The term “protist” refers to a diverse taxonomic group of eukaryotic cells that cannot be classified as plants, animals, or fungi. Being eukaryotic means that protists have a nuclei and membrane-bound organelles. Protists may be unicellular, live in colonies, or multicellular. There are three groups of protists, which are identified and briefly explained below.
1. Animal-like protists can move and are heterotrophic. Being heterotrophic means that these organisms consume other things in order to obtain energy.
2. Plant-like protists are autotrophic. Being autotrophic means that these organisms make their own energy, most often via the process known as photosynthesis.
3. Fungi-like protists are also heterotrophic and reproduce by suing spores.
Protista are often referred to as “pond life” because many protists can be found lignin in wet or moist environments, such as ponds. Examples of protists are amoebas, euglena, paramecium, plasmodium, and some algae.