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Protista

The Kingdom Protista refers to all the [[Eukaryote|Eukaryotes]] except for the [[Plantae]], [[Fungi]], and [[Animalia]].  A few (eg kelp) are multicellular and grow to great size, but most are single-celled organisms of great complexity.

Traditionally protists have been divided into the protozoa, which were classed among the animals, the algae, which were classed among the plants, as well as a few forms that were classed among the fungi.  These were further divided on the basis of locomotion and pigmentation:

* [[Flagellates]] move by means of whip-like flagella, and represent most lines of protists.
* [[Amoeboids]] move by means of deformation.
* [[Sporozoans]] are entirely parasitic forms that don't move and get around via spores.
* [[Ciliophora]] move by many short flagella (called cilia), and have a very complicated structure characterized by two distinct types of nucleus.
* [[Algae]] include motile and non-motile forms that have chloroplasts, and so are capable of photosynthesis.
* [[Oomycota]] and [[Slime molds]] include forms resembling fungi.

Most of these groups are overlapping and polyphyletic, but they are nonetheless a good place to start exploring protist diversity.  Protists are ubiquitous in aqueous environments, and though are generally too small to see with the naked eye (usually 10-500 microns), anyone with a light microscope can observe them.  A few are important parasites.