Article: article from journal or magazin.
Changes in spatial memory mediated by experimental variation in food supply do not affect hippocampal anatomy in mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli)
Journal of Neurobiology
Publication types: Comparative Study ; Journal Article ; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't ; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S. Publication Status: ppublish
Earlier reports suggested that seasonal variation in food-caching behavior (caching intensity and cache retrieval accuracy) might correlate with morphological changes in the hippocampal formation, a brain structure thought to play a role in remembering cache locations. We demonstrated that changes in cache retrieval accuracy can also be triggered by experimental variation in food supply: captive mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli) maintained on limited and unpredictable food supply were more accurate at recovering their caches and performed better on spatial memory tests than birds maintained on ad libitum food. In this study, we investigated whether these two treatment groups also differed in the volume and neuron number of the hippocampal formation. If variation in memory for food caches correlates with hippocampal size, then our birds with enhanced cache recovery and spatial memory performance should have larger hippocampal volumes and total neuron numbers. Contrary to this prediction we found no significant differences in volume or total neuron number of the hippocampal formation between the two treatment groups. Our results therefore indicate that changes in food-caching behavior and spatial memory performance, as mediated by experimental variations in food supply, are not necessarily accompanied by morphological changes in volume or neuron number of the hippocampal formation in fully developed, experienced food-caching birds.
Animals, Birds/anatomy & histology, Feeding Behavior, Food, Food Supply, Hippocampus/anatomy & histology, Hippocampus/physiology, Memory/physiology, Neurons/cytology, Neurons/physiology, Spatial Behavior/physiology, Telencephalon/anatomy & histology, Telencephalon/physiology
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