Day: November 12, 2011

Saturday, 12 November 2011

08:34 – Yesterday I started a group of lab sessions on protozoa/protista/protists, which is a very annoying topic. The problem is that p/p/p is a grab-bag grouping, basically “everything other than prokaryotes that isn’t a plant/animal/fungi”. That said, protists actually fall into three unofficial groups: plant-like (e.g. green algae), animal-like (e.g. amoebae), and fungi-like (e.g. slime molds).

It doesn’t do it justice to call this “group” polyphyletic. More like mega-super-ultra-hyper-phyletic. About the only thing they have in common is that they’re all eukaryotic, are unicellular or simple multicellular, and they mostly live in water or damp soil. Otherwise, they’re all over the map. Some are autotrophs, some heterotrophs, and some can be either depending on their environments. They use different motility methods (or none at all). They reproduce by binary fission or mitosis and/or conjugation and/or cyst formation. Try organizing that grab-bag into something.

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