Protista Survey Lab Activity

survey lab allows you, the student, to view and experience living or preserved organisms (specimens) at different stations. They are a useful way to apply your learning about the classification and characteristics of organisms. In this activity, you will observe representative Protists and answer some questions.

Record all of your answers on the Protist Survey Lab Handout. You may use the Protista Notes or outside sources to help answer the questions (hint: Wikipedia).


Station 1


Examine the Amoeba on the right and answer the questions a-f below:

a. Is this organism a eukaryote or prokaryote? What evidence in the picture supports your answer?

b. How do you know that this is a protist?

c. Explain what two purposes the pseudopods serve:

d. How is a food vacuole formed?

e. What Protist phylum does this organism belong to?

f. Is this an animal-like, plant-like or fungus-like protist?

Click on the microscope to look through it to observe an Amoeba Engulfing Diatom:

g. What is the amoeba doing? What phrase or words can you use to describe its motion?

h. Based on the behavior of the Amoeba above, and your learning about protists, is this organism a heterotroph or autotroph?


Station 2


 Examine the Paramecium on the right and answer the questions a-f below:

a. Label the diagram above with the following structures: contractile vacuole, cilia, anal pore, food vacuole, oral groove, gullet, macronucleus, micronucleus.

b. What phylum does this protist belong to?

c. What are the two purposes of cilia in this organism?

d. Using arrows, trace the path of food through this organism.

e. Based on what you can see, is this protist a heterotroph or autotroph?   What evidence helped you decide on your answer?

f. What is the purpose of a contractile vacuole?

Click on the microscope to look through it to observe an interesting protist, Paramecium bursaria:

You should have noticed something odd about P. bursaria. It is green because it forms a symbiosis with another protist.

g. Why phylum do you think this other protist belongs to?

h. Why might the paramecium benefit from this relationship?


Station 3


Examine the Euglena image on the right and answer questions a-c:

a. Label the flagella, pellicle, chloroplasts, and eyespot (stigma)

b. What phylum does this organism belong to?

c. What is the purpose of the eyespot?

Click on the microscope to look through the microscope to observe the behavior and movement of Euglena:

d. What structure is helping propel the Euglena forward?

e. You should have noticed that the Euglena was able to undulate and change the shape of its cell easily. What cell structure, normally present in the plant-like protists is absent in Euglena, allowing it to move so freely?

f. Is this organism heterotrophic, autotrophic or both?

g. Why is this organism not considered a member of the Plant Kingdom?


Station 4


Examine the picture of the protist, Physarum, on the right and answer questions a-d:

a. With closer magnification, you would be able to see that the cytoplasm is streaming like rivers through its body. If this is possible, does it have cell walls? YES or NO?

b. What protist Phylum does this specimen belong to?

c. It is heterotrophic or autotrophic?

d. What important role does this protist play in its ecosystem?