Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nature's misfits: Reclassifying protists helps answer how many species remain undiscovered

Date:
September 27, 2012
Source:
Wiley
Summary:
Since the Victorian era, categorizing the natural world has challenged scientists. No group has presented a challenge as tricky as the protists, the tiny, complex life forms that are neither plants nor animals. A new reclassification of eukaryotic life forms draws together the latest research to clarify the current state of protist diversity and categorization, as well as the many species that remain to be discovered.

Sphaeroeca, a colony of choanoflagellates (aproximately 230 individuals).
Credit: By Dhzanette (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choanoflagellate) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Since the Victorian era, categorizing the natural world has challenged scientists. No group has presented a challenge as tricky as the protists, the tiny, complex life forms that are neither plants nor animals. A new reclassification of eukaryotic life forms, published in the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, draws together the latest research to clarify the current state of protist diversity and categorization, as well as the many species that remain to be discovered.

Related Articles


"Protists include species traditionally referred to as protozoa and algae, some fungal-like organisms, and many other life forms that do not fit into the old worldview that divided species between plants and animals," said Professor Sina Adl, from the University of Saskatchewan. "By the 1960s it had become clear that these species could no longer fit within such a narrow system, yet the first community-wide attempt to rationally categorize all the protists in the natural evolutionary groups was only made in 2005."

The 2005 classification, led by Professor Adl and published by the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, gave scientists a structure for understanding these species; however, it was limited to the technology available at the time and recent advances have prompted the need for a reclassification.

"With environmental genomics we are experiencing a renaissance of new protist discoveries," said Adl. "These new species allow us to better appreciate how little we know about the biodiversity around us and how they contribute to maintaining the planet's chemical balance."

The most significant changes are the introduction and recognition of new super groups, larger than traditional biological kingdoms. This reflects a greater understanding of the most ancient relationships between protists, their shared ancestry and their connections to animals and plants.

This includes recognition of the Amorphea, a group that links animals, fungi and their protist relatives, including the marine choanoflagellates, to a diverse group of protists largely dominated by various amoeboid cells. This includes macroscopic slime molds, shell-dwelling amoebae, small flagellated amoebae and large voracious amoeboid predators of bacteria, algae and even small crustaceans.

A second new super group, SAR, brings together many of the most common and successful algae, microbial predators, and parasites on earth. Members of this group range from giant kelp and other brown seaweeds, to the forams (living sand grains), and the parasite that causes malaria in humans. Large scale DNA and RNA sequencing studies conducted since 2005 have shown that these profoundly dissimilar forms are all actually related to each other.

"This new classification, that better reflects how species are related, improves our ability to predict the number of species that remain to be discovered," concluded Professor Adl. "There is a huge unknown diversity in the deep sea, but probably even more in the soil we walk on."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sina M. Adl, Alastair G. B. Simpson, Christopher E. Lane, Julius Lukeš, David Bass, Samuel S. Bowser, Matthew W. Brown, Fabien Burki, Micah Dunthorn, Vladimir Hampl, Aaron Heiss, Mona Hoppenrath, Enrique Lara, Line le Gall, Denis H. Lynn, Hilary McManus, Edward A. D. Mitchell, Sharon E. Mozley-Stanridge, Laura W. Parfrey, Jan Pawlowski, Sonja Rueckert, Laura Shadwick, Conrad L. Schoch, Alexey Smirnov, Frederick W. Spiegel. The Revised Classification of Eukaryotes. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 2012; 59 (5): 429 DOI: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.2012.00644.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley. "Nature's misfits: Reclassifying protists helps answer how many species remain undiscovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120927124202.htm>.
Wiley. (2012, September 27). Nature's misfits: Reclassifying protists helps answer how many species remain undiscovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120927124202.htm
Wiley. "Nature's misfits: Reclassifying protists helps answer how many species remain undiscovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120927124202.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins