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Protists refer to an eclectic class of organisms known as eukaryotic, meaning that they contain a nucleus, cell membrane, and organelles. However, these organisms are unique in nature in that it is difficult to classify them as animals, fungi, parasites, or plants. Regardless, they share various traits with other organisms belonging to the eukaryotic group. In essence, protists cannot be placed into any other physical and genetic classification. This paper explores ambiguous protist organisms by looking into their structures, the impact of algae on humans, and internal organelles in Stentor and Vorticella.

Ambiguous Protist

The illustration of green scum under a microscope shows images of protists with a red eyespot. The protist organisms are more plant-like, as they seem to respond to light showing the capability to undergo photosynthesis. More so, they have chloroplasts comprising the pigment chlorophyll, which accumulates light and converts it into energy (Ambiguous Protist, 2018). The organisms are green in color, which generates from the pigments that cover the chlorophyll. On the other hand, animal cells do not contain chloroplasts, and they may not show movement at all as they do not react to light.

Stentor and Vorticella

Vorticella usually are suspension consumers. The process begins with reabsorption of the somatic cilia that offer the strength and element needed to discharge stalk and mutation. Once they attach to a substrate, they begin feeding on various materials in their environment. The peristome is the mouth through which food is ingested, and around it is cilia that sweep nourishment in the environment into the open furrow for ingestion (Stentor and Vorticella, 2018). Vorticella rarely swim freely, so they depend on material swimming near them for consumption. The organism contains a green-colored eating vacuole that separates itself and swims to the rear of the cell when ingesting.

Stentors are similar to ciliates and are filter consumers. They passively feed on materials swept in their direction. Often, they consume bacteria and algae, but large stentors opportunistically consume all food materials they are able to catch (Stentor and Vorticella, 2018). They’re trumpet-like shaped and uses cilia to sweep their surrounding for food. The nucleus is visible within the organism, shaped similarly to a string of beads.

Algae Protists

Algae are members of water photosynthetic organisms belonging to the Protista classification. An alga has various life cycles and varies in size from a tiny Micromonas organism to big kelps estimated 200 feet (Rose & Caron, 2007). There are different types of algae. Green algae are plant-like organisms that generate energy through the process of photosynthesis. These microscopic plants are a food source for fish, ultimately consumed by humans (Filip et al., 2012). However, the occurrence of algal bloom in water can cause mass death of aquatic animals in the affected region.

On the other hand, brown and red algae are an important type of protist to both marine life and humans. These plant-like organisms contain large quantities of iodine, a nutritional feed for animals and humans. More so, brown and red algae are sources of alginate, which is utilized in food production (Filip et al., 2012). Nonetheless, water affected by algae may not be healthy for drinking, refreshment, or for farming use. Contact with this water may cause skin irritation, respiratory impacts, and fever symptoms (Sellner, Doucette & Kirkpatrick, 2003). Also, drinking the affected water can result in the ingestion of toxins that result in gastroenteritis signs such as diarrhea and headaches.

Algae protists


Apart from being one of the largest eukaryotic organisms, protists contain numerous cell structures, reproductive cycles, and feeding mechanisms. They are unique in nature in that it is difficult to classify them as animals, fungi, parasites, or plants. Some of them develop eyespots that help in sensing light waves helping guide them toward light sources. Lastly, some protists, such as Algae, can be beneficial and harmful to human beings as they can be a source of nutrients and infections.


Ambiguous Protist. Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity. Retrieved March 27, 2018, from

Filip, J., Müller, L. L., Hillebrand, H., & Moorthi, S. (2012). Nutritional mode and specialization alter protist consumer diversity effects on prey assemblages. Aquatic microbial ecology66(3), 257-269.

Rose, J. M., & Caron, D. A. (2007). Does low temperature constrain the growth rates of heterotrophic protists? Evidence and implications for algal blooms in cold waters. Limnology and Oceanography52(2), 886-895.

Sellner, K. G., Doucette, G. J., & Kirkpatrick, G. J. (2003). Harmful algal blooms: causes, impacts and detection. Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology30(7), 383-406.

Stentor and Vorticella. Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity. Retrieved March 27, 2018, from


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Protist is a catch-all term that usually refers to single-celled, eukaryotic organisms. Protists can be animal-like, fungal-like or plant-like in terms of the organelles they contain. The animal-like protists have traditionally been called “protozoans.” They are heterotrophic and usually have structures for motility. Plant-like protists are autotrophic and capable of photosynthesis. Many of them are floaters, with no structures for motility.



Protists are among the largest of all eukaryotic cells. They often have specialized organelles that are not found in the cells of multicellular organisms. These organelles combine to accomplish the basic functions that we associate with entire organ systems of plants and animals. For example, there are organelles in some freshwater protists that maintain osmotic equilibrium by pumping excess fluid out of the cell—a function performed by the urinary system of most animals. There are also protists that do not fit neatly into plant-like or animal-like categories.

Study the following video of an ambiguous protist. (The video has no sound.) Then write a short description indicating why you think the protist is more animal-like or more plant-like. (Base your answer on observations of the protist.)

Ambiguous Protist. Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity. Retrieved March 27, 2018, from
View the following video of two animal-like protists, Stentor and Voticella (audio included), and then answer the questions listed below:

Stentor and Vorticella. Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity.Retrieved March 27, 2018, from
Describe the ways in which Stentor and Vorticella feed; what structures are involved in feeding?
Name, and briefly describe, one internal organelle in each protist.
Research one additional protist. Insert an image of your chosen protist into your word document (it should be no larger than 2.5-by-3 inches). Describe its beneficial or harmful effects on humans.
Assignment Expectations
Organize this essay assignment using subtitles that summarize the topic from each question above. For example, use descriptive subtitles such as Ambiguous Protist, etc.

Your essay should be approximately 1½–2 pages. Answer each question under the subtitle using complete sentences that relate back to the question. Be sure to use APA formatting throughout your essay, and use 1-inch margins, 12-point type and double spacing. Include a title page, an introduction, answers to the questions with subtitles, and a concluding paragraph. Remember to include in-text citations within the body of the essay referencing your resources (e.g., Murray, 2014). Also, be sure to include a reference section at the end of your assignment listing all required readings and any additional resources you used to complete your essay. A helpful guide to writing a quality essay can be found in Writing Tips. The Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper also provides links to example essays written within APA format.

Direct quotes should be limited and must be designated by quotation marks. Paraphrased ideas must give credit to the original author, for example: (Murray, 2014). Direct copying from “homework help” websites will not receive credit. Once you have completed your assignment within a Word document, please upload your final version to the Case 3 Dropbox. Please also note your Turnitin originality score and make revisions as needed. Please contact your instructor with any questions.

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