies with the protist without
harming the flies. This is important because the flies act as a vector to infect the red fire ant
population with the pathogenic protist.[34]

Fossil record
Many protists have no hard parts or don't produce resistant spores, and their fossils are extremely
rare or unknown, as the apicomplexans,[35] most ciliates,[36] some green algae (the
Klebsormidiales),[37] choanoflagellates,[38] oomycetes,[39] brown algae,[40] yellow-green algae,[41]
excavates (e.g., euglenids).[42] Some of these have been found preserved in amber (fossilized tree
resin) or under unusual conditions.

Others are relativelly common in the fossil record,[43] as the diatoms,[44] golden algae,[45]
haptophytes (coccoliths),[46] silicoflagellates, tintinnids (ciliates), dinoflagellates,[47] green
algae,[48] red algae,[49] heliozoans, radiolarians,[50] foraminiferans,[51] ebriids and testate amoebae
(euglyphids, arcellaceans).[52] Some are even used as paleoecological indicators to reconstruct
ancient environments.

More probable eukaryote fossils begin to appear at about 1.8 billion years ago, the acritarchs,
spherical fossils of likely algal protists.[53]

See also
Useful Reading

Campbell, Biology 6th Ed - Chapter 28, pgs 545-574

Campbell, Biology 7th Ed - Chapter 28, pgs 549-572

Protists are a very large, diverse group of organisms, including the plant-like protists
(algae), fungi-like protists, and the animal-like protists (protozoans). They are all
eukaryotic, and most are unicellular. Traditional taxonomy of protists (Kingdom
Protista) did not accurately represent evolutionary relationships, so the classification
of this group is unsettled. Modern taxonomy has rearranged the group formerly
known as Kingdom Protista, separating the different types of organisms into their own
candidate Kingdoms.

Protists vary in how they obtain energy (autotrophic or heterotrophic) and in their


Movement is achieved by several different methods in the protists.

Cilia -
hair like
from the
surface of a
cell or
Capable of
motion, they
act in unison
to bring
about the
of the cell or
of the
Flagella - A
especially a
whip like
extension of
certain cells
found singly Euglena
or in pairs.
projection of
cytoplasm of
certain cells,
such as
or of certain
especially Amoeba

Energy obtainment

Protists are classified by how they acquire energy. Often a single method is specific
to a single protist. There are four grouping of how energy is obtained.

Photosynthetic autotroph
Chemosynthetic autotroph

Heterotroph by ingestion
Heterotroph by absorption

Photosynthetic autotrophs make their own food using energy from light to power
complex chemical reactions to make glucose. Chemosynthetic autotrophs do the
same thing using energy obtained from the breakdown of chemicals.

Heterotrophs require food as they cannot make their own. Heterotrophs by ingestion
eat by consuming food; taking it into their bodies to be digested by
enzymes. Nutrients are then released from within the body. Heterotrophs by
absorption eat by secreting digestive enzymes outside of their bodies, then absorbing
the nutrients into their bodies.

Excellent Protista Website!!

Excellent Algae Website!!

Diversity according to proposed Candidate Kingdoms

Candidate Kingdom Archaezoa

Lack mitochondria, made up of several hundred species, most are parasitic
Trichonomads, Diplomonads and Microsporidians

-Order Trichomonadida
Example Trichomonas: note the anterior flagella

-Order Diplomonadida
Example Giardia
Candidate Kingdom Euglenozoa
All have anterior chamber from which 2 flagella emerge
Euglenophyta and Zoomastigophora

-Phylum Euglenophyta (Photosynthetic Flagellates)

Flexible pellicle for wall
Motility by flagella
~ 800 species
Example Euglena : flagella, pigment spot (or stigma), positive phototaxis
- Phylum Zoomastigophora (Non-Photosynthetic Flagellates)
Motility by flagella
Thousands of species
Single Mitochondrion
Concentration of extra-nuclear DNA
Commonly called kinetoplastids
Variety of ecological associations: free-living, parasitic, mutualistic
Example Trypanosoma : human parasite that causes African sleeping sickness,
transmitted by tsetse flies

Example Trichonympha : symbiont in termite gut, digests cellulose

Candidate Kingdom Alveolata
All members of this group have small indentations in their cell membranes, called
alveoli, beneath the material covering the outer surface
Pyrrophyta, Ciliphora and Apicomplexa

-Phylum Pyrrhophyta / Dinoflagellata

Most forms with cellulose "armored" plates (theca)
Most marine (brown algae); large component of phytoplankton
Two flagella in grooves
Reproduction mostly fission
Some symbionts
~ 1,000 species
Example Ceratium
Dinoflagellates : Source of red tides, can produce toxins, cause paralytic
shellfish poisoning, cause many tropical fish poisonings
- Phylum Ciliophora (Ciliates)
Locomotion by cilia
Multilayered pellicle
Heterotrophic, many feeding modes
Two types of nuclei: macronucleus and micronuclei
~ 8,000 species
Reproduce sexually
Examples Paramecium (see above in locomotion section), Stentor (left) and
Vorticella (right)
Candidate Kingdom Stramenopila
All have unusual flagella with fine hair like projections
Bacillariophyta, Oomycota, Phaeophyta and Chrysophyta

- Phylum Bacillariophyta (Diatoms)

Freshwater and marine; large component of phytoplankton
Cell walls are two valves with silica; overlap at the girdle
Abundant fossils (diatomaceous earth)
~ 11,500 species
Reproduction mostly by fission
-Phylum Oomycota (water molds and parasitic fungi-like protists)
Vegetative hyphae
Sexual reproductive structures, oogonium and antheridium
Zygote is called an oospore
Asexual reproduction by biflagellated zoospores
Cellulose cell walls
Heterotrophic, decomposers and parasites
~ 500 species
Example Saprolegnia
-Phylum Phaeophyta (Brown Algae or Kelps)
Marine tidal zone to 75 feet deep in temperate waters
Sizes to 10O feet
Color: brown to olive brown
Pigments: Chlorophyll a and fucoxanthin
All multicellular
Many commercial uses
Body Form has a Holdfast, Stipe, Lamina (Blade), and Air bladders
Well defined alternation of diploid and haploid generations
Sporophyte (diploid stage) dominant
Reproductive cells flagellated
Vegetative Reproduction by Fragmentation, Propagules, or Zoospores
Examples Laminaria (left) and Nereocystis (right)

Example Sargassum
-Phylum Chrysophyta (Chrysophytes / Golden algae)

Candidate Kingdom Rhodophyta

Commonly called coralline algae because of calcium carbonate in cellulosic cell
None of the life cycle stages have flagellated cells

-Phylum Rhodophyta (Red Algae)

97% marine
~ 4,000 species
Size to 3 feet, depths to 300 feet
Colors: red, purple, black
Shapes: Unicells, Branching filaments, Sheetlike
No flagellated cells
Pigments: Phycobiliproteins (Phycocyanin, Phycoerythrin), Chlorophyll a
Gametophyte forms gametes, gametes fuse to form Sporophyte
Sporophyte may make many types of sporangia and spores
Source of agar
Examples Porphyra (left) and Rotalgen (right)
Candidate Kingdom Mycetozoa (Slime Molds)
Myxomycota and Acrasiomycota

-Phylum Myxomycota / Myxogastrida (Plasmodial slime molds)

Naked protoplasm or multinucleate plasmodium stage
Nuclei are generally diploid
Heterotrophic (Phagotrophic)
Produce sporangia for sexual reproduction
-Phylum Acrasiomycota / Dictyostelida (Cellular slime molds)
Alternate between amoeboid cells, flagellated cells and plasmodium
Stage (called a slug) which is multicellular not multinucleate
Nuclei are generally haploid
Produce asexual fruiting bodies

Candidate Kingdom Chlorophyta (We will study with Non-flowering Plants)

All have bright green choloroplasts
Very close relationship with plants

-Phylum Chlorophyta (Green Algae)

~ 7000 species
Mostly freshwater
Shapes: Unicellular, Colonial, Filaments, Sheet-like (thallus)
Color: Mostly "grass-green"
Cell walls have cellulose and pectin
Food reserve is starch (stored in pyrenoids)
Pigments: chlorophyll a and b, carotenoids -- like higher plants
Reproduction: Vegetative - Fission, Fragmentation
Reproduction: Sexual - Isogamy, Anisogamy, Oogamy, Conjugation

Sacrodina (Undetermined protist groups)

Amoebas, Radiolarians and forams
All move by pseudopod formation

-Phylum Rhizopoda
Heterotropic protozoans
Lack permanent locomotive organelles like cilia or flagellae
Move and catch prey with transient cellular extensions, pseudopods
Example Amoeba (see above in Locomotion)

-Phylum Actinopoda (Radiolarians [left] and Heliozoans [right])

- Phylum Foraminifera (Forams)

Locomotion by pseudopodia
Heterotrophic; feeding by phagocytosis
Many secrete shells
Examples Radiolaria (Silica) and Foraminifera (CaCO3)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about phototrophism, obtaining energy from light. For the tropism that governs
growth toward or away from a light source, see Phototropism.

Terrestrial and aquatic phototrophs: Plants grow on a fallen log floating in algae-rich water.

Phototrophs (Gr: φῶς, φωτός = light, τροϕή = nourishment) are the organisms that carry out
photon capture to acquire energy. They use the energy from light to carry out various cellular
metabolic processes. It is a common misconception that phototrophs are obligatorily
photosynthetic. Many, but not all, phototrophs often photosynthesize: they anabolically convert
carbon dioxide into organic material to be utilized structurally, functionally, or as a source for
later catabolic processes (e.g. in the form of starches, sugars and fats). All phototrophs either use
electron transport chains or direct proton pumping to establish an electro-chemical gradient
which is utilized by ATP synthase, to provide the molecular energy currency for the cell.

Most of the well-recognized phototrophs are autotrophs, also known as photoautotrophs, and can
fix carbon. They can be contrasted with chemotrophs that obtain their energy by the oxidation of
electron donors in their environments. Photoheterotrophs produce ATP through
photophosphorylation but use environmentally obtained organic compounds to build structures
and other bio-molecules.[1] Photoautotrophic organisms are sometimes referred to as

In an ecological context, phototrophs are often the food source for neighboring heterotrophic life.
In terrestrial environments, plants are the predominant variety, while aquatic environments
include a range of phototrophic organisms such as algae (e.g., kelp), other protists (such as
euglena), phytoplankton, and bacteria (such as cyanobacteria).

Oxygenic photosynthetic organisms use chlorophyll for light-energy capture and oxidize water,
"splitting" it into molecular oxygen. In contrast, anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria have a
substance called bacteriochlorophyll - which absorbs predominantly at non-optical wavelengths -
for light-energy capture, live in aquatic environments, and will, using light, oxidize chemical
substances such as hydrogen sulfide rather than water.

Cyanobacteria, which are prokaryotic organisms which carry out oxygenic photosynthesis,
occupy many environmental conditions, including fresh water, seas, soil, and lichen.
Cyanobacteria carry out plant-like photosynthesis because the organelle in plants that carries out
photosynthesis is actually derived from an endosymbiosis cyanobacteria.

A photolithoautotroph is an autotrophic organism that uses light energy, and an inorganic

electron donor (e.g., H2O, H2, H2S), and CO2 as its carbon source. Examples include plants.

The depth to which sunlight or artificial light can penetrate into water, so that photosynthesis
may occur, is known as the photic zone.


Flowchart to determine if a species is autotroph, heterotroph, or a subtype

 Autotroph
o Chemoautotroph
o Photoautotroph
 Heterotroph
o Chemoheterotroph
o Photoheterotroph

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Overview of cycle between autotrophs and heterotrophs

A heterotroph (/ˈhɛtərɵtroʊf/; ἕτερος heteros = "another", "different" and τροφή trophe =

"nutrition") is an organism that cannot fix carbon and uses organic carbon for growth.[1][2]
Heterotrophs can be further divided based on how they obtain energy; if the heterotroph uses
light for energy, then it is considered a photoheterotroph, while if the heterotroph uses
inorganic/organic energy sources, it is considered a chemoheterotroph.

Heterotrophs contrast with autotrophs, such as plants and algae, which can use energy from
sunlight (photoautotrophs) or inorganic compounds (lithoautotrophs) to produce organic
compounds such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins from inorganic carbon dioxide. These
reduced carbon compounds can be used as an energy source by the autotroph and provide the
energy in food consumed by heterotrophs. Ninety-five percent or more of all types of living
organisms are heterotrophic.[3]

 1 Types
 2 Ecology
 3 See also
 4 References
Organotroph(s) exploit reduced carbon compounds as energy sources, like carbohydrates, fats,
and proteins from plants and animals. Photoorganoheterotrophs such as Rhodospirillaceae and
purple non-sulfur bacteria synthesize organic compounds by utilization of sunlight coupled with
oxidation of inorganic substances, including hydrogen sulfide, elemental sulfur, thiosulfate, and
molecular hydrogen. They use organic compounds to build structures. They do not fix carbon
dioxide and apparently do not have the Calvin cycle.[4] Chemolithoheterotrophs can be
distinguished from mixotrophs (or facultative chemolithotroph), which can utilize either carbon
dioxide or organic carbon as the carbon source.[5][6]

Heterotrophs, by consuming reduced carbon compounds, are able to use all the energy that they
obtain from food for growth and reproduction, unlike autotrophs, which must use some of their
energy for carbon fixation. Heterotrophs are unable to make their own food, however, and
whether using organic or inorganic energy sources, they can die from a lack of food. This applies
not only to animals and fungi but also to bacteria.[4]

Flowchart to determine if a species is autotroph, heterotroph, or a subtype

Main article: Consumers (food chain)
Most heterotrophs are chemoorganoheterotrophs (or simply organotrophs) and utilize organic
compounds both as a carbon source and an energy source. The term "heterotroph" very often
refers to chemoorganoheterotrophs. Heterotrophs function as consumers in food chains: they
obtain organic carbon by eating other heterotrophs or autotrophs. They break down complex
organic compounds (e.g., carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) produced by autotrophs into simpler
compounds (e.g., carbohydrates into glucose, fats into fatty acids and glycerol, and proteins into
amino acids). They release energy by oxidizing carbon and hydrogen atoms present in
carbohydrates, lipids, golden cells, and proteins to carbon dioxide and water, respectively.

Most opisthokonts and prokaryotes are heterotrophic; in particular, all animals and fungi are
heterotrophs.[3] Some animals, such as corals, form symbiotic relationships with autotrophs and
obtain organic carbon in this way. Furthermore, some parasitic plants have also turned fully or
partially heterotrophic, while carnivorous plants consume animals to augment their nitrogen
supply while remaining autotrophic.

See also
 Auxotrophy
 Primary nutritional groups
 Saprotrophic nutrition

Ten Examples of Heterotrophs

written by: Jarod Saucedo • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 2/8/2012

Do you need some examples of heterotrophs? Did you know YOU are a heterotrogh? Learn all
about these living beings here.

Background of Heterotrophs

Heterotrophs are all around us. They are in the oceans, forests, deserts, and some are even sitting
right next to you! Heterotrophs are animals and organisms that eat autotrophs (producers) in
order to survive. Some categories of heterotrophs include herbivores (plant eaters), carnivores
(meat eaters), omnivores (plant and meat eaters), and lastly scavengers (foraging).

Heterotrophs rely on autotrophs for food because they need energy in order to continue
functioning. They either focus on eating plants directly for food or may even eat other species to
gain energy indirectly. For example, let's say that Bob eats a cow. Bob received energy indirectly
from the cow, because the cow ate grass which received its energy from the sun. Therefore,
heterotrophs receive their energy from the sun indirectly by eating other organisms as well as
So what are some examples of heterotrophs you might ask? Well, here's a listing from a variety
of categories!

Herbivore Examples


Herbivores like to munch on autotrophs such as plants and grass. There are several different
types of herbivores varying from insects and mammals. Some insects just eat a part of a plant
while others such as mammals have to chew a large quantity of grass in order to stay healthy.
Let's start by focusing on two herbivores.

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One type of herbivore is one of a farmer's worst fears. Locusts are herbivores that like to swarm
over a wide range of land and can chew through miles of farmland. Unlike grasshoppers which
only chew a part of a plant, locusts feed on all kinds of autotrophs and are feared for disrupting
food supplies.Cows

You have probably eaten this herbivore. It gives us milk for our cereal as well as our beef for our
burgers. Cows are another herbivore that consume a large amount of grass in order to survive.
They also use multiple stomachs in order to break down cellulose which many animals cannot

Carnivore Examples

Rather than munching on plants, carnivores like to eat meat. They can eat herbivores, omnivores,
and even other carnivores. These creatures are often called predators, in that they control certain
populations such as rodents who would grow too large without their guidance. Many carnivores
have sharp teeth or beaks to tear flesh while others have keen eyesight in order to sight their

The precursors to dogs, these creatures are heterotrophs in that they like to eat meat. This type of
carnivore is called a wolf. Wolves like to travel in packs, and usually team up against other
animals such as deer for prey. By using their claws and sharp teeth, wolves are able to get their
food and nutrients by eating meat.

Another type of carnivore is a hawk. Using their eyesight and flight, hawks are able to catch
small rodents such as mice for food. Hawks are very important because they can control rodent
populations. If we didn't have hawks, rodents such as mice would be a major hindrance to

The last example of a carnivore swims in the oceans. When you think of sharks, you might think
of a particular movie, however sharks usually like to prey on fish. Using their rows of sharp teeth
as well as their speed through the ocean's water, sharks are important in that they, like hawks,
help control the fish populations.

Omnivore Examples


Omnivores are interesting because they are both herbivores and carnivores. For example, they
can eat plants such as fruits and vegetables as well as eating meat such as beef and pork. Getting
the best of both worlds, omnivores can eat herbivores, carnivores, as well as other omnivores.
These heterotrophs are probably the best in adapting to any environment.

Let's see what some examples of heterotrophs you might be acquainted with.

The first type is you! Yes, humans are omnivores. We can eat fruit and vegetables as well as
various types of meat such as beef and pork. For example, we can use our canine teeth to tear
food as well as use our molars to grind up plants such as broccoli and onions. It's a benefit to be
an omnivore because we can adapt in any given situation--provided there is food around.800px-
Grizzly Bear cubs

Another omnivore is grizzly bears. Grizzly bears usually focus on foraging for food such as
feeding on berries and insects. Using their claws, grizzly bears can catch fish as well as grab
animals out of their burrows. Just make sure that you do not approach grizzly bears too closely--
otherwise they may catch you as prey!

Scavenger Examples


The last type of heterotrophs are called scavengers. Scavengers like to eat the leftovers of things
or they like to animals that have recently died called carrion. Some scavengers only eat carrion,
while others can also eat plants or fruit. Without scavengers, the dead population would have a
hard time decomposing and are planet would not smell that great.

One example of a scavenger that creeps out many people are cockroaches. Cockroaches can
survive pretty much anywhere and like to focus on eating scraps from garbage while others eat
dead plants in forests. Cockroaches have been around for over 340 million years and it is even
speculated that they could survive a nuclear winter.Vulture

Two other types of scavengers like to eat carrion that have recently died. For example, opossums
and vultures usually feed on dead creatures; however, you are probably acquainted seeing them
feed on animals that have been hit by cars. One interesting thing about vultures is that their
feathers and urine are built to protect them from bacteria when they feed on a carcass. Opossums,
on the other hand, are usually the ones hit by cars, so they are both scavengers--and carrion.

So the next time someone asks you what are some examples of heterotrophs, ask them which
type they are talking about. There are hundres and thousands of heterotrphs in our world!


noun, plural: sporozoans

Any of the numerous protozoans of the phylum (or class) Sporozoa, generally characterized by being
unicellular, parasitic, and capable of reproducing sexually and asexually in alternate generations via


Of, or pertaining to (a species of) the Sporozoa.


Many species of Sporozoa cause serious diseases such as malaria and coccidiosis.

 An example of a sporozoan is a plasmodium-- which causes malaria.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Temporal range: Cambrian - Recent




Live Ammonia tepida (Rotaliida)

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Rhizaria

Phylum: Foraminifera
d'Orbigny, 1826


Fusulinida- extinct
Involutinida - extinct
incertae sedis

The Foraminifera ("hole bearers", or forams for short) are a phylum or class of amoeboid protists. They are
characterized both by their thin pseudopodia that form an external net for catching food, and they usually have
an external shell, or test, made of various materials and constructed in diverse forms. Most forams are aquatic,
primarily marine, and the majority of species live on or within the seafloor sediment (benthos) with a small
number of species known to be floaters in the water column at various depths (plankton). A few are known from
freshwater or brackish conditions and some soil species have been identified through molecular analysis
of small subunit ribosomal DNA.[1][2]

Foraminifera typically produce a test, or shell, which can have either one or multiple chambers, some becoming
quite elaborate in structure.[3] These shells are commonly made of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) or agglutinated
sediment particles. About 275,000 species are recognized, both living andfossil.[citation needed] They are usually
less than 1 mm in size, but some are much larger, the largest species reaching up to 20 cm.[4]

The taxonomic position of Foraminifera has varied since their recognition as protozoa (protists) by
Schultze in 1854,[5] there referred to as an order, Foraminiferida. Leoblich and Tappan (1992) re-ranked
Foraminifera as a class[6] as it is now commonly regarded.

Foraminifera have typically been included in the Protozoa,[7][8][9] or in the similar Protoctista
or Protist kingdom.[10][11] There is compelling evidence, based primarily on molecular phylogenetics, for
their belonging to a major group within the Protozoa known as the Rhizaria.[7] Prior to the recognition of
evolutionary relationships among the members of the Rhizaria, Foraminifera were generally grouped with
other Amoeboids as phylum Rhizopodea (or Sarcodina) in the class Granuloreticulosa.

Rhizaria is problematic as it is often called a "supergroup", rather than using an established taxonomic
rank such as phylum. Cavalier-Smith defines Rhizaria as an infrakingdom within the Kingdom Protozoa. [7]

Some taxonomies put Foraminifera in a phylum of their own, putting them on par with the amoeboid
Sarcodina in which they had been placed.

Although as yet unsupported by morphological correlates, molecular data strongly suggest that
Foraminifera are closely related to the Cercozoa andRadiolaria, both of which also include amoeboids
with complex shells; these three groups make up the Rhizaria.[8] However, the exact relationships of the
forams to the other groups and to one another are still not entirely clear.

Living foraminifera[edit]
Modern forams are primarily marine, although some can survive in brackish conditions. [12] They are most
commonly benthic, and about 40 morphospecies are planktonic.[13] This count may however represent
only a fraction of actual diversity, since many genetically discrepant species may be morphologically

A number of forams have unicellular algae as endosymbionts, from diverse lineages such as the green
algae, red algae, golden algae, diatoms, and dinoflagellates.[13] Some forams arekleptoplastic,
retaining chloroplasts from ingested algae to conduct photosynthesis.[15]

The foraminiferal cell is divided into granular endoplasm and transparent ectoplasm from which a
pseudopodial net may emerge through a single opening or through many perforations in the test.
Individual pseudopods characteristically have small granules streaming in both directions.[12] The
pseudopods are used for locomotion, anchoring, and in capturing food, which consists of small organisms
such as diatoms or bacteria.[13]

The foraminiferal life-cycle involves an alternation between haploid and diploid generations, although they
are mostly similar in form.[5][16] The haploid or gamont initially has a single nucleus, and divides to produce
numerous gametes, which typically have two flagella. The diploid or schizont is multinucleate, and
after meiosis fragments to produce new gamonts. Multiple rounds of asexual reproduction between
sexual generations is not uncommon in benthic forms.[12]

Abundance of certain Foraminifera is sometimes used by researchers as an indicator of the

completeness of vertical mixing in certain seas such as the Celtic Sea.


Foraminiferan tests (ventral view)

Fossil nummulitid foraminiferans showing microspheric and megalospheric individuals;Eocene of the United Arab Emirates;
scale in mm.

The miliolid foraminiferanQuinqueloculina from the Belgian part of theNorth Sea.

Thin section of a peneroplid foraminiferan from Holocene lagoonal sediment in Rice Bay, San Salvador Island, Bahamas.
Scale bar 100 micrometres.
Ammonia beccarii, a benthic foram from theNorth Sea.

Foraminifera Baculogypsina sphaerulata of Hatoma Island, Japan. Field width = 5.22 mm.

The form and composition of the test is the primary means by which forams are identified and classified.
Most have calcareous tests, composed ofcalcium carbonate.[12] In other forams the test may be
composed of organic material, made from small pieces of sediment cemented together (agglutinated),
and in one genus of silica. Openings in the test, including those that allow cytoplasm to flow between
chambers, are called apertures. The test contains an organic matrix, which can sometimes be recovered
from fossil samples.[17]

Tests are known as fossils as far back as the Cambrian period,[18] and many marine sediments are
composed primarily of them. For instance, the limestone that makes up the pyramids of Egypt is
composed almost entirely of nummulitic benthic Foraminifera.[19] Production estimates indicate that reef
Foraminifera annually generate approximately 43 million tons of calcium carbonate and thus play an
essential role in the production of reef carbonates.[20]

Genetic studies have identified the naked amoeba "Reticulomyxa" and the peculiar xenophyophores as
foraminiferans without tests. A few other amoeboids produce reticulose pseudopods, and were formerly
classified with the forams as the Granuloreticulosa, but this is no longer considered a natural group, and
most are now placed among the Cercozoa.[21]

Deep sea species[edit]

Foraminifera are found in the deepest parts of the ocean such as the Mariana Trench, including
the Challenger Deep, the deepest part known. At these depths, below the carbonate compensation depth,
the calcium carbonate of the tests is soluble in water due to the extreme pressure. The Foraminifera
found in the Challenger Deep thus have no carbonate test, but instead have one of organic material. [22]

Four species have been found in the Challenger Deep that are unknown from any other place in the
oceans, one of which is representative of an endemic genus unique to the region. They
are Resigella laevis and R. bilocularis, Nodellum aculeata, and Conicotheca nigrans (the unique genus).
All have tests that are mainly of transparent organic material which have small (~ 100 nm) plates that
appears to be clay [22]

Evolutionary significance[edit]
Dying planktonic Foraminifera continuously rain down on the sea floor in vast numbers, their mineralized
tests preserved as fossils in the accumulatingsediment. Beginning in the 1960s, and largely under the
auspices of the Deep Sea Drilling, Ocean Drilling, and International Ocean Drilling Programmes, as well
as for the purposes of oil exploration, advanced deep-sea drilling techniques have been bringing up
sediment cores bearing Foraminifera fossils by the millions. The effectively unlimited supply of these fossil
tests and the relatively high-precision age-control models available for cores has produced an
exceptionally high-quality planktonic Foraminifera fossil record dating back to the mid-Jurassic, and
presents an unparalleled record for scientists testing and documenting the evolutionary process. The
exceptional quality of the fossil record has allowed an impressively detailed picture of species inter-
relationships to be developed on the basis of fossils, in many cases subsequently validated independently
through molecular genetic studies on extant specimens. Larger benthic Foraminifera with complex shell
structure react in a highly specific manner to the different benthic environments and, therefore, the
composition of the assemblages and the distribution patterns of particular species reflect simultaneously
bottom types and the light gradient. In the course of Earth history, larger Foraminifera are replaced
frequently. In particular, associations of Foraminifera characterizing particular shallow water facies types
are dying out and are replaced after a certain time interval by new associations with the same structure of
shell morphology, emerging from a new evolutionary process of adaptation. These evolutionary
processes make the larger Foraminifera prone to be fossil index for the Permian, Jurassic, Cretaceous
and Cenozoic (e.g. Lukas Hottinger).

Uses of foraminifera[edit]
Because of their diversity, abundance, and complex morphology, fossil foraminiferal assemblages are
useful for biostratigraphy, and can accurately give relative dates to rocks. The oil industry relies heavily
on microfossils such as forams to find potential oil deposits.[23]

Calcareous fossil Foraminifera are formed from elements found in the ancient seas they lived in. Thus
they are very useful in paleoclimatology andpaleoceanography. They can be used to reconstruct past
climate by examining the stable isotope ratios and trace element content of the shells (tests). Global
temperature and ice volume can be revealed by the isotopes of oxygen, and the history of the carbon
cycle and oceanic productivity by examining the stable isotope ratios of carbon; [24] see δ18O and δ13C.
The concentration of trace elements, like magnesium (Mg),[25] lithium (Li)[26] and boron (B),[27] also hold a
wealth of information about global temperature cycles, continental weathering and the role ocean in the
global carbon cycle. Geographic patterns seen in the fossil records of planktonic forams are also used to
reconstruct ancient ocean currents. Because certain types of Foraminifera are found only in certain
environments, they can be used to figure out the kind of environment under which ancient marine
sediments were deposited.

For the same reasons they make useful biostratigraphic markers, living foraminiferal assemblages have
been used as bioindicators in coastal environments, including indicators of coral reef health. Because
calcium carbonate is susceptible to dissolution in acidic conditions, Foraminifera may be particularly
affected by changing climate and ocean acidification.

Foraminifera have many uses in petroleum exploration and are used routinely to interpret the ages and
paleoenvironments of sedimentary strata in oil wells.[28] Agglutinated fossil Foraminifera buried deeply in
sedimentary basins can be used to estimate thermal maturity, which is a key factor for petroleum
generation. The Foraminiferal Colouration Index [29] (FCI) is used to quantify colour changes and estimate
burial temperature. FCI data is particularly useful in the early stages of petroleum generation (~100°C).

Foraminifera can also be utilised in archaeology in the provenancing of some stone raw material types.
Some stone types, such as limestone, are commonly found to contain fossilised Foraminifera. The types
and concentrations of these fossils within a sample of stone can be used to match that sample to a
source known to contain the same "fossil signature".


Foraminifera of Pag Island, Adriatic Sea -60 m. Field width = 5.5 mm.

Foraminifera of Pag Island, Adriatic Sea -60 m. Field width = 5.5 mm.

Foraminifera of Pag Island, Adriatic Sea -60 m. Field width = 5.5 mm.

Foraminifera of Pag Island, Adriatic Sea -60 m. Field width = 5.5 mm.

Foraminifera of the Indian Ocean, South-eastern coast of Bali. Field width = 5.5 mm.

Foraminifera of the Indian Ocean, South-eastern coast of Bali. Field width = 5.5 mm.

Foraminifera of the Indian Ocean, South-eastern coast of Bali. Field width = 5.5 mm.

Foraminifera in Ngapali, Myanmar. Field width = 5.22 mm.

Foraminifera Heterostegina depressa. Field width = 4.4 mm.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Temporal range: Cambrian – Recent



Radiolaria illustration from the Challenger

Expedition 1873–76.

Scientific classification

Domain: Eukaryota

Kingdom: Rhizaria

Superphylum: Retaria

Phylum: Radiolaria
Müller 1858 emend.



The Radiolaria are protozoa of (diameter 0.1–0.2 mm) that produce intricate mineral skeletons, typically with a
central capsule dividing the cell into the inner and outer portions of endoplasm and ectoplasm. They are found
as zooplankton throughout the ocean, and their skeletal remains make up a large part of the cover of the ocean
floor as siliceous ooze. Due to their rapid turn-over of species, they represent an important diagnostic
fossil found from theCambrian onwards. Some common radiolarian fossils
include Actinomma, Heliosphaera and Hexadoridium.


Circogonia icosahedra, a species of Radiolaria, shaped like a regular icosahedron

Radiolarians have many needle-like pseudopodia supported by bundles of microtubules, which aid in the
Radiolarian's buoyancy. The cell nucleus and most other organelles are in the endoplasm, while the
ectoplasm is filled with frothyvacuoles and lipid droplets, keeping them buoyant. The radiolarian can often
contain symbiotic algae, especiallyzooxanthellae, which provide most of the cell's energy. Some of this
organization is found among the heliozoa, but those lack central capsules and only produce simple scales
and spines.

Some radiolarians are known for their resemblance to regular polyhedra, such as the icosahedron-
shaped Circogonia icosahedra pictured to the left.

The radiolarians belongs to the supergroup Rhizaria together
with Cercozoa and Foraminifera.[1] Traditionally the radiolarians have been divided into four groups—
Acantharea, Nassellaria, Spumellaria and Phaeodaria. Phaeodaria is however now considered to be a
Cercozoan.[2][3] Nassellaria and Spumellaria both produce siliceous skeletons and were therefore grouped
together in the group Polycystina. Despite some initial suggestions to the contrary, this is also supported
by molecular phylogenies. The Acantharea produce skeletons of strontium sulfate and is closely related
to a peculiar genus, Sticholonche(Taxopodida), which lacks an internal skeleton and was for long time
considered a heliozoan. The Radiolaria can therefore be divided into two major lineages: Polycystina
(Spumellaria + Nassellaria) and Spasmaria (Acantharia + Taxopodida).[4][5]
There are several higher-order groups that have been detected in molecular analyses of environmental
data. Particularly, groups related to Acantharia[6]and Spumellaria.[7] These groups are so far completely
unknown in terms of morphology and physiology and the radiolarian diversity is therefore likely to be
much higher than what is currently known.

The relationship between the Foraminifera and Radiolaria is also debated. Molecular trees supports their
close relationship—a grouping termed Retaria.[8] But whether they are sister lineages or if the
Foraminifera should be included within the Radiolaria is not known.

Fossil record[edit]
The earliest known radiolaria date to the very start of the Cambrian period, appearing in the same beds
as the first small shelly fauna—they may even be terminal Precambrian in age. They have significant
differences from later radiolaria, with a different silica lattice structure and few, if any, spikes on
the test.[9] Ninety percent of radiolarian species are extinct. The skeletons, or tests, of ancient radiolarians
are used in geological dating, including for oil exploration and determination of ancient climates.[10]

Haeckel's radiolarians[edit]
German biologist Ernst Haeckel produced finely detailed drawings of radiolaria in Kunstformen der
Natur (1904), helping to popularize these protists among Victorian parlor microscopists
alongside foraminifera and diatoms.

Proteus: A Nineteenth Century Vision, written and directed by David Lebrun, is an animated documentary
focusing on Radiolaria, making extensive use of Haeckel's drawings.[11]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Amoeba (disambiguation).


Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Cavalier-Smith 1998

Kingdom: Protozoa
Cavalier-Smith 2002a, 2003a

Phylum: Amoebozoa
Lühe 1913 emend. Cavalier-Smith


Subphylum: Lobosa

Class: Tubulinea

Subclass: Sarcodina

Order: Tubulinida

Family: Amoebidae

Genus: Amoeba
Bory de Saint-Vincent, 1822


 Amoeba gorgonia Pen.

 Amoeba limicola Rhumb.
 Amoeba proteus Pal.
 Amoeba vespertilio Pen.

Amoeba (sometimes amœba or ameba, plural amoebae or amoebas) is a genus of Protozoa[1] that consists
of unicellular organisms which do not have a definite shape.

Anatomy of an amoeba.

The cell's organelles and cytoplasm are enclosed by a cell membrane; it obtains its food
throughphagocytosis. This makes amoebae heterotrophs. Amoebae have a single large
tubular pseudopod at the anterior end, and several secondary ones branching to the sides. The
cytoplasm of amoeba is divided into outer ectoplasm and inner endoplasm. The most famous
species, Amoeba proteus, averages about 220-740 μm in length while in motion,[6] making it a giant
among amoeboids.[7] A few amoeboids belonging to different genera can grow larger, however, such
as Gromia, Pelomyxa, andChaos.

Amoebae's most recognizable features include one or more nuclei and a simple contractile vacuole to
maintain osmotic equilibrium - low water amounts in cell protecting cell from bursting with excess water.
Food enveloped by the amoeba is stored and digested in vacuoles. Amoebae, like other
unicellulareukaryotic organisms, reproduce asexually via mitosis and cytokinesis, not to be confused
with binary fission, which is how prokaryotes (bacteria) reproduce. In cases where the amoeba are
forcibly divided, the portion that retains the nucleus will survive and form a new cell and cytoplasm, while
the other portion dies. Amoebae also have no definite shape.[8]