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Note: This lesson is assessed in the Microscope Internal but not the External Exam. 3. Single Celled Organisms. Describe the structure of a variety of single celled organisms and the functions of their organelles. Unicellular Organisms. - Unicellular (one celled) organisms

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3 single celled organisms

Note: This lesson is assessed in the Microscope Internal but not the External Exam

3. Single Celled Organisms

Describe the structure of a variety of single celled organisms and the functions of their organelles

unicellular organisms
Unicellular Organisms

-Unicellular (one celled) organisms

are good models for membrane

transport, because they need to

perform many functions with one cell,

rather than many types of cells.


Unicellular organisms possess a high

degree of complexity for one cell.

Note: multicellular organisms have many cells, but each type performs one basic function. The interaction of the cells allows a multi-celled organism to live.

there are 3 main types of unicellular organisms
There are 3 main types of unicellular organisms
  • Euglena
  • Paramecium
  • Amoeba
  • You will be given diagrams of these three organisms.
  • Use the slides following to label and take notes about the functions of their organelles.

Some Common Unicellular Organisms

  • Euglena: a genus of microscopic
  • organisms in the Protista Kingdom.

-lives in fresh water, and are

especially common in warm seasons,

when they populate drainage ditches

and ponds.


-Euglena has a spindle-shaped body,

and range in size from 1/1000 to

1/100 of an inch (0.025 to 0.254 mm)


-Most species are green, because they

contain chloroplasts, which allows

them to produce their own food. They

serve as primary producers in many

aquatic ecosystems.


-Some species also eat small particles

of food.

-moves via a flagellum, which is a whip-

like appendage that sticks out of the body.

-some Euglena also have a specialized

“eye spot”, which serves as a light sensor,

directing them toward available light.





Euglena Hibernation/Reproduction

Hibernation: when conditions are bad

(dry or too hot/cold)

Euglena forms into a sphere, called the palmelloid


Each euglena then discards its

flagellum, and forms a mucus

outer covering.


Euglena undergo reproduction called

“binary fission”

Each euglena first creates two of everything,

then splits evenly into two halves.


2) Paramecium: another genus of

Protists, often called “slipper protists”

because of their shape like a bedroom


-usually less than 0.01 inches (.25mm)

in length, and covered with very small

hair like projections called cilia.


Cilia are used in movement, and during


-Paramecium does NOT have chloroplasts

so therefore is a strict consumer.

-It eats small particles of food or bacteria

from fresh water where it lives.

The most common paramecium is

Paramecium caudata, which is used for



Paramecium Reproduction

Paramecium have two

ways to reproduce.

  • They can reproduce
  • Asexually, and split
  • into two (binary fission)

This type of reproduction does NOT

involve the swap of genetic material, and

makes a clone of the parent.


2) The second form of reproduction is

called conjugation, and involves the

paramecium swapping genetic material.

This type of reproduction

does not result in a clone,

but an individual with a

new set of genetic


This will lead to genetic variation within

the population of paramecium.


3) Amoeba:one of the simplest of the


-Amoeba possess a very flexible cell

membrane, and constantly moving


-moves by “pouring” cytoplasm into

extensions of the cell membrane,

called pseudopodia.


-the shape of the amoeba continually

changes as new pseudopodia are

created, and others disappear.

Eats by surrounding its prey with

pseudopods, and slowly engulfing it.

This is called phagocytosis.








Amoeba feeding sequence

new organelles
New organelles
  • Contractile vacuoles – used to pump excess water out of the cells – they collect the water from the cytoplasm and excrete it through pores.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTXRcbjuYGU

Cilia – Hair like extensions of the cell membrane that contain microtubules. They are used to propel the organism throguh water in unicellular organisms.

recap quiz
Recap Quiz
  • Which organism is a producer?
  • Which organism moves by pouring cytoplasm into extensions of its body?
  • What is phagocytosis?
  • What does a paramecium feed on?
  • How do paramecium reproduce?