Gregory F Ball

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This review examines how birds use the annual cycle in photoperiod to ensure that seasonal events--breeding, molt, and song production--happen at the appropriate time of year. Differences in breeding strategies between birds and mammals reflect basic differences in biology. Avian breeding seasons tend to be of shorter duration and more asymmetric with(More)
The standard nomenclature that has been used for many telencephalic and related brainstem structures in birds is based on flawed assumptions of homology to mammals. In particular, the outdated terminology implies that most of the avian telencephalon is a hypertrophied basal ganglia, when it is now clear that most of the avian telencephalon is(More)
We believe that names have a powerful influence on the experiments we do and the way in which we think. For this reason, and in the light of new evidence about the function and evolution of the vertebrate brain, an international consortium of neuroscientists has reconsidered the traditional, 100-year-old terminology that is used to describe the avian(More)
In many species of songbirds, individual variation between the songs of competing males is correlated with female behavioral preferences. The neural mechanisms of song based female preference in songbirds are not known. Working with female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), we used immunocytochemistry for ZENK protein to localize forebrain regions that(More)
Investigations of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of physiology and behaviour have generally avoided attempts to explain individual differences. The goal has rather been to discover general processes. However, understanding the causes of individual variation in many phenomena of interest to avian eco-physiologists will require a consideration of such(More)
Mate-choice decisions can be experience dependent, but we know little about how the brain processes stimuli that release such decisions. Female European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) prefer males with long-bout songs over males with short-bout songs, and show higher expression of the immediate early gene (IEG) ZENK in the auditory forebrain when exposed to(More)
It is established that in songbirds the size of several brain song control nuclei varies seasonally, based on changes in cell size, dendritic branching and, in nucleus HVC, the incorporation of newborn neurons. In the developing and adult mammalian brain, the protein doublecortin (DCX) is expressed in postmitotic neurons and, as a part of the microtubule(More)
Estrogens derived from the neural aromatization of testosterone play a key role in the activation of male sexual behavior in many vertebrates and have now been recognized to have rapid membrane effects on brain function. Such changes in aromatase activity and hence in local estrogen concentrations could rapidly modulate behavioral responses. We show here(More)
Estrogens exert a wide variety of actions on reproductive and non-reproductive functions. These effects are mediated by slow and long lasting genomic as well as rapid and transient non-genomic mechanisms. Besides the host of studies demonstrating the role of genomic actions at the physiological and behavioral level, mounting evidence highlights the(More)
In male starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) courtship song plays a critical role in mate attraction. During the breeding season courtship song occurs prior to copulation and appears to reflect male sexual arousal. Outside the breeding season starlings sing, but song appears unrelated to reproduction. The aromatization of testosterone (T), likely within the medial(More)