A hydroelectric plant is one that uses water power to generate electricity. They are the current result of the evolution of the old mills exploiting the flow of rivers to move a wheel.
The production of electricity is one of the most important in Spain. Large hydroelectric plants are located in the Pyrenees, in the reservoirs that dot the rivers, although the biggest plant is located in the reservoir Mequinenza in the Ebro.

 


How does it work?
Its objective is to convert the potential energy, contained in the form of water, into electrical energy using turbines coupled to generators.
The large amount of water that is retained is through a dam, forming an artificial lake or reservoir will generate a waterfall, to effectively release the potential energy and then transform it into electrical energy.
Water management is to carry water from the dam by a gallery with just drop driving up to a reservoir called the chimney of expansion. From this chimney started a pipe that carries the water to the engine room of the plant. After that the water is returned to the river, using a water channel below.
In the plant there are electrical equipment composed of turbine-generator groups. The forced water that is coming through the gallery is conducted to the turbine blades, which connected by an axe to the alternator rotor make it turn, inducing in the stator a high intensity electric current and medium voltage. This means a transformer will be of low intensity and high voltage, therefore suitable for transport and distribution to consume centres.

Main disadvantages.
– The construction and operation of the dam and the reservoir are the main source of the environmental impacts. The powerful projects dams can cause irreversible environmental changes, in a very large geographical area.
– The flooding of the earth to form the reservoir, and the alteration of water flow downstream. These effects exert direct impacts on soils, vegetation, wildlife, fisheries, climate and human population of the area.

 Main advantages.
The obvious benefit of the hydroelectric project is the electric energy, it can support economic development and improve the quality of life in the service area. Hydroelectric projects are very labor-intensive and provide employment opportunities. The roads and other infrastructure can give people greater access to markets for their products, schools for their children, health care and other social services.
– Moreover, the generation of hydroelectric power provides an alternative to burning fossil fuels or nuclear energy, which can meet energy demand without producing hot water, air emissions, ash, radioactive waste and emissions of CO2.

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El Moncayo es una montaña del Sistema Ibérico situada entre las provincias de Zaragoza y Soria, en España. Tiene 2.314,30 m de altitud y es la máxima cumbre del Sistema Ibérico y uno de los picos más relevantes de la Península Ibérica. Desde 1978, el enclave del monte es «Parque Natural de la Dehesa del Moncayo» con una actual superficie protegida de 9.848 ha.

Flora y Fauna
El Moncayo constituye un singular enclave ecológico al conformarse como espacio de frontera entre el ambiente húmedo propio del centro de Europa, y el ambiente seco propio del mundo mediterráneo. Se pueden encontrar carrascales en la parte bajar de la montaña y conforme se va ascendiendo especies caducifolias como el rebollo. Al llegar a la cima te puedes encontrar también pequeñas plantas rastreras como el piorno, el enebro rastrero o la sabina rastrera. También aparecen especies propias de climas más norteños, como los robles Quercus robur y Q. petraea, de escasa presencia en Aragón. El Moncayo tiene también un denso pinar de repoblación de entre 900 y 1800 m que cubren sus laderas. Estas especies de pino son el pino silvestre, pino negro, pino laricio y pino rodeno. La variedad de ambientes existentes en el Moncayo hace que la fauna también sea rica y variada, adaptándose a las diferentes condiciones presentes. En las zonas altas son frecuentes la alondra, collalba gris, bisbita alpina o tarabilla común. También están presentes el acentor común, el roquero rojo o el colirrojo tizón. En los matorrales domina el pardillo común, escribano montesino, mosquitero papialbo y petirrojo. El arrendajo y el petirrojo son las aves más comunes en las zonas arboladas. En los bosques de frondosas aparte del petirrojo, también te puedes encontrar especies como el mito, el carbonero común, el herrerillo común o el mirlo. Sobrevolando las zonas altas se pueden ver abundantes buitres leonados, así como algún alimoche, cernícalo común, culebrera europea o águila real, mientras que en zonas más bajas puede observarse águilas calzadas o ratoneras. En el interior del bosque se puede avistar algún abejero europeo, azor o gavilán. Algunos de los animales nocturnos que te puedes encontrar en el Moncayo son el cárabo y numerosas especies de murciélagos. En cuanto a anfibios y reptiles, en las zonas húmedas es habitual la presencia de rana común, sapo común y sapo partero. Es posible encontrar tritones jaspeados y palmeados, luciones y culebras de agua. En otros ambientes pueden aparecer culebras de escalera o víboras hocicudas. Entre los mamíferos existentes en el paque están el jabalí, el corzo, el zorro, la garduña, la gineta, el gato montés, el erizo y varias especies de ratones, musarañas y topillos.

Clima
Se encuentra dentro de una comarca de clima mediterraneo con claros matices continentales; zona de transición entre el clima de la Depresión del Ebro y la Mesaeta Soriana. Los veranos suelen ser suaves y cortos con alguna precipitación de carácter tormentoso y los inviernos largos y fríos. La mayor intensidad de precipitaciones se da en otoño y primavera. Conforme se asciende en altura se imponen unas matizaciones climáticas consistentes en aumento de las precipitaciones y descenso de las temperaturas.

Geomorfología
La formación del macizo del Moncayo tuvo lugar en la Era Terciaria como consecuencia de los movimientos alpinos. Los materiales rocosos más característicos son areniscas, cuarcitas y pizarras, adosados a los cuales se encuentran materiales más modernos de tipo calcáreo. En sus laderas pueden apreciarse restos de huellas glaciares, destacando los circos conocidos como Pozo de San Miguel, San Gaudioso y Morca.

This natural park was created in the year 1918 for only the valley of Ordesa, but at the end of this century, by 1982 it was amplitude to the Macizo de Monte Perdido: Pineta Valley, Gargantas de Escuaín and the canon of Añisclo. Each one of the valleys has different characteristics. The Park is located at the Aragon Pyrenees, at the Huesca province. It territory belongs to different villages from the area.

We can recognise in this valley information about the history of our planet, the origin of the Pyrenees, the effect of the glaciers period and the erosion of the last periods of time.

Because of the sediments and the contrast of the climate, this natural park is very rich in flora; it has from very Mediterranean plants to the ones that belongs to the glacial age that have survived thanks to the altitude. Most of this plants, mainly flowers, have become endemic because of it shape, colours and texture.

Also the natural park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido have a great variety of fauna such as the white partridge , the vulture leonado, the osprey and also different types of mountain goats. Also specie called marmot that was introduce, have developed it population. All these species have a great amount of population thanks to the work to the people that protect the park.

This natural park has lots of routes to make excursions, the great views of mountain ranges, vegetation, rivers and if you have luck you would see some mountain animals. An example of an interesting route could be the one that goes from the collado of Bujaruelo to the top of the Escuzana.

To finish, I want to point out the action of ecologist groups to protect animal species of this natural park. One of the animals that are in damage is the one called grizzly bear. There are only a few ones living in the Pyrenees and the government have to introduce new ones from other countries such as Romania, to increase the population of this incredible mammal.

The professor George Wolfe explains that natural selection and evolution is practically impossible to experiment about it, and why? Because we have to remember the basic point of evolution, as he says, is change through time. We had been studying evolution for hundreds of millions of years, and we can’t know the future of evolution because we won’t know what can happen to environment and if we don’t know that we don’t know what could happen in nature.

George Wolfe says that we know that natural selection can occur because artificial selection has always been happening, but he says that this is not evidence this is a story. The he puts the example of one experiment with the drosophila fly. They select an amount of lots of bristles versus one with few bristles. And what we can see in the video is that we see three different populations. One population has many bristles, other one has few bristles, and the last one medium number of bristles. The professor George says that may be the number of bristles can be related with the ability of survive, so lost of bristles may be good relating to be in the environment or few bristles may be good, depending of natural selection.

Finally, he explains one experience of him. His son got an infection cause by bacteria, and they went to the doctor and he recommended them an antibiotic for two weeks. So his son took the antibiotic during one week but the only thing that happened that his son felt better. In few days his son was ill again, what happened was that few bacteria were very strong and they could resisted the antibiotic. So as the professor explains we select the fittest bacteria and they reproduce because they have been adapted to the environment of the antibiotic.

Dolphins are marine mammals that are closely related to whales. There are almost forty species. They vary in size from 1.2 m and 40 kg, up to 9.5 m and 10 tones. They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, mostly eating fish and squid. Dolphins are among the most intelligent animals and their often friendly appearance and seem playful attitude have made them popular in human culture. The tongue of the dolphins can take on “corrugated”, which allows to prevent suckling offspring milk is mixed with salt water.
The dolphins are relatively close to shore and often interact with humans. These mammals are totally adapted to live in the aquatic environment where they find their food and can remain submerged for long periods of time. Like other whales, dolphins use sound to communicate, navigate and reach their prey. For them it is important echolocation.
Communication is fantastic that these animals may have with the human being, of this special relationship arises the dolphin, with which it is now possible to treat children with mental and sensory disorders, as well as people in addiction rehabilitation periods such as alcohol or drugs.

NATURAL SELECTION

Over-production: The gestation period varies by species, but is usually between ten to twelve months.
When the female will give birth, we can see that its swimming is slower and often accompany other females to avoid attacks by sharks or other predators.

Struggle for Existence: The dolphins don’t usually compete between them, this is because these animals are very friendly, and they never leave a mate which is ill or hurted, they always try to help it by going to the surface or to somewhere that is safe. Furthermore, they often are grouped because by this form they are protected from predators, such as sharks.
Survival of the fittest: The dolphin that swims better and fastest, will be the one which survived more time.

Variation: What has changed more in the dolphin’s physical shape is its form of the nose. Before some types of dolphins had its nose flattened and more rounded, however now their nose is larger.

Advantageous characteristics are passed on to offspring: One good characteristic is their hydrodynamic bodies that they have to move very well through water.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf96lShDo1k&feature=related

 

Before starting with cloning techniques, first of all; what are clones?

Clones are two or more organisms with identical genetic make-up derived, by ASEXUAL REPRODUCTION, from a single common parent or ancestor, such as identical twins.

 

CLONING TECHNIQUES

Embryo splitting involves dividing an eightcell embryo into single cells or BLASTOMERES. Transferring two of these blastomeres into an empty ZONA PELLUCIDA creates an embryo. Once the embryo reaches the BLASTOCYST stage, EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS may be collected from the INNER CELL MASS for use in further research. A second option is to implant the embryo in a surrogate mother, allowing it to develop fully. Offspring produced by embryo splitting will be identical clones of one another if the embryo from which they were derived is produced by fertilising an egg with sperm, the offspring will not be identical to either of their genetic parents. This technique has been used successfully to create non-human primate clones, but somatic cell nuclear transfer is the most commonly used cloning technique.

In Intra-species cloning the nucleus of a somatic cell is taken from one organism and placed in an enucleated egg from another member of the same species. This method was used to produce the first cloned animal, Dolly the sheep. It has subsequently been used to clone other species.

 Inter-species cloning is more controversial than intra-species techniques because the nucleus of a somatic cell from one organism is transferred to an enucleated egg from a different species. Scientists have used this technique to clone human cells by placing the nucleus of a human somatic cell in an enucleated egg from a cow. The hybrid cells that were produced were able to divide, but they were not permitted to develop to the blastocyst stage.

Here you have two videos that can explain you a little bit better the cloning techniques.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70lwiFIqejw&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2jUMG2E-ic&feature=related

There are different types of cloning, the most important are the following ones.

Therapeutic cloning involves using SCNT to create embryonic stem cells that have a genome identical to the cell donor’s. The embryo that is created (and from which the cells are harvested) is not implanted into a surrogate mother. It will not therefore be used to create another whole organism.

 Reproductive cloning uses SCNT to create embryos that are implanted into a surrogate mother and brought to full term. The organisms that result will be clones of the cell donor, e.g. Dolly the sheep.

Gene therapy is the insertion of genes into an individual’s cells and tissues to treat diseases, such as hereditary diseases where deleterious mutant alleles are replaced with functional ones. Although the technology is still in its infancy, it has been used with some success. Scientific breakthroughs continue to move gene therapy toward mainstream medicine.

  EXERCISE

 With the information that you hve above draw a diagram showing the different stages of cloning technique and explain each stage.

Post creators: Izarbe Jarque e Irene Layunta

María Cáscales

She was born on 13 August 1934 in Cartagena. María Cáscales was the first Spanish woman who in 1987 agreed to a scientific academy, pharmacy. She has published over 150 works of investigation and 15 books. She was specialist in biochemistry and metabolism of amino acids in experimental hepatotoxicity and mechanism of hepatotoxicity, since the metabolism of pathogenesis experimental alcoholic cirrhosis and oxidative stress in the liver.

Nació en Cartagena el 13 de agosto en 1934. María Cáscales fue la primera mujer española que fue elegida en una academia de farmacia. Ha publicado 150 trabajos de investigación y 15 libros. Especialista en bioquímica metabólica de aminoácidos y en hepatoxicidad experimental y mecanismo de hepatotoxicidad, desde el metabolismo de la patogénesis alcohólica a la cirrosis experimental y el estrés oxidativo en el hígado.