Q:

What are unicellular organisms?

A:

A unicellular organism is any life form that is composed of a single cell; they live and carry out all life processes as a single cell. Based on their complexity, unicellular organisms can be placed in one of two categories: eukaryote and prokaryote. Most unicellular organisms are microscopic, but some are visible to the naked eye.

   

Eukaryotes have a simple cell structure compared to prokaryotes. The prokaryotic unicellular organism does not have a cell nucleus, while the eukaryotic unicellular organism has a nucleus within the cell. The evolution theory suggests that unicellular organisms were the first living things on earth, existing approximately 3.8 billion years ago.

Unicellular organisms pursue different strategies for survival, including  heterotrophy (amoeba), chemotrophy and photosynthesis (cyanobacteria). Unicellular organisms include most life on earth and can be found in virtually every habitat, including the least hospitable conditions. Common examples of unicellular organisms include: cyanobacteria, bacteria, paramecium and amoeba. Most single-celled organisms live in colonies, but each organism remains self-sufficient.

The opposite of a unicellular organism is a multicellular organism. Multicellular organisms are typically larger and require specialized organ systems. They require complex organ systems to facilitate communication between cells, control exchanges with the external environment and supply the cells with the required nutrients.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Are plants unicellular or multicellular?

    A:

    All organisms in the Kingdom Plantae are multicellular, which means that each organism is comprised of more than one cell. Being multicellular allows plants to grow large and complex, since the cells can differentiate and serve various different functions for the plant.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a list of names of unicellular organisms?

    A:

    Amoebae, slime mold, algae and protactists are some examples of unicellular organisms. Unicellular organisms fall under the main groups of bacteria, archaea, protozoa, single-celled algae and single-celled fungi. The two general categories are prokaryotes, which lack membrane-bound nuclei and membrane-bound organelles, such as mitochondria; and eukaryotes, which are more complex, having membrane-bound organelles and nuclei.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do unicellular organisms breathe?

    A:

    Unicellular organisms do not breathe in the typical sense, but they respirate by allowing oxygen to enter the cell membrane through the process of diffusion. Because they are so small, they do not have the organs, pores and entryways to breathe like multicellular organisms.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do unicellular organisms eat?

    A:

    Unicellular organisms eat using a processes called phagocytosis. This process allows the single-celled organism to bring food into the inner part of the cell for digestion.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore