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PROJECT WORK INTRODUCTION As a student of Master of Business Administration (MBA) you are required to undertake a major individual piece of research work - the Project or Dissertation. In contrast to the other elements of your programme, where you are guided fairly closely, the aim of the Project is to give you the opportunity to learn independently and show that you can identify, define and analyse problems and issues and integrate knowledge in a business context. It is an important part of the programme that tests your ability to understand and apply the theory, the concepts and the tools of analysis to a specific problem situation. This project handbook has been compiled to clarify the framework of the project and suggest some ways of assuring success. The only precise rule on what constitutes an acceptable project is that it should be an ordered critical exposition, which affords evidence of reasoning power and knowledge of the relevant literature in an approved field falling within the subject matter of the programme - Management. The emphasis should be on applied research and the investigation of some practical problem or issue related to the situation in which an organisation or system operates. Please note that the project must not be treated as just another assignment. The Project provides the opportunity to judge the students time and self-management skills and his/her ability to successfully undertake a long and in-depth study. Hence it is not only the product that is important, but also the process itself. Students must therefore ensure that they maintain regular contact with their supervisor and also that they provide the supervisor with drafts of their work at regular intervals. Finally, to keep yourself up-to-date and under control as regards your project, it is imperative that you meet your supervisor regularly. DEFINITIONS AND OVERIEW OF PROJECT The project is a practical, in-depth study of a problem, issue, opportunity, technique or procedure or some combination of these aspects of business. Typically, you will be required to define an area of investigation, carve out research design, assemble relevant data, analyse the data, draw conclusions and make recommendations. Your project should demonstrate organisational, analytical and evaluative skills, and, where appropriate, an ability to design a suitable implementation and review procedure. The project is the longest (24,000 words) and most original piece of work you will undertake in your post-graduate study. It will occupy, with varying degrees of commitment, a period of two semesters. GUIDELINES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR THE PROJECT The purpose of the project is to give students the opportunity to carry out an in-depth study of an applied nature, synthesizing various elements, yet pursing one area of interest in depth. Your project report should make clear what you have attempted and why you have attempted it; the methods that you have used to collect, collate and analyze the information obtained; and how you have evaluated it. Any recommendations made should be supported by the evidence presented and by logical argument using deductive and inductive reasoning. For a Project to be of a high quality it is imperative to avoid detailed description devoid of analytical content. The assessment criteria for the Project are shown in the Project Grading Sheet attached as Appendix B to this Handbook. You should ensure through the entire period that you work on your project that it meets these requirements. CHOOSING A TOPIC Choosing your topic is probably the hardest thing you will do. The choice of topic is up to you, with guidance from your supervisor, but, he/ she is not there to make the decision for you. To a large extent, your ideas will be influenced by your situation. If you are in employment you may be able to research into a real life problem or, if you are not employed, you may choose a more general business issue. In either case, initial ideas are likely to originate in a vague form and may lack a clear focus. These then need to be developed into something manageable and practical by consideration of available literature/ texts and discussion with your project supervisors once allocated. Most Project ideas come from: Personal experience of employment: this is an obvious starting point for the project because in every organisation there would be some issue that can be researched into. An example of a project originating from this way could be an evaluation of the Training Department of your organisation or an evaluation of the performance appraisal systems used for salesmen in your organisation. Observation of events: Personal observation of events in the organisation/ environment can serve as a starting point for a project idea. An example of this could be that as an employee you observe that the employee turnover in your organisation is very high and as your project you could research into the reasons for this and make suitable recommendations. Issues of current interest: Reviewing key issues of broader relevance may be another useful indicator for a project idea. Specific consideration of the aspects of the effect of a government policy or a phenomenon on the performance of an organisation/segment/system may provide suitable ideas for a Project. You need to take care when dealing with issues such as these. It may be necessary to confine yourself to an aspect of the issue or you could find yourself tackling something that is too big to handle effectively and gives you a very wide project area, which inevitably lacks depth of analysis. Whatever the source of your project idea, familiarity with the area is imperative for the successful completion of the project. SCOPE OF THE PROJECT An acceptable project will normally fall into one of the following categories: Exploratory- a study that involves carrying out original research in order to meet the organizations continual need for new information for forward decision-making. The main issues may be human, economical, functional etc, but the construction and/or application of some kind of research instrument are the focus of the study. The analysis of the research findings (e.g. clients responses to questionnaire about changing product specifications) should take place, resulting in proposals about how to manage relevant aspects of the organisations future. Explanatory- a study, which would involve studying relationships between different variables like a cause & effect relationship study. Descriptive- a study that would need an in-depth portrayal of an accurate profile of events or situations from the business environment. ORGANISATION OF PROJECT REPORT This section presents some of the norms associated with a project. It is strongly recommended that you follow these guidelines. The final report should be presented in the following sequence: Title page Students Declaration (Annexure-I) Supervisors Certificate (Annexure-II) Abstract Acknowledgements Table of Contents: List of Tables List of figures List of Appendices Chapter 1. Introduction: This chapter includes the research problem, need for study/significance of the project, objectives, hypotheses, methodology scope, sample design, sources of information, tools and techniques of analysis, structure of the study with sound justifications/explanations. Chapter 2. Literature Review: This chapter should reflect the students understanding of the relevant theoretical and empirical background of the problem. Focus should be more on the logical presentation of the empirical evolution of conceptual and methodological issues pertaining to research problem. Also highlight the methodological clues drawn through this review for your project. Chapter 3. The company/Organisation/System: This chapter should contain a brief historical retrospect about the entity of your study. Chapter 4 & 5: Present your data analysis and inferences Chapter 6. Summary and Conclusions: Gives an overview of the project, conclusions, implications and recommendations. Also specify the limitations of your study. You may indicate the scope for further research. Bibliography: List the books, articles, websites that are referred and useful for research on the topic of your specific project. Follow Harvard style of referencing. Appendices Your documents should be appropriately numbered. It is usual for Page 1 to start with the Introduction. The sections prior to the Introduction are usually numbered with small Romans, i.e. i, ii, iii. It is easier if appendices are numbered in a separate sequence (suggest A, B, C) rather than as a continuation of the main report. While presentation follows this sequence, it may be actually written in a very different order. For example, the introduction is often the last major section to be completed. Title Page (example) Keep it very simple. Do not describe the contents. Have a working title and then decide a final title when you have finished the Project. This is the standard format of the Title Page that every student is expected to use. Abstract This is a summary of about 300 words (not more than one side of double-spaced A4) that describes the topic; explains the aims and methods of the study and gives a brief resume of the main conclusions and recommendations. Acknowledgements Here you have the opportunity to thank the various people who have helped in the development of the project. It might include specific individuals who have given information, offered insights, or generally been supportive. Gratitude may be expressed to groups of people, like those who were studied, or fellow students. Try not to be too flippant or too soppy! Table of Contents The contents page gives the reader the first view of how the project is structured and how the author attempted to develop the topic. It lists sequentially the sections and major sub-divisions of the sections; each identified by a heading and located by a page number. The following box gives an example. Your precise structure will have to be tailored to the needs of your own projects. If in doubt, discuss with your project supervisor at an early stage. List of Tables and Figures Throughout the project, it is likely that you will want to present material in tabulated or diagrammatic form. Some such presentations will bear only indirectly or partially on your arguments, and in such cases you will need to decide about their proper location. Additional or less relevant information may be better placed in an appendix. Whether you decide to locate your tables/figures in the main body of the report or the appendices, it is conventional to provide special contents pages so that readers can easily find the information. Tables and figures should be listed on a separate page as shown below. Examples of List of Tables Examples of List of Figures Introduction The introduction is crucial, since it sets the tone and context for the rest of the project. In the introduction, it is important to outline the reasons behind the study your motives or rationale for conducting the study. You must give a broad introduction to the topic under review and types of issues it raises. Central to this part of the project is the setting of clear objectives, which you intend to achieve by the end of the study. Your statement of objectives should be concise and precise, and should be carefully considered in the light of your original aims and what you have been able to achieve in your study. Finally, you should include a summary of how you are going to treat the chosen topic, running briefly through the sections to show how the structure of the project allows you to explore the topic in your selected way. The Main Body of the Project The structuring of the project will reflect your preferences, so there is no one best way to do it. However, there are predictable issues that need covering and your structure should permit you to deal with them in an orderly fashion. For example, a project will include a literature review; most will involve the reporting of primary research; all will need to draw conclusions and consider recommendations. Additionally, all projects will include a section outlining, and justifying, the methodology you have adopted and should link research methods to the objectives and literature review. The main body of the project must take the reader logically through a variety of linked arguments, relating theory and practice, concepts and concrete observations, so that the reader can understand and identify with the conclusions and recommendations of the author. Your arguments need to be drawn demonstrably from your own observations and grounded in an authoritative set of ideas. They should not be anecdotal. Although the arguments should be presented in a tight structured form using headings at regular intervals to achieve this they should also have an essential discursive character, i.e. you should fully explore the implications and ramifications of the topic by developing the arguments in a relevant way. You should ensure that you have covered all the major issues pertinent to the topic by the end of the main body of the project. Depending on the nature of your project, it might be appropriate to include a summary of your findings before embarking on your conclusions. 6.8 Summary and Conclusion Your Conclusion should include a summary of your main arguments, drawing together the various themes and issues so that they can be brought to bear on the defined objectives of the study. As with all reports, there should be no new information introduced in this section. Your Recommendations should be feasible, practical and must place your conclusions within a concrete and practical framework. You need to consider your recommendations in the context of their possible human, financial, political, managerial, etc, implications. Your recommendations should be justified. 6.9 Appendices You should locate in the appendices all that information which gives an additional, quasi-relevant support to the arguments you are constructing. It is important that you put all the information you require the reader to attend to, in the main body of the text. Appendices should be consistently signified by letter (APPENDIX A, APPENDIX B) or by number (Roman) and give titles that indicate their contents. Do remember to source information in appendices appropriately. 6.10 Bibliography and Referencing Referencing is necessary to avoid plagiarism, to verify quotations and to enable readers to follow-up and read more fully the cited authors arguments. Reference is given within the text of the project as well as at the end of the project. The basic difference between citation and a reference list (bibliography) is that the latter contains full details of all the in-text citations. Citation provides brief details of the author and date of publication for referencing the work in the body of the text. Reference List is given at the end of the text and is a list of all references used with additional details provided to help identify each source. References should be made to sources of material throughout the report. Various conventions are used for referencing but you must use Harvard Referencing, as shown in Appendix A, throughout your report. Proper referencing is a crucial aspect of your project. You are therefore strongly advised to talk to your supervisor about this, in order to make sure that your project report follows the appropriate referencing system. TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS OF THE PROJECT The project should be typed on A4 white paper, and be double-line spaced. The left margin should not be less than 40 mm and the right margin not less than 20 mm. All pages should be numbered, and numbers should be placed at the centre of the bottom of the page, not less than 10 mm above the edge. All tables, figures and appendices should be consecutively numbered or lettered, and suitably labelled. 3 bound copies & a soft-copy should be handed in to the Principal/Director of your College/Institute at the time of submission. NOTE: College in turn would submit Two bound copies of all the projects to the Controller of Examinations along with a consolidated CD containing the soft copy of the projects and the list of project titles sorted on the HT Numbers with linkages to the respective project file. The columns in the list should include HTNO., Name of the Student, Major Elective and the Project Title. College name and the year should be mentioned on the CD. PLAGIARISM Any attempt to copy from another (present or previous) student or to copy large chunks from academic or other sources without appropriately referencing those sources will trigger the full weight of plagiarism procedures. If there is any doubt concerning the authenticity of your work, the university reserves the right to demand an individual presentation before a panel at which you will be required to reply to spontaneous questions. All the material that relates to your project, including completed questionnaires or tapes from interviews, should be shown to your supervisor and be kept until the examination board has confirmed your results. Do not throw this material away once your project is submitted, as you might be asked to present it as part of the viva voce, before your project results are confirmed. YOU AND YOUR SUPERVISOR The supervisor's role is one of guidance - providing advice and pointing out possible problems that may arise. The supervisor's role is to appraise your ideas and work. You must take overall responsibility for both the content of your project and its management. This includes selection of an appropriate subject area (with the approval of the supervisor), setting up meetings with the supervisor, devising and keeping to a work schedule (to include contingency planning), and providing the supervisor with samples of your work. It is your responsibility to make contact with your supervisor and arrange meetings at appropriate times. You should use the time with the supervisors wisely. The students must meet their supervisors for a minimum of four meetings per semester, over the span of the entire project. You should spread your workload over the entire time available for carrying out your project. Draw up a realistic work schedule with in-built slack to allow for problems. Be sure you are aware of your specific hand-in dates. You must exchange contact details with your supervisor, and make sure that he or she has your relevant contact information. Your supervisor will keep a log of meetings with you. After each meeting with your supervisor, you will both sign a student contact and progression form. Note that if the records show that your contact with your supervisor is not good; your project may not be marked. Be sure you are clear about the assessment criteria for the project. Note that a significant proportion of the grade is allocated to presentation and style. A high level of communication skills is expected. However, it is not within the role or the duties of your supervisor to correct your grammar and syntax. Your supervisor will comment upon samples of your work but will not pre-mark the whole document, or substantial portions of it. If asked, you must present a sample of your written work prior to a meeting with your supervisor, at an agreed time. Under no circumstances will your supervisor give you an indication of your expected final grade. You must keep hard copies of each version of your work, and save copies of the current version on a main and a backup disk (preferably kept apart from each other). Disks should regularly be virus-checked. Also, make sure to keep printed copies of working documents, and the raw data from any questionnaires or other

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Thanku

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Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, or material world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large part of science. Although humans are part of nature, human activity is often understood as a separate category from other natural phenomena. The word nature is derived from the Latin word natura, or "essential qualities, innate disposition", and in ancient times, literally meant "birth".[1] Natura is a Latin translation of the Greek word physis (φύσις), which originally related to the intrinsic characteristics that plants, animals, and other features of the world develop of their own accord.[2][3] The concept of nature as a whole, the physical universe, is one of several expansions of the original notion; it began with certain core applications of the word φύσις by pre-Socratic philosophers, and has steadily gained currency ever since. This usage continued during the advent of modern scientific method in the last several centuries.[4][5] Within the various uses of the word today, "nature" often refers to geology and wildlife. Nature can refer to the general realm of living plants and animals, and in some cases to the processes associated with inanimate objects – the way that particular types of things exist and change of their own accord, such as the weather and geology of the Earth. It is often taken to mean the "natural environment" or wilderness–wild animals, rocks, forest, and in general those things that have not been substantially altered by human intervention, or which persist despite human intervention. For example, manufactured objects and human interaction generally are not considered part of nature, unless qualified as, for example, "human nature" or "the whole of nature". This more traditional concept of natural things which can still be found today implies a distinction between the natural and the artificial, with the artificial being understood as that which has been brought into being by a human consciousness or a human mind. Depending on the particular context, the term "natural" might also be distinguished from the unnatural or the supernatural. Contents 1 Earth 1.1 Geology 1.1.1 Geological evolution 1.2 Historical perspective 2 Atmosphere, climate, and weather 3 Water on Earth 3.1 Oceans 3.2 Lakes 3.2.1 Ponds 3.3 Rivers 3.4 Streams 4 Ecosystems 4.1 Wilderness 5 Life 5.1 Evolution 5.2 Microbes 5.3 Plants and Animals 6 Human interrelationship 6.1 Aesthetics and beauty 6.2 Value of Nature 7 Matter and energy 8 Beyond Earth 9 See also 10 Notes and references 11 External links Earth Main articles: Earth and Earth science View of the Earth, taken in 1972 by the Apollo 17 astronaut crew. This image is the only photograph of its kind to date, showing a fully sunlit hemisphere of the Earth. Earth (or, "the earth") is the only planet known to support life, and its natural features are the subject of many fields of scientific research. Within the solar system, it is third closest to the sun; it is the largest terrestrial planet and the fifth largest overall. Its most prominent climatic features are its two large polar regions, two relatively narrow temperate zones, and a wide equatorial tropical to subtropical region.[6] Precipitation varies widely with location, from several metres of water per year to less than a millimetre. 71 percent of the Earth's surface is covered by salt-water oceans. The remainder consists of continents and islands, with most of the inhabited land in the Northern Hemisphere. Earth has evolved through geological and biological processes that have left traces of the original conditions. The outer surface is divided into several gradually migrating tectonic plates. The interior remains active, with a thick layer of plastic mantle and an iron-filled core that generates a magnetic field. This iron core is composed of a solid inner phase, and a fluid outer phase. It is the rotation of the outer, fluid iron core that generates an electrical current through dynamo action, which in turn generates a strong magnetic field. The atmospheric conditions have been significantly altered from the original conditions by the presence of life-forms,[7] which create an ecological balance that stabilizes the surface conditions. Despite the wide regional variations in climate by latitude and other geographic factors, the long-term average global climate is quite stable during interglacial periods,[8] and variations of a degree or two of average global temperature have historically had major effects on the ecological balance, and on the actual geography of the Earth.[9][10] Geology Main article: Geology Three types of geological plate tectonic boundaries. Geology is the science and study of the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the Earth. The field of geology encompasses the study of the composition, structure, physical properties, dynamics, and history of Earth materials, and the processes by which they are formed, moved, and changed. The field is a major academic discipline, and is also important for mineral and hydrocarbon extraction, knowledge about and mitigation of natural hazards, some Geotechnical engineering fields, and understanding past climates and environments. Geological evolution The geology of an area evolves through time as rock units are deposited and inserted and deformational processes change their shapes and locations. Rock units are first emplaced either by deposition onto the surface or intrude into the overlying rock. Deposition can occur when sediments settle onto the surface of the Earth and later lithify into sedimentary rock, or when as volcanic material such as volcanic ash or lava flows, blanket the surface. Igneous intrusions such as batholiths, laccoliths, dikes, and sills, push upwards into the overlying rock, and crystallize as they intrude. After the initial sequence of rocks has been deposited, the rock units can be deformed and/or metamorphosed. Deformation typically occurs as a result of horizontal shortening, horizontal extension, or side-to-side (strike-slip) motion. These structural regimes broadly relate to convergent boundaries, divergent boundaries, and transform boundaries, respectively, between tectonic plates. Historical perspective Main articles: History of the Earth and Evolution Plankton inhabit oceans, seas and lakes, and have existed in various forms for at least 2 billion years.[11] An animation showing the movement of the continents from the separation of Pangaea until the present day. Earth is estimated to have formed 4.54 billion years ago from the solar nebula, along with the Sun and other planets.[12] The moon formed roughly 20 million years later. Initially molten, the outer layer of the Earth cooled, resulting in the solid crust. Outgassing and volcanic activity produced the primordial atmosphere. Condensing water vapor, most or all of which came from ice delivered by comets, produced the oceans and other water sources.[13] The highly energetic chemistry is believed to have produced a self-replicating molecule around 4 billion years ago.[14] Continents formed, then broke up and reformed as the surface of Earth reshaped over hundreds of millions of years, occasionally combining to make a supercontinent. Roughly 750 million years ago, the earliest known supercontinent Rodinia, began to break apart. The continents later recombined to form Pannotia which broke apart about 540 million years ago, then finally Pangaea, which broke apart about 180 million years ago.[15] During the Neoproterozoic era covered much of the Earth in glaciers and ice sheets. This hypothesis has been termed the "Snowball Earth", and it is of particular interest as it precedes the Cambrian explosion in which multicellular life forms began to proliferate about 530–540 million years ago.[16] Since the Cambrian explosion there have been five distinctly identifiable mass extinctions.[17] The last mass extinction occurred some 66 million years ago, when a meteorite collision probably triggered the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs and other large reptiles, but spared small animals such as mammals. Over the past 66 million years, mammalian life diversified.[18] Several million years ago, a species of small African ape gained the ability to stand upright.[11] The subsequent advent of human life, and the development of agriculture and further civilization allowed humans to affect the Earth more rapidly than any previous life form, affecting both the nature and quantity of other organisms as well as global climate. By comparison, the Great Oxygenation Event, produced by the proliferation of algae during the Siderian period, required about 300 million years to culminate. The present era is classified as part of a mass extinction event, the Holocene extinction event, the fastest ever to have occurred.[19][20] Some, such as E. O. Wilson of Harvard University, predict that human destruction of the biosphere could cause the extinction of one-half of all species in the next 100 years.[21] The extent of the current extinction event is still being researched, debated and calculated by biologists.[22] Atmosphere, climate, and weather Lightning Blue light is scattered more than other wavelengths by the gases in the atmosphere, giving the Earth a blue halo when seen from space A tornado in central Oklahoma Main articles: Atmosphere of Earth, Climate and Weather The Earth's atmosphere is a key factor in sustaining the ecosystem. The thin layer of gases that envelops the Earth is held in place by gravity. Air is mostly nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, with much smaller amounts of carbon dioxide, argon, etc. The atmospheric pressure declines steadily with altitude. The ozone layer plays an important role in depleting the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that reaches the surface. As DNA is readily damaged by UV light, this serves to protect life at the surface. The atmosphere also retains heat during the night, thereby reducing the daily temperature extremes. Terrestrial weather occurs almost exclusively in the lower part of the atmosphere, and serves as a convective system for redistributing heat. Ocean currents are another important factor in determining climate, particularly the major underwater thermohaline circulation which distributes heat energy from the equatorial oceans to the polar regions. These currents help to moderate the differences in temperature between winter and summer in the temperate zones. Also, without the redistributions of heat energy by the ocean currents and atmosphere, the tropics would be much hotter, and the polar regions much colder. Weather can have both beneficial and harmful effects. Extremes in weather, such as tornadoes or hurricanes and cyclones, can expend large amounts of energy along their paths, and produce devastation. Surface vegetation has evolved a dependence on the seasonal variation of the weather, and sudden changes lasting only a few years can have a dramatic effect, both on the vegetation and on the animals which depend on its growth for their food. Climate is a measure of the long-term trends in the weather. Various factors are known to influence the climate, including ocean currents, surface albedo, greenhouse gases, variations in the solar luminosity, and changes to the Earth's orbit. Based on historical records, the Earth is known to have undergone drastic climate changes in the past, including ice ages. The climate of a region depends on a number of factors, especially latitude. A latitudinal band of the surface with similar climatic attributes forms a climate region. There are a number of such regions, ranging from the tropical climate at the equator to the polar climate in the northern and southern extremes. Weather is also influenced by the seasons, which result from the Earth's axis being tilted relative to its orbital plane. Thus, at any given time during the summer or winter, one part of the Earth is more directly exposed to the rays of the sun. This exposure alternates as the Earth revolves in its orbit. At any given time, regardless of season, the northern and southern hemispheres experience opposite seasons. Weather is a chaotic system that is readily modified by small changes to the environment, so accurate weather forecasting is limited to only a few days.[citation needed] Overall, two things are happening worldwide: (1) temperature is increasing on the average; and (2) regional climates have been undergoing noticeable changes.[23] Water on Earth The Iguazu Falls on the border between Brazil and Argentina Main article: Water Water is a chemical substance that is composed of hydrogen and oxygen and is vital for all known forms of life.[24] In typical usage, water refers only to its liquid form or state, but the substance also has a solid state, ice, and a gaseous state, water vapor or steam. Water covers 71% of the Earth's surface.[25] On Earth, it is found mostly in oceans and other large water bodies, with 1.6% of water below ground in aquifers and 0.001% in the air as vapor, clouds, and precipitation.[26][27] Oceans hold 97% of surface water, glaciers and polar ice caps 2.4%, and other land surface water such as rivers, lakes and ponds 0.6%. Additionally, a minute amount of the Earth's water is contained within biological bodies and manufactured products. Oceans A view of the Atlantic Ocean from Leblon, Rio de Janeiro. View of the Earth where all five oceans visible Earth's oceans Arctic Pacific Atlantic Indian Southern World Ocean v t e Main article: Ocean An ocean is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the hydrosphere. Approximately 71% of the Earth's surface (an area of some 361 million square kilometers) is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas. More than half of this area is over 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) deep. Average oceanic salinity is around 35 parts per thousand (ppt) (3.5%), and nearly all seawater has a salinity in the range of 30 to 38 ppt. Though generally recognized as several 'separate' oceans, these waters comprise one global, interconnected body of salt water often referred to as the World Ocean or global ocean.[28][29] This concept of a global ocean as a continuous body of water with relatively free interchange among its parts is of fundamental importance to oceanography.[30] The major oceanic divisions are defined in part by the continents, various archipelagos, and other criteria: these divisions are (in descending order of size) the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean and the Arctic Ocean. Smaller regions of the oceans are called seas, gulfs, bays and other names. There are also salt lakes, which are smaller bodies of landlocked saltwater that are not interconnected with the World Ocean. Two notable examples of salt lakes are the Aral Sea and the Great Salt Lake. Lakes Lake Mapourika, New Zealand Main article: Lake A lake (from Latin lacus) is a terrain feature (or physical feature), a body of liquid on the surface of a world that is localized to the bottom of basin (another type of landform or terrain feature; that is, it is not global) and moves slowly if it moves at all. On Earth, a body of water is considered a lake when it is inland, not part of the ocean, is larger and deeper than a pond, and is fed by a river.[31][32] The only world other than Earth known to harbor lakes is Titan, Saturn's largest moon, which has lakes of ethane, most likely mixed with methane. It is not known if Titan's lakes are fed by rivers, though Titan's surface is carved by numerous river beds. Natural lakes on Earth are generally found in mountainous areas, rift zones, and areas with ongoing or recent glaciation. Other lakes are found in endorheic basins or along the courses of mature rivers. In some parts of the world, there are many lakes because of chaotic drainage patterns left over from the last Ice Age. All lakes are temporary over geologic time scales, as they will slowly fill in with sediments or spill out of the basin containing them. Ponds The Westborough Reservoir (Mill Pond) in Westborough, Massachusetts. Main article: Pond A pond is a body of standing water, either natural or man-made, that is usually smaller than a lake. A wide variety of man-made bodies of water are classified as ponds, including water gardens designed for aesthetic ornamentation, fish ponds designed for commercial fish breeding, and solar ponds designed to store thermal energy. Ponds and lakes are distinguished from streams via current speed. While currents in streams are easily observed, ponds and lakes possess thermally driven microcurrents and moderate wind driven currents. These features distinguish a pond from many other aquatic terrain features, such as stream pools and tide pools. Rivers The Nile river in Cairo, Egypt's capital city Main article: River A river is a natural watercourse,[33] usually freshwater, flowing toward an ocean, a lake, a sea or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including stream, creek, brook, rivulet, and rill; there is no general rule that defines what can be called a river. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location; one example is Burn in Scotland and North-east England. Sometimes a river is said to be larger than a creek,[34] but this is not always the case, due to vagueness in the language.[35] A river is part of the hydrological cycle. Water within a river is generally collected from precipitation through surface runoff, groundwater recharge, springs, and the release of stored water in natural ice and snowpacks (i.e., from glaciers). Streams A rocky stream in Hawaii Main article: Stream A stream is a flowing body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. In the United States a stream is classified as a watercourse less than 60 feet (18 metres) wide. Streams are important as conduits in the water cycle, instruments in groundwater recharge, and they serve as corridors for fish and wildlife migration. The biological habitat in the immediate vicinity of a stream is called a riparian zone. Given the status of the ongoing Holocene extinction, streams play an important corridor role in connecting fragmented habitats and thus in conserving biodiversity. The study of streams and waterways in general involves many branches of inter-disciplinary natural science and engineering, including hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, aquatic ecology, fish biology, riparian ecology and others. Ecosystems Loch Lomond in Scotland forms a relatively isolated ecosystem. The fish community of this lake has remained unchanged over a very long period of time.[36] Lush green Aravalli Mountain Range in the Desert country-Rajasthan, India. A wonder how such greenery can exist in hot Rajasthan, a place well known for its Thar Desert An aerial view of a human ecosystem. Pictured is the city of Chicago Main articles: Ecology and Ecosystem Ecosystems are composed of a variety of abiotic and biotic components that function in an interrelated way.[37] The structure and composition is determined by various environmental factors that are interrelated. Variations of these factors will initiate dynamic modifications to the ecosystem. Some of the more important components are: soil, atmosphere, radiation from the sun, water, and living organisms. Central to the ecosystem concept is the idea that living organisms interact with every other element in their local environme

Engelska

Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, or material world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large part of science. Although humans are part of nature, human activity is often understood as a separate category from other natural phenomena. The word nature is derived from the Latin word natura, or "essential qualities, innate disposition", and in ancient times, literally meant "birth".[1] Natura is a Latin translation of the Greek word physis (φύσις), which originally related to the intrinsic characteristics that plants, animals, and other features of the world develop of their own accord.[2][3] The concept of nature as a whole, the physical universe, is one of several expansions of the original notion; it began with certain core applications of the word φύσις by pre-Socratic philosophers, and has steadily gained currency ever since. This usage continued during the advent of modern scientific method in the last several centuries.[4][5] Within the various uses of the word today, "nature" often refers to geology and wildlife. Nature can refer to the general realm of living plants and animals, and in some cases to the processes associated with inanimate objects – the way that particular types of things exist and change of their own accord, such as the weather and geology of the Earth. It is often taken to mean the "natural environment" or wilderness–wild animals, rocks, forest, and in general those things that have not been substantially altered by human intervention, or which persist despite human intervention. For example, manufactured objects and human interaction generally are not considered part of nature, unless qualified as, for example, "human nature" or "the whole of nature". This more traditional concept of natural things which can still be found today implies a distinction between the natural and the artificial, with the artificial being understood as that which has been brought into being by a human consciousness or a human mind. Depending on the particular context, the term "natural" might also be distinguished from the unnatural or the supernatural. Contents 1 Earth 1.1 Geology 1.1.1 Geological evolution 1.2 Historical perspective 2 Atmosphere, climate, and weather 3 Water on Earth 3.1 Oceans 3.2 Lakes 3.2.1 Ponds 3.3 Rivers 3.4 Streams 4 Ecosystems 4.1 Wilderness 5 Life 5.1 Evolution 5.2 Microbes 5.3 Plants and Animals 6 Human interrelationship 6.1 Aesthetics and beauty 6.2 Value of Nature 7 Matter and energy 8 Beyond Earth 9 See also 10 Notes and references 11 External links Earth Main articles: Earth and Earth science View of the Earth, taken in 1972 by the Apollo 17 astronaut crew. This image is the only photograph of its kind to date, showing a fully sunlit hemisphere of the Earth. Earth (or, "the earth") is the only planet known to support life, and its natural features are the subject of many fields of scientific research. Within the solar system, it is third closest to the sun; it is the largest terrestrial planet and the fifth largest overall. Its most prominent climatic features are its two large polar regions, two relatively narrow temperate zones, and a wide equatorial tropical to subtropical region.[6] Precipitation varies widely with location, from several metres of water per year to less than a millimetre. 71 percent of the Earth's surface is covered by salt-water oceans. The remainder consists of continents and islands, with most of the inhabited land in the Northern Hemisphere. Earth has evolved through geological and biological processes that have left traces of the original conditions. The outer surface is divided into several gradually migrating tectonic plates. The interior remains active, with a thick layer of plastic mantle and an iron-filled core that generates a magnetic field. This iron core is composed of a solid inner phase, and a fluid outer phase. It is the rotation of the outer, fluid iron core that generates an electrical current through dynamo action, which in turn generates a strong magnetic field. The atmospheric conditions have been significantly altered from the original conditions by the presence of life-forms,[7] which create an ecological balance that stabilizes the surface conditions. Despite the wide regional variations in climate by latitude and other geographic factors, the long-term average global climate is quite stable during interglacial periods,[8] and variations of a degree or two of average global temperature have historically had major effects on the ecological balance, and on the actual geography of the Earth.[9][10] Geology Main article: Geology Three types of geological plate tectonic boundaries. Geology is the science and study of the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the Earth. The field of geology encompasses the study of the composition, structure, physical properties, dynamics, and history of Earth materials, and the processes by which they are formed, moved, and changed. The field is a major academic discipline, and is also important for mineral and hydrocarbon extraction, knowledge about and mitigation of natural hazards, some Geotechnical engineering fields, and understanding past climates and environments. Geological evolution The geology of an area evolves through time as rock units are deposited and inserted and deformational processes change their shapes and locations. Rock units are first emplaced either by deposition onto the surface or intrude into the overlying rock. Deposition can occur when sediments settle onto the surface of the Earth and later lithify into sedimentary rock, or when as volcanic material such as volcanic ash or lava flows, blanket the surface. Igneous intrusions such as batholiths, laccoliths, dikes, and sills, push upwards into the overlying rock, and crystallize as they intrude. After the initial sequence of rocks has been deposited, the rock units can be deformed and/or metamorphosed. Deformation typically occurs as a result of horizontal shortening, horizontal extension, or side-to-side (strike-slip) motion. These structural regimes broadly relate to convergent boundaries, divergent boundaries, and transform boundaries, respectively, between tectonic plates. Historical perspective Main articles: History of the Earth and Evolution Plankton inhabit oceans, seas and lakes, and have existed in various forms for at least 2 billion years.[11] An animation showing the movement of the continents from the separation of Pangaea until the present day. Earth is estimated to have formed 4.54 billion years ago from the solar nebula, along with the Sun and other planets.[12] The moon formed roughly 20 million years later. Initially molten, the outer layer of the Earth cooled, resulting in the solid crust. Outgassing and volcanic activity produced the primordial atmosphere. Condensing water vapor, most or all of which came from ice delivered by comets, produced the oceans and other water sources.[13] The highly energetic chemistry is believed to have produced a self-replicating molecule around 4 billion years ago.[14] Continents formed, then broke up and reformed as the surface of Earth reshaped over hundreds of millions of years, occasionally combining to make a supercontinent. Roughly 750 million years ago, the earliest known supercontinent Rodinia, began to break apart. The continents later recombined to form Pannotia which broke apart about 540 million years ago, then finally Pangaea, which broke apart about 180 million years ago.[15] During the Neoproterozoic era covered much of the Earth in glaciers and ice sheets. This hypothesis has been termed the "Snowball Earth", and it is of particular interest as it precedes the Cambrian explosion in which multicellular life forms began to proliferate about 530–540 million years ago.[16] Since the Cambrian explosion there have been five distinctly identifiable mass extinctions.[17] The last mass extinction occurred some 66 million years ago, when a meteorite collision probably triggered the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs and other large reptiles, but spared small animals such as mammals. Over the past 66 million years, mammalian life diversified.[18] Several million years ago, a species of small African ape gained the ability to stand upright.[11] The subsequent advent of human life, and the development of agriculture and further civilization allowed humans to affect the Earth more rapidly than any previous life form, affecting both the nature and quantity of other organisms as well as global climate. By comparison, the Great Oxygenation Event, produced by the proliferation of algae during the Siderian period, required about 300 million years to culminate. The present era is classified as part of a mass extinction event, the Holocene extinction event, the fastest ever to have occurred.[19][20] Some, such as E. O. Wilson of Harvard University, predict that human destruction of the biosphere could cause the extinction of one-half of all species in the next 100 years.[21] The extent of the current extinction event is still being researched, debated and calculated by biologists.[22] Atmosphere, climate, and weather Lightning Blue light is scattered more than other wavelengths by the gases in the atmosphere, giving the Earth a blue halo when seen from space A tornado in central Oklahoma Main articles: Atmosphere of Earth, Climate and Weather The Earth's atmosphere is a key factor in sustaining the ecosystem. The thin layer of gases that envelops the Earth is held in place by gravity. Air is mostly nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, with much smaller amounts of carbon dioxide, argon, etc. The atmospheric pressure declines steadily with altitude. The ozone layer plays an important role in depleting the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that reaches the surface. As DNA is readily damaged by UV light, this serves to protect life at the surface. The atmosphere also retains heat during the night, thereby reducing the daily temperature extremes. Terrestrial weather occurs almost exclusively in the lower part of the atmosphere, and serves as a convective system for redistributing heat. Ocean currents are another important factor in determining climate, particularly the major underwater thermohaline circulation which distributes heat energy from the equatorial oceans to the polar regions. These currents help to moderate the differences in temperature between winter and summer in the temperate zones. Also, without the redistributions of heat energy by the ocean currents and atmosphere, the tropics would be much hotter, and the polar regions much colder. Weather can have both beneficial and harmful effects. Extremes in weather, such as tornadoes or hurricanes and cyclones, can expend large amounts of energy along their paths, and produce devastation. Surface vegetation has evolved a dependence on the seasonal variation of the weather, and sudden changes lasting only a few years can have a dramatic effect, both on the vegetation and on the animals which depend on its growth for their food. Climate is a measure of the long-term trends in the weather. Various factors are known to influence the climate, including ocean currents, surface albedo, greenhouse gases, variations in the solar luminosity, and changes to the Earth's orbit. Based on historical records, the Earth is known to have undergone drastic climate changes in the past, including ice ages. The climate of a region depends on a number of factors, especially latitude. A latitudinal band of the surface with similar climatic attributes forms a climate region. There are a number of such regions, ranging from the tropical climate at the equator to the polar climate in the northern and southern extremes. Weather is also influenced by the seasons, which result from the Earth's axis being tilted relative to its orbital plane. Thus, at any given time during the summer or winter, one part of the Earth is more directly exposed to the rays of the sun. This exposure alternates as the Earth revolves in its orbit. At any given time, regardless of season, the northern and southern hemispheres experience opposite seasons. Weather is a chaotic system that is readily modified by small changes to the environment, so accurate weather forecasting is limited to only a few days.[citation needed] Overall, two things are happening worldwide: (1) temperature is increasing on the average; and (2) regional climates have been undergoing noticeable changes.[23] Water on Earth The Iguazu Falls on the border between Brazil and Argentina Main article: Water Water is a chemical substance that is composed of hydrogen and oxygen and is vital for all known forms of life.[24] In typical usage, water refers only to its liquid form or state, but the substance also has a solid state, ice, and a gaseous state, water vapor or steam. Water covers 71% of the Earth's surface.[25] On Earth, it is found mostly in oceans and other large water bodies, with 1.6% of water below ground in aquifers and 0.001% in the air as vapor, clouds, and precipitation.[26][27] Oceans hold 97% of surface water, glaciers and polar ice caps 2.4%, and other land surface water such as rivers, lakes and ponds 0.6%. Additionally, a minute amount of the Earth's water is contained within biological bodies and manufactured products. Oceans A view of the Atlantic Ocean from Leblon, Rio de Janeiro. View of the Earth where all five oceans visible Earth's oceans Arctic Pacific Atlantic Indian Southern World Ocean v t e Main article: Ocean An ocean is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the hydrosphere. Approximately 71% of the Earth's surface (an area of some 361 million square kilometers) is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas. More than half of this area is over 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) deep. Average oceanic salinity is around 35 parts per thousand (ppt) (3.5%), and nearly all seawater has a salinity in the range of 30 to 38 ppt. Though generally recognized as several 'separate' oceans, these waters comprise one global, interconnected body of salt water often referred to as the World Ocean or global ocean.[28][29] This concept of a global ocean as a continuous body of water with relatively free interchange among its parts is of fundamental importance to oceanography.[30] The major oceanic divisions are defined in part by the continents, various archipelagos, and other criteria: these divisions are (in descending order of size) the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean and the Arctic Ocean. Smaller regions of the oceans are called seas, gulfs, bays and other names. There are also salt lakes, which are smaller bodies of landlocked saltwater that are not interconnected with the World Ocean. Two notable examples of salt lakes are the Aral Sea and the Great Salt Lake. Lakes Lake Mapourika, New Zealand Main article: Lake A lake (from Latin lacus) is a terrain feature (or physical feature), a body of liquid on the surface of a world that is localized to the bottom of basin (another type of landform or terrain feature; that is, it is not global) and moves slowly if it moves at all. On Earth, a body of water is considered a lake when it is inland, not part of the ocean, is larger and deeper than a pond, and is fed by a river.[31][32] The only world other than Earth known to harbor lakes is Titan, Saturn's largest moon, which has lakes of ethane, most likely mixed with methane. It is not known if Titan's lakes are fed by rivers, though Titan's surface is carved by numerous river beds. Natural lakes on Earth are generally found in mountainous areas, rift zones, and areas with ongoing or recent glaciation. Other lakes are found in endorheic basins or along the courses of mature rivers. In some parts of the world, there are many lakes because of chaotic drainage patterns left over from the last Ice Age. All lakes are temporary over geologic time scales, as they will slowly fill in with sediments or spill out of the basin containing them. Ponds The Westborough Reservoir (Mill Pond) in Westborough, Massachusetts. Main article: Pond A pond is a body of standing water, either natural or man-made, that is usually smaller than a lake. A wide variety of man-made bodies of water are classified as ponds, including water gardens designed for aesthetic ornamentation, fish ponds designed for commercial fish breeding, and solar ponds designed to store thermal energy. Ponds and lakes are distinguished from streams via current speed. While currents in streams are easily observed, ponds and lakes possess thermally driven microcurrents and moderate wind driven currents. These features distinguish a pond from many other aquatic terrain features, such as stream pools and tide pools. Rivers The Nile river in Cairo, Egypt's capital city Main article: River A river is a natural watercourse,[33] usually freshwater, flowing toward an ocean, a lake, a sea or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including stream, creek, brook, rivulet, and rill; there is no general rule that defines what can be called a river. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location; one example is Burn in Scotland and North-east England. Sometimes a river is said to be larger than a creek,[34] but this is not always the case, due to vagueness in the language.[35] A river is part of the hydrological cycle. Water within a river is generally collected from precipitation through surface runoff, groundwater recharge, springs, and the release of stored water in natural ice and snowpacks (i.e., from glaciers). Streams A rocky stream in Hawaii Main article: Stream A stream is a flowing body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. In the United States a stream is classified as a watercourse less than 60 feet (18 metres) wide. Streams are important as conduits in the water cycle, instruments in groundwater recharge, and they serve as corridors for fish and wildlife migration. The biological habitat in the immediate vicinity of a stream is called a riparian zone. Given the status of the ongoing Holocene extinction, streams play an important corridor role in connecting fragmented habitats and thus in conserving biodiversity. The study of streams and waterways in general involves many branches of inter-disciplinary natural science and engineering, including hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, aquatic ecology, fish biology, riparian ecology and others. Ecosystems Loch Lomond in Scotland forms a relatively isolated ecosystem. The fish community of this lake has remained unchanged over a very long period of time.[36] Lush green Aravalli Mountain Range in the Desert country-Rajasthan, India. A wonder how such greenery can exist in hot Rajasthan, a place well known for its Thar Desert An aerial view of a human ecosystem. Pictured is the city of Chicago Main articles: Ecology and Ecosystem Ecosystems are composed of a variety of abiotic and biotic components that function in an interrelated way.[37] The structure and composition is determined by various environmental factors that are interrelated. Variations of these factors will initiate dynamic modifications to the ecosystem. Some of the more important components are: soil, atmosphere, radiation from the sun, water, and living organisms. Central to the ecosystem concept is the idea that living organisms interact with every other element in their local environme

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