The Role of Symbiotic & Photosynthetic Protists

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  • 0:01 Protists
  • 0:33 Symbiotic Protists
  • 1:34 Photosynthetic Protists
  • 2:27 Dual Protists
  • 3:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

In this video lesson, you will learn how some one-celled organisms can be beneficial to other larger organisms. You will see how some of these one-celled organisms actually provide food for the larger organism.


In this lesson, we talk about protists. The protists are one-celled organisms. Protists can live by themselves or in colonies. Protozoa, some algae, and slime molds are some examples of protists. The protists that we see are usually the protists that live in colonies. When they live on their own, they're usually too small to see with our naked eye. Some protists are beneficial, while others do harm. In this lesson, we'll discuss some of the protists that do good.

Symbiotic Protists

We'll begin with symbiotic protists. These are protists that live with other larger organisms in a mutually beneficial relationship. Symbiotic means that both parties benefit from each other; both the protists and the larger organism benefit from this arrangement. Many times, it is the larger organism providing protection for the protists, and the protists providing an essential service to the larger organism. The anaerobic parabasalid species of protist is an example of this type of protist. This species of protist happens to live in the digestive tract of wood-eating cockroaches and termites. The termite or the cockroach and the protists form a symbiotic relationship, where the protists help the insect digest the wood that it eats, and the termite or cockroach provides the shelter and protection to the protists. Without these protists, the termites and cockroaches wouldn't be able to eat, and without the termites and cockroaches, the protists wouldn't have protection; they need each other.

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