Protists

Cells in the Sea

Single cell organisms, protists are the ancestors of all plants and animals.

In this episode

  • dinoflagelle
    DinoflagellatePyrocystis elegans
  • diatomee
    Centric diatom
  • acanthaire_lithoptera
    AcantharianLithoptera mulleri
  • radiolaires
    RadiolarianAulacantha scolymantha
  • colozum
    RadiolarianCollozum inerme

Narration

Protists are single cell organisms with a nucleus like our own cells.  They appeared more than a billion years ago and are the ancestors of all plants and animals. Protists come in amazing shapes and colors. Protists have unusual names such as acantharians, coccolithophores, dinoflagellates radiolarians or diatoms.  Some can be seen with the naked eye, but most are microscopic.

The world of protists is immense – millions of different species – but is often overlooked. In appearance and behavior protists are the most diverse of all living things.  Some are big eaters, swallowing other cells thanks to their exceptionally flexible membranes. Others use specialized organelles called chloroplasts to carry on photosynthesis like plants.

There are also protists that behave like plants and animals at the same time. Protists build shells around their membrane from all sorts of material, including silicates, calcium, strontium or cellulose. They were the first architects of the planet.

For a billion years, their tiny shells have been sinking to the bottom of the sea, building mountains.  These deep sea mountains formed the continents. Today we can find fossilized protist shells in the stones of houses and cathedrals. 

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Production
CNRS

Original Idea
Christian Sardet

Director
Noé Sardet, Sharif Mirshak

Texts
Christian Sardet

Images
Christian Sardet, Noé Sardet, Sharif Mirshak

Editing
Sharif Mirshak, Noé Sardet

Sound mix
Romain Strugala

Voice
Gregory Gallagher

Sound Engineer
Cristobal Urbina

Translation
Theodore Rosengarten

Creative Commons Licence :
Attribution Non-Commercial
No Derivative

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