The sacred music of Protestant and Catholic Christian religions profoundly influenced the instrumentation and songs of the African diaspora over the decades and throughout the Americas. Some enslaved people converted to Christianity while others rejected it as the religion of their oppressors. Those who attended church learned and reinterpreted western hymnal and choral singing for their communities. In some cases, enslaved people continued to use elements of African music in their religious expressions, including syncopation, polyrhythms, and call-and-response.
Elsewhere, as with maroons in Brazilian quilombos , combined dance, song, instruments, and martial arts in Capoeira , a form of self-defense disgused as a dance.
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Christian holidays and festivals were another occasion for European and African cultures to merge and influence one another. Africans survived on the slave ships on diets which the European captain thought were appropriate for their survival. It was a crude mix of foods acquired on the African coast, imported on the ship, and prepared on board. Eating took place in the cramped and generally squalid circumstance of the ship and in conditions which often helped the spread of sickness among the African captives.
Oats, peas, beans, biscuits, maize, plantains, and rice were boiled and mixed with oil and perhaps some pepper. Survival of the captives required the crew to carry a plentiful supply of fresh water. In order to survive several weeks at sea, the ship often used more space to carry water barrels than captives. Major disasters, and huge loss of life, sometimes occurred on slave ships because of water shortages.
In the Americas, foodstuffs from Africa such as rice, ackee, and yams, as well as imported foods from Europe and other parts of the Americas became a basic diet for enslaved communities in the African diaspora. Salt fish from Newfoundland fisheries was provided on Caribbean plantations. With these basics, enslaved people developed their own distinctive foodways. Slave owners rationed food to their slaves. Some enslaved people fished, hunted wild animals, and grew crops in gardens allotted to them by their owners.
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Some domestic slaves ate food similar to their owners. When a slave owner fell on hard economic times, their food rations were diminished. Some owners allowed their enslaved people to roam, in order to scavenge for food, in times of drought or crop failures.
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When times were good for the owner and supplies were plentiful, extra rations might be granted to enslaved laborers on select occasions, such as on holidays, as incentives for increased production. As with languages and religions, the foodways which enslaved people in the New World developed were blends of African, European, and Native American foodstuffs, spices, ingredients, and cooking methods. There emerged a distinct blend of Africa and the Americas. The use of particular ingredients, ways of cooking, and the melding of various African habits with the patterns and ingredients available in the Americas all created distinct patterns of slave diet and cuisine.
For example, in Jamaica , Ackee and salt fish—today a national dish—derives from the fruit, ackee, native to West Africa, and salt fish, from the teeming fishing grounds of the Newfoundland banks, initially given to enslaved people by their masters.
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And all garnished with local spices. Natural capital that supports populations is critical for maintaining ecosystem services   and species migration e. The habitat of a species describes the environment over which a species is known to occur and the type of community that is formed as a result. Habitat shifts provide important evidence of competition in nature where one population changes relative to the habitats that most other individuals of the species occupy.
For example, one population of a species of tropical lizard Tropidurus hispidus has a flattened body relative to the main populations that live in open savanna. The population that lives in an isolated rock outcrop hides in crevasses where its flattened body offers a selective advantage. Habitat shifts also occur in the developmental life history of amphibians, and in insects that transition from aquatic to terrestrial habitats.
Biotope and habitat are sometimes used interchangeably, but the former applies to a community's environment, whereas the latter applies to a species' environment. Definitions of the niche date back to ,  but G. Evelyn Hutchinson made conceptual advances in   by introducing a widely adopted definition: "the set of biotic and abiotic conditions in which a species is able to persist and maintain stable population sizes.
The fundamental niche is the set of environmental conditions under which a species is able to persist.
The realized niche is the set of environmental plus ecological conditions under which a species persists. Biogeographical patterns and range distributions are explained or predicted through knowledge of a species' traits and niche requirements. A trait is a measurable property, phenotype , or characteristic of an organism that may influence its survival. Genes play an important role in the interplay of development and environmental expression of traits. This tends to afford them a competitive advantage and discourages similarly adapted species from having an overlapping geographic range.
The competitive exclusion principle states that two species cannot coexist indefinitely by living off the same limiting resource ; one will always out-compete the other.
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When similarly adapted species overlap geographically, closer inspection reveals subtle ecological differences in their habitat or dietary requirements. Organisms are subject to environmental pressures, but they also modify their habitats. The regulatory feedback between organisms and their environment can affect conditions from local e. Ecosystem engineers are defined as: "organisms that directly or indirectly modulate the availability of resources to other species, by causing physical state changes in biotic or abiotic materials.
In so doing they modify, maintain and create habitats.
The ecosystem engineering concept has stimulated a new appreciation for the influence that organisms have on the ecosystem and evolutionary process. The term "niche construction" is more often used in reference to the under-appreciated feedback mechanisms of natural selection imparting forces on the abiotic niche.
There is an emergent homeostasis or homeorhesis in the structure of the nest that regulates, maintains and defends the physiology of the entire colony.
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Termite mounds, for example, maintain a constant internal temperature through the design of air-conditioning chimneys. The structure of the nests themselves are subject to the forces of natural selection. Moreover, a nest can survive over successive generations, so that progeny inherit both genetic material and a legacy niche that was constructed before their time. Biomes are larger units of organization that categorize regions of the Earth's ecosystems, mainly according to the structure and composition of vegetation.
Biomes include tropical rainforest , temperate broadleaf and mixed forest , temperate deciduous forest , taiga , tundra , hot desert , and polar desert. To a microbe , the human body is a habitat and a landscape. The oceanic microbiome plays a significant role in the ecological biogeochemistry of the planet's oceans. The largest scale of ecological organization is the biosphere: the total sum of ecosystems on the planet. Ecological relationships regulate the flux of energy, nutrients, and climate all the way up to the planetary scale. For example, the dynamic history of the planetary atmosphere's CO 2 and O 2 composition has been affected by the biogenic flux of gases coming from respiration and photosynthesis, with levels fluctuating over time in relation to the ecology and evolution of plants and animals.
Population ecology studies the dynamics of species populations and how these populations interact with the wider environment. A primary law of population ecology is the Malthusian growth model  which states, "a population will grow or decline exponentially as long as the environment experienced by all individuals in the population remains constant. An example of an introductory population model describes a closed population, such as on an island, where immigration and emigration does not take place. Hypotheses are evaluated with reference to a null hypothesis which states that random processes create the observed data.
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In these island models, the rate of population change is described by:. Using these modelling techniques, Malthus' population principle of growth was later transformed into a model known as the logistic equation :.
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Population ecology builds upon these introductory models to further understand demographic processes in real study populations. Commonly used types of data include life history , fecundity , and survivorship, and these are analysed using mathematical techniques such as matrix algebra. The information is used for managing wildlife stocks and setting harvest quotas.