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Seasonal plasticity of structure and function is a fundamental feature of nervous systems in a wide variety of animals that occupy seasonal environments. Excellent examples of seasonal brain changes are found in the avian song control system, which has become a leading model of morphological and functional plasticity in the adult CNS. The volumes of entire(More)
Seasonal changes in the neural attributes of brain nuclei that control song in songbirds are among the most pronounced examples of naturally occurring plasticity in the adult brain of any vertebrate. The behavioral correlates of this seasonal neural plasticity have not been well characterized, particularly in songbird species that lack adult song learning.(More)
The song control nuclei of songbirds undergo pronounced seasonal changes in size and neuronal attributes. The mechanisms by which seasonal changes in environmental variables such as photoperiod mediate seasonal changes in these brain regions are not known. Manipulations of photoperiod and/or testosterone in captive songbirds induce seasonal changes in the(More)
In adult songbirds, seasonal changes in photoperiod and circulating testosterone (T) stimulate structural changes within the neural song control circuitry. The mechanisms that control this natural plasticity are poorly understood. To determine how quickly and in what sequence the song nuclei respond to changing daylength and circulating T, we captured 18(More)
BACKGROUND Songbirds hold great promise for biomedical, environmental and evolutionary research. A complete draft sequence of the zebra finch genome is imminent, yet a need remains for application of genomic resources within a research community traditionally focused on ethology and neurobiological methods. In response, we developed a core set of genomic(More)
In males of several songbird species, the morphology of forebrain nuclei that control song changes seasonally. The only seasonally breeding songbird in which seasonal changes in the structure of song control nuclei have been reported not to occur is the nonmigratory Nuttall's subspecies of white-crowned sparrow. In the present study, we manipulated(More)
In seasonally breeding songbirds, the brain regions that control song behavior undergo dramatic structural changes at the onset of each annual breeding season. As spring approaches and days get longer, gonadal testosterone (T) secretion increases and triggers the growth of several song control nuclei. T can be converted to androgenic and estrogenic(More)
Seasonal plasticity in the morphology of telencephalic nuclei that control song behavior has been reported for diverse species of songbirds. The only published report of a lack of seasonal changes in the song nuclei of a seasonally breeding bird is that of Baker et al. in the Nuttall's subspecies of white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys nuttalli).(More)
Adult songbirds can incorporate new neurons into HVc, a telencephalic song control nucleus. Neuronal incorporation into HVc is greater in the fall than in the spring in adult canaries (open-ended song learners) and is temporally related to seasonal song modification. We used the western song sparrow, a species that does not modify its adult song, to test(More)
A common trend in neuroscience is convergence on selected model systems. Underlying this approach is an often implicit assumption that mechanisms observed in one species are characteristic of all related species. Although the model system approach has been extremely productive, it might not account for all of the mechanistic differences between species that(More)