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zebra finch

Stefania Casagrande, Rianne Pinxten, Erika Zaid, Marcel Eens
Song is a sexually selected trait that is thought to be an honest signal of the health condition of an individual in many bird species. For species that breed opportunistically, the quantity of food may be a determinant of singing activity. However, it is not yet known whether the quality of food plays an important role in this respect. The aim of the present study was to experimentally investigate the role of two calorie-free nutrients (lutein and cholesterol) in determining the expression of a sexually selected behavior (song rate) and other behaviors (locomotor activity, self-maintenance activity, eating and resting) in male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata)...
2016: PeerJ
Alexei L Vyssotski, Anna E Stepien, Georg B Keller, Richard H R Hahnloser
What cortical inputs are provided to motor control areas while they drive complex learned behaviors? We study this question in the nucleus interface of the nidopallium (NIf), which is required for normal birdsong production and provides the main source of auditory input to HVC, the driver of adult song. In juvenile and adult zebra finches, we find that spikes in NIf projection neurons precede vocalizations by several tens of milliseconds and are insensitive to distortions of auditory feedback. We identify a local isometry between NIf output and vocalizations: quasi-identical notes produced in different syllables are preceded by highly similar NIf spike patterns...
October 2016: PLoS Biology
William A Liberti, Jeffrey E Markowitz, L Nathan Perkins, Derek C Liberti, Daniel P Leman, Grigori Guitchounts, Tarciso Velho, Darrell N Kotton, Carlos Lois, Timothy J Gardner
Motor skills can be maintained for decades, but the biological basis of this memory persistence remains largely unknown. The zebra finch, for example, sings a highly stereotyped song that is stable for years, but it is not known whether the precise neural patterns underlying song are stable or shift from day to day. Here we demonstrate that the population of projection neurons coding for song in the premotor nucleus, HVC, change from day to day. The most dramatic shifts occur over intervals of sleep. In contrast to the transient participation of excitatory neurons, ensemble measurements dominated by inhibition persist unchanged even after damage to downstream motor nerves...
October 10, 2016: Nature Neuroscience
Olle Lind
Today, there is good knowledge of the physiological basis of bird colour vision and how mathematical models can be used to predict visual thresholds. However, we still know only little about how colour vision changes between different viewing conditions. This limits the understanding of how colour signalling is configured in habitats where the light of the illumination and the background may shift dramatically. I examined how colour discrimination in zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is affected by adaptation to different backgrounds...
September 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Julie Hamaide, Geert De Groof, Gwendolyn Van Steenkiste, Ben Jeurissen, Johan Van Audekerke, Maarten Naeyaert, Lisbeth Van Ruijssevelt, Charlotte Cornil, Jan Sijbers, Marleen Verhoye, Annemie Van der Linden
Zebra finches are an excellent model to study the process of vocal learning, a complex socially-learned tool of communication that forms the basis of spoken human language. So far, structural investigation of the zebra finch brain has been performed ex vivo using invasive methods such as histology. These methods are highly specific, however, they strongly interfere with performing whole-brain analyses and exclude longitudinal studies aimed at establishing causal correlations between neuroplastic events and specific behavioral performances...
September 30, 2016: NeuroImage
Sander R Raymaekers, Wout Verbeure, Sita M Ter Haar, Charlotte A Cornil, Jacques Balthazart, Veerle M Darras
The zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) song control system consists of several series of interconnected brain nuclei that undergo marked changes during ontogeny and sexual development, making it an excellent model to study developmental neuroplasticity. Despite the demonstrated influence of hormones such as sex steroids on this phenomenon, thyroid hormones (THs) - an important factor in neural development and maturation - have not been studied in this regard. We used in situ hybridization to compare the expression of TH transporters, deiodinases and receptors between both sexes during all phases of song development in male zebra finch...
September 29, 2016: General and Comparative Endocrinology
Ulrich Knief, Georg Hemmrich-Stanisak, Michael Wittig, Andre Franke, Simon C Griffith, Bart Kempenaers, Wolfgang Forstmeier
BACKGROUND: Inversion polymorphisms constitute an evolutionary puzzle: they should increase embryo mortality in heterokaryotypic individuals but still they are widespread in some taxa. Some insect species have evolved mechanisms to reduce the cost of embryo mortality but humans have not. In birds, a detailed analysis is missing although intraspecific inversion polymorphisms are regarded as common. In Australian zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), two polymorphic inversions are known cytogenetically and we set out to detect these two and potentially additional inversions using genomic tools and study their effects on embryo mortality and other fitness-related and morphological traits...
September 29, 2016: Genome Biology
Kenton A Buck, Claire W Varian-Ramos, Daniel A Cristol, John P Swaddle
Mercury is a ubiquitous metal contaminant that negatively impacts reproduction of wildlife and has many other sub-lethal effects. Songbirds are sensitive bioindicators of mercury toxicity and may suffer population declines as a result of mercury pollution. Current predictions of mercury accumulation and biomagnification often overlook possible genetic variation in mercury uptake and elimination within species and the potential for evolution in affected populations. We conducted a study of dietary mercury exposure in a model songbird species, maintaining a breeding population of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) on standardized diets ranging from 0...
2016: PloS One
Véronique Chantal, Julie Gibelli, Frédérique Dubois
Experimental evidence suggests that females would prefer males with better cognitive abilities as mates. However, little is known about the traits reflecting enhanced cognitive skills on which females might base their mate-choice decisions. In particular, it has been suggested that male foraging performance could be used as an indicator of cognitive capacity, but convincing evidence for this hypothesis is still lacking. In the present study, we investigated whether female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) modify their mating preferences after having observed the performance of males on a problem-solving task...
2016: PeerJ
Sarah Cushing Woolley
Basal ganglia circuits are critical for the modulation of motor performance across behavioral states. In zebra finches, a cortical-basal ganglia circuit dedicated to singing is necessary for males adjust their song performance and transition between spontaneous singing, when they are alone ('undirected' song), and a performance state when they sing to a female ('female-directed song'). However, we know little about the role of different basal ganglia cell types in this behavioral transition or the degree to which behavioral context modulates the activity of different neuron classes...
September 14, 2016: Journal of Neurophysiology
John C Bramley, Samantha V A Collins, Karen B Clark, William J Buchser
The integrity of long axons is essential for neural communication. Unfortunately, relatively minor stress to a neuron can cause extensive loss of this integrity. Axon degeneration is the cell-intrinsic program that actively deconstructs an axon after injury or damage. Although ultrastructural examination has revealed signs of axon degeneration in vivo, the occurrence and progression of axon degeneration in avian species have not yet been documented in vitro. Here, we use a novel cell culture system with primary embryonic zebra finch retinal ganglion cells to interrogate the properties of avian axon degeneration...
November 2016: Journal of Comparative Physiology. A, Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Alain Nogaret, C Daniel Meliza, Daniel Margoliash, Henry D I Abarbanel
We report on the construction of neuron models by assimilating electrophysiological data with large-scale constrained nonlinear optimization. The method implements interior point line parameter search to determine parameters from the responses to intracellular current injections of zebra finch HVC neurons. We incorporated these parameters into a nine ionic channel conductance model to obtain completed models which we then use to predict the state of the neuron under arbitrary current stimulation. Each model was validated by successfully predicting the dynamics of the membrane potential induced by 20-50 different current protocols...
2016: Scientific Reports
Dominique A Potvin, Michael T Curcio, John P Swaddle, Scott A MacDougall-Shackleton
Recently, numerous studies have observed changes in bird vocalizations-especially song-in urban habitats. These changes are often interpreted as adaptive, since they increase the active space of the signal in its environment. However, the proximate mechanisms driving cross-generational changes in song are still unknown. We performed a captive experiment to identify whether noise experienced during development affects song learning and the development of song-control brain regions. Zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) were bred while exposed, or not exposed, to recorded traffic urban noise (Study 1) or pink noise (Study 2)...
2016: PeerJ
Megan M Skrip, Navindra P Seeram, Tao Yuan, Hang Ma, Scott R McWilliams
Physiological challenges during one part of the annual cycle can carry over and affect performance at a subsequent phase, and antioxidants could be one mediator of trade-offs between phases. We performed a controlled experiment with zebra finches to examine how songbirds use nutrition to manage trade-offs in antioxidant allocation between endurance flight and subsequent reproduction. Our treatment groups included (1) a non-supplemented, non-exercised group (control group) fed a standard diet with no exercise beyond that experienced during normal activity in an aviary; (2) a supplemented non-exercised group fed a water- and lipid-soluble antioxidant-supplemented diet with no exercise; (3) a non-supplemented exercised group fed a standard diet and trained to perform daily endurance flight for 6 weeks; and (4) a supplemented exercised group fed an antioxidant-supplemented diet and trained to perform daily flight for 6 weeks...
September 1, 2016: Journal of Experimental Biology
Joanna Rutkowska, Edyta T Sadowska, Mariusz Cichoń, Ulf Bauchinger
Patterns of physiological flexibility in response to fasting are well established, but much less is known about the contribution of water deprivation to the observed effects. We investigated body composition and energy and water budget in three groups of zebra finches: birds with access to food and water, food-deprived birds having access to drinking water and food-and-water-deprived birds. Animals were not stimulated by elevated energy expenditure and they were in thermoneutral conditions; thus, based on previous studies, water balance of fasting birds was expected to be maintained by increased catabolism of proteins...
September 1, 2016: Journal of Experimental Biology
Clair Bennison, Nicola Hemmings, Lola Brookes, Jon Slate, Tim Birkhead
The relationship between sperm energetics and sperm function is poorly known, but is central to our understanding of the evolution of sperm traits. The aim of this study was to examine how sperm morphology and ATP content affect sperm swimming velocity in the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata We exploited the high inter-male variation in this species and created extra experimental power by increasing the number of individuals with very long or short sperm through artificial selection. We found a pronounced quadratic relationship between total sperm length and swimming velocity, with velocity increasing with length up to a point, but declining in the very longest sperm...
August 31, 2016: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Monika Rinder, Anna Schmitz, Andrea Peschel, Barbara Wörle, Helga Gerlach, Rüdiger Korbel
A recently identified circovirus (family Circoviridae) was detected in 14 zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) from seven aviaries and hobbyist breeders using PCR followed by sequencing. Full genome sequences of virus strains from six zebra finches consistently revealed characteristic circoviral genomic features like a stem-loop structure and two major open reading frames encoding the replication-associated protein and the putative capsid protein. One further open reading frame encoding a protein of unknown function was additionally identified in all six genomes...
August 22, 2016: Avian Pathology: Journal of the W.V.P.A
Mylene M Mariette, Katherine L Buchanan
In many species, embryos can perceive and learn external sounds. Yet, the possibility that parents may use these embryonic capacities to alter their offspring's developmental trajectories has not been considered. Here, we demonstrate that zebra finch parents acoustically signal high ambient temperatures (above 26°C) to their embryos. We show that exposure of embryos to these acoustic cues alone adaptively alters subsequent nestling begging and growth in response to nest temperature and influences individuals' reproductive success and thermal preferences as adults...
August 19, 2016: Science
Michelle L Tomaszycki, Kimberly K Richardson, Kyle J Mann
The nonapeptides oxytocin and vasopressin have been implicated in a variety of social behaviors. In zebra finches, oxytocin antagonists decrease pairing in both sexes, and pairing, in turn, increases expression of both mesotocin (the avian homologue of oxytocin) and vasotocin (the avian homologue of vasopressin). Increases in mesotocin and vasotocin mRNA are correlated with the amount of directed singing by males. Thus, in the present study, we examined the hypothesis that activation of cells containing nonapeptide receptors in song-related regions (ventral tegmental area, lateral septum, and medial preoptic nucleus) would also be correlated with directed singing in males...
October 2016: Behavioral Neuroscience
Michelle J Spierings, Carel Ten Cate
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2016: Frontiers in Neuroscience
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