The Amazing Race Photo Journal

Josie Harter, Hanya Pillai, and Sarah Gutierrez

USA: Preperations

How does the body respond to a virus after vaccination has occured?

A vaccine can be defined as a weaked or dead version of a known virus. When this vaccine enters a body, it stimulates an immune response that creates personal antibodies. After this virus is "defeated", quite easily considering vaccines are weaked, the immune system creates memory T and B cells . If this virus is ever encontered again, even at full strenght, the immune system reconizes it and releases the appropriate antibodies. Because of vaccines, the immune systems can combat viruses quickly diminishing their danger.

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PSA Vaccine

Bora Bora: Plant Structure and Reproduction

The Structure of a Flowering Plant: The male gametophytes of a flowering plant are the Anther and the Filament, combined to form the Stamen, responsible for producing future pollen. The female gametophytes are the Stigma, Style, Ovule, and Ovary, combined to form the Carpel. The Ovule inside of the Ovary can be found at the base of the flower hidden by the petals which extend outward. The green leaves surrounding the base the flower recieve the name Sepal.
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How Does Reproduction Occur in Plants: Plants can reproduce one of three ways; through seeds, spores (forms of sexual reproduction), or vegetation reproduction (a form of asexual reproduction). Most plants reproduce through the process of seeds by which pollen from one plants anther is transported by a mobile pollinater, like bees or the wind, to the stigma of another plant. The pollen moves down a pollen tube to the ovaries where it enters the ovule an fertilizes an egg and a zygote. A seed coat develops around the ovule and creates a seed. Plants like ferns create spores in order to reproduce. After spores are released by a plant, they land in a sutiable environment and grow into a tiny plant called a gametophyte. The thin, green plate includes both the male and female reproductive systems which it uses to create an embryo through fertilization. After an embryo is created, a new plant grows. The last way plant can reproduce is through vegetative reproduction by which a plant grows from an existing part of the orignal plant. Instead of fertilization, mitosis is used and the new plant has an identical genetic makeup as the original. Vegetation reproduction can occur on stems or using rhizomes and tubers.

The National Flower of Tahiti and Bora Bora is the Tiare, a small white blossom know for its strong frangrance.

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Tahiti: Transpiration

What is transpiration?

Transpiration can be defined as the near-constant loss of water from a plants leaves through the process of evaporation. The water properties of adhesion and cohesion contribe to a phenonom called capillary action in which water draws upward in narrow tubes. When water evaporates from a plants leaves, capillary action and water tension (the string-like property of water molecules) pulls up water from the roots through the xylem to replace it. Each water molecule is being lifted individually by its attraction to the water molecule above. The energy that cause evaporation and therefore drives transpiration is solar.

What is the difference between transpiration on a windy day verses transpiration on a non-windy day?

Transpiration will occur at a faster rate on a windy rather than a non-windy day. On a non-windy day, the air surround a plant will become increasingly humid and cause the plant to not under go evaporation at an accelerated rate. Since evaporation is directly correlated to transpiration, the transpiration rate is also low. On a windy day, the humid air is replaced by drier air stimulating more evaporation and therefore more transpiration.


What are two ways plants respond to environmental stimulus?

One way plants respond to an environmental stimulus is through phototropism, a function that allows plants to grow in the direction of light in order to absorb more energy. The hormone auxin moves to the shady side of a plants stem causing the cellulose to grow faster and loosen, moving the plant towards the light. Another way plants respond is through gravitropism which causes the stem to always grow upright and the roots to grow downward. Auxin moves againt the pull of gravity causing cellulose to loosen. This particular trait allows plants to compete with other plants.

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China: Fish Adaptations

The fish is an important figure in chinese mythology, know as the symbol for luck. The work "fish" in chinese is a homophone for "abundance".

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What are two fish adaptations that respond to environmental stimulus?

Buoyancy: As the fish swims in the water, the gravity is pushing the fish down, meanwhile; buoyancy is trying to keep the fish up. The adaptation that allows the fish to control the depth in the water in which they choose to swim is the swim bladder. The swim bladder is a sac ( above the stomach) that is responsible for controlling the flow of gases through the blood. When the gases move into the sac, the fish is able to rise up in the water. On the other hand, when gases move out of the sac, the fish begins to sink. The swim bladder is a very significant adaption as it allows the fish to adjust to the different levels in the ions of the water with the exchange of gasses in the blood.

Water Balance: The water balance of a fish is a manner in which homeostasis ( stability) is internally maintained in the fish. The fish must be able to keep an internal water balance despite of the salt environment they live in. This is mainly difficult because of osmosis. Osmosis is a type of diffusion where substances move across a plasma membrane have equal concentration. In the marine environment, the skin of the fish is the plasma membrane. The lower salt concentration is inside the fish, and the higher salt concentration is in the water. Therefore, the water will move from inside the fish to the outside. Some of the fish are able to fit in with the environment ( cells are salty too), but the majority of the fish that live in the ocean don’t ( bony). They do not die , despite osmosis, due to osmoregulation . Osmoregulation controls the water to salt ratio. For the marine bony fish, their kidneys and gills manage the salt in the body and the fish drink more water from the sea to replenish. Osmoregulation plays an active role in making sure the fish keeps a water balance for stability.

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Morocco: Snakes!!! And, you know, feedback mechanisms

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What is homeostasis and negative feedback mechanisms?

Homeostasis is the process by which organisms keep internal conditions stable regardless of changes in the external environment. This is important because the process that keeps the cell alive can only take place under certain internal conditions. Negative Feedback is a regulatory mechanism in which a ‘stimulus’ causes an opposite ‘output’ in order to maintain an ideal level of whatever is being regulated.


How does homeostasis occur in a snake in order for it to survive on dry land?

Homeostasis is a combination of internal processes that involves hormones, the endocrine system and metabolism. However, snakes are cold-blooded animals that do not have internal systems and is required to rely on their external environment to maintain homeostasis. Snakes are Ectothermic meaning they have no internal means of regulating metabolic functions. Thermoregulation is a process of regulating body temperature, which is a major part of homeostasis. Poikilotherms are known for animals who lack the ability to generate heat internally. Remarkably, they use external sources to stay warm and avoid overheating. To survive on dry land snakes must use the sun's rays to warm their bodies and the heat from the sun speeds up the metabolism. Snakes hide in shady areas or burrow underground during the hottest part of the day to prevent themselves from overheating.

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A Cobra, one of the most common snakes in the snake charming business, is completely deaf. When a Cobra dances, it's responding to the hand and body movements of the charmer and the vibrations from the instrument.

Brazil: The digestive system

Explain the human digestive system? What adaptations are there that allow for maximum nutrient absorption?

The process of human digestion starts with the mouth where food is broken down by teeth and saliva in order to increase surface area. Next, you swallow pushing the broken down food into the esophagus. Muscles contract in the esophagus pushing the food further down into the stomach. An accessory organ called the epiglottis blocks the trachea so food doesn't end up in the lungs. In the stomach, gastric juices break food down further into single molecular structures and the low pH kills off any bacteria. "Food" is now referred to as chyme and from the stomach it moves to the small intestine. In the small intestine, all the nutrients from the chyme is absorbed. For maximum nutrient absorption, the main goal of the small intestine is to maximize surface area. The small intestine is many feet long full of folds, villi, and micro-villi that all increase surface area. After the small intestine, what is left is moved to the large intestine where its only job is to absorb water. Last, waste leaves the body in the form of excretory fluids.

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Animal Adventure Zoo Assembly: Fun Facts

1) The Eurasian Eagle Owl has specially adapted feathers to fly quietly at night in order to catch small prey like mice.

2) The Owl has unevenly placed ears that allow him to pin point where prey is located. This is called triganulation.

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3) The American Alligator has webbed toes and a strong tail in order to help her become a strong swimmer.

4) The Alligator has the ability to suck in her eyes at certian times in order to protect them.

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5) The Virginia Opposum has a long tail with no hair on it in order to use it for grasping and balance.

6) The Opposum is know to play dead and sometimes vomit on itself in order to fool predators.

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7) The Flamingo often times stands on one leg. When shes cold, she will alternate legs in order to keep them both warm.

8) The Flamingo is pink due to a type of protein she eats called carotenoids.

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9) Because the Ant Eater has no sharp teeth to defend herself with she uses her killer claws instead.
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10) African Penguins communicate with one another through their faces and shaking their heads.
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