Comparative Protozoology

The protozoa are an eclectic assemblage of organisms encompassing a wide range of single-celled and multiple-celled colonial organisms lacking tissue organization, but exhibiting remarkably refined biological behavior. In some modern classifications, they are classified as a subkingdom among the Protista (eukaryotic single-celled organisms). Although they are not considered a formal category by some taxonomists and some biologists consider the name inappropriate (inferring that they are the first unicellular animals, although some photosynthesize), it is still convenient to consider this group of organisms as an informal collection under the heading of protozoa. Their cosmopolitan distribution, significant ecological role in mineral recycling and enhancement of carbon flow through lower trophic levels of food webs, and remarkable cellular adaptations to enhance survival in diverse environments make them significant organisms for biological investigation.

Comparative protozoology includes study of major groups, including parasitic and free-living species, which are described with respect to their morphology, ecology, functional microanatomy, biochemistry, physiology, life histories, and principles of genetics. Protozoans are common, and they are of particular interest to man because they cause such diseases as malaria, amoebic dysentery, and African sleeping sickness. Certain protozoans known as foraminifera, which have an extensive fossil record, are useful to geologists in locating petroleum deposits. They also serve as experimental organisms in many studies of cell and molecular biology.

  • The Protozoa in a broad perspective
  • Amoebae and their relatives
  • Ecology and Habitats
  • Functional Microanatomy
  • Physiology and life processes
  • Pathogenic free-living amoebae

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