A diverse array of unicellular
eukaryotic organisms exists almost anywhere there is water. All
unicellular eukaryotes are classified in the kingdom Protista, along
with the multicellular eukaryotes that arent considered animals,
plants, or fungi.
The resulting grab-bag kingdom
is one of unexpected diversity in form and lifestyle. The taxonomy
of the protists is an unsettled scientific problem that is the
subject of intense research.
An exploration of protist
diversity can begin in a drop of pond water. In this Lesson, well
also explore the origins of the eukaryotes, and look at a wide
variety of protist organisms including plantlike algae, one-celled
predators, and slimy decomposers.