Ecology and Adaptability

  • Johanna Laybourn-Parry
Part of the A Functional Biology of Free-Living Protozoa book series (FBS)


Despite the fact that Protozoa are ubiquitous, they are frequently overlooked in faunal surveys of ecosystems, but as we have seen in the preceding chapter they play a valuable role in the functioning of many ecosystems. Much of their success in colonising so varied an array of habitats is due to their physiological and behavioural adaptability. Through time various assemblages of species have evolved physiologically to meet the variety of physical, chemical and biological conditions imposed by a range of ecological niches, many of which are inhospitable or hazardous. One of the advantages of a single-celled organisation is that it is often more readily able to undergo evolutionary adaptation and change than a multicellular level of organisation. The widespread ability of Protozoa to encyst, which is a characteristic shared by a range of distinct taxonomic groups in the Protista, has proved invaluable to those species which have successfully moved from aquatic environments to terrestrial and semi-terrestrial habitats.


Salt Marsh Cyst Wall Valuable Role Testate Amoeba Contractile Vacuole 
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Copyright information

© Johanna Laybourn-Parry 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Laybourn-Parry
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of LancasterLancasterUK

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