Protists: Evolution and Ecology of Microbial Eukaryotes

21 December 2022 - 25 December 2024 г.
The course has already started
155 days
Before the end of the enrollment
  • English

    course language

  • от 6 до 7 недель

    course duration

  • from 2 to 3 hours per week

    needed to educate

  • 1 credit points

    for credit at your university

  • Cost 3 600 Р

    for studying

Dear learners, please note that only part of the materials is available for free. All course materials will be available after certification payment.



Life on Earth appears to be dominated by higher plants and animals. Yet an immense variety of microbial eukaryotes swarm in the foliage, grass, soil, bogs, ponds, streams, lakes, and oceans. These inconspicuous organisms are flagellates, algae, ciliates, sarcodines, slime molds, apicomplexans. This assemblage is generally termed the protists.

Our course is to build a comprehensive picture of protistan diversity. The major steps of eukaryotic evolution will be in focus. By tracking phylogenetic affinities in protistan lineages we will elucidate the major branches on the tree of eukaryotic life. 

Many protists are unicellular. This single cell is simultaneously a self-sufficient organism, which is able to sense, move, feed, and repulse an attack on its own. Therefore, protistan cells often demonstrate greater complexity of organelles, structures, and controls than the specialized cells of metazoan animals and higher plants. We will explore how free-living and parasitic unicells implement locomotion, food acquisition, digestion, osmotic regulation, and how they accomplish their life cycle. We also will look into how protists interact with the environment and manage to be biological success.



The course is taught completely online.


Level of English: B1.

Course program

1. Basics

2. Amoeboid protists

3. Flagellates

4. Apicomplexans

5. Ciliates

6. Protists and eukaryotic evolution

Education results

Within the six modules, we will speak of (1) what protists are, (2) flagellates, (3) sarcodines and slime molds, (4) ciliates, (5) apicomplexans and microsporidians, and (6) finally we will go over the modern phylogeny, will summarize life histories and discuss evolutionary trends in free-living and parasitic protists. This online course will have an optional on-campus extension, when the students have one week of practical exercises in the lab. Using light microscopy, they will observe, explore, and document live specimens and fixed mounts of naked and testate amoebas, foraminiferans, radiolarians, heliozoans, myxomycetes, flagellates, ciliates, gregarines, and coccidians.

Formed competencies

The discipline is aimed at the formation of universal competencies of students in the educational programs of the bachelor's / specialist's degree, as well as other competencies provided for by the educational program.

Education directions

портрет преподавателя

Князева Ольга Валерьевна

Position: Postgraduate

Гранович Андрей Игоревич

Position: Профессор, заведующий кафедрой зоологии беспозвоночных

портрет преподавателя

Климов Владимир Игоревич

Position: assistent

портрет преподавателя

Удалов Илья Андреевич

Position: assistent

портрет преподавателя

Korsun Sergei

Position: PhD Candidate in Biological Sciences

портрет преподавателя

Zlatogursky Vasiliy

Position: PhD Candidate in Biological Sciences


It is possible to get a certificate for this course.

The cost of passing the procedures for assessing learning outcomes with personal identification - 3600 Р.

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