Journal of Advanced Neuroscience Research  (Volume 1 Issue 1)
 Brain Geometry and its Relation to Migratory Behavior in Birds janrhomeimage
Pages 1-9

R. Fuchs, H. Winkler, V. P. Bingman, J. D. Rossand G. Bernroider

Published: 18 October 2014
A central concern in neuroscience can simply be brought down to the question of how a brains organization relates to its great diversity of functions. It is generally agreed that this relation must be based on multiscale organizational principles, ranging from the macroscopic level of the entire organ down to the cellular and molecular level. The functional correlates may also be seen as hierarchical constructs ranging from phylogenetic constraints and selectable life history traits down to perception, action and cognition. Here we focus on the relationship between macroscopic brain measures and a conspicuous life history variable in many animal species, migration. Migratory songbirds tend to have smaller brains than resident species. However, in the absence of data providing a detailed mapping of variation in brain subdivisions onto variation in migratory behaviour, offering a causal interpretation of the observed difference in brain size is difficult. Here we describe a set of large scale, geometric measures, which, despite different phylogenetic affiliations, discriminate migratory status across multiple avian lineages and eco-geographical regions. We build our investigation on complete, serial-section based, 3-D volumetric reconstructions of telencephalic subdivisions involving four song bird genera, which differ in their migratory status: long distance (more than 3000 km) and modest or no (0-3000 km) migratory behaviour. Our findings suggest that migratory behaviour as a population level trait can be discriminated at the level of geometrical forebrain measures. We finally discuss the results with respect to the developmental patterns that are largely responsible for the observed differences in brain geometries.
Neuroecology, Neurodevelopment, Brain geometry, Allometry, Encephalization, Telencephalization, Migratory behaviour, Population level phenomena, Life-history variables, Structure-function correlations.