Document Detail

The economy of winter: phenotypic plasticity in behavior and brain structure.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8776845     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Mobile animals must learn the spatial distributions of resources. The cost of foraging increases dramatically for temperate-zone animals during the winter. Two strategies may be used to balance the energetic budget: reducing costs of foraging and reducing need to forage. Both strategies are correlated with changes in brain structure, specifically in the hippocampus, a fore-brain structure used by birds and mammals to map spatial distributions of resources. Small mammals that reduce their need to forage, through hibernation or reduction in body size, show a specific reduction in the structure and size of the hippocampus. The costs of foraging can be also decreased by migration to better foraging conditions or by food-storing, both of which decrease the temporal heterogeneity of food resources. Both of these latter strategies are associated with increased hippocampal structure; for food-storing birds, this increase is a seasonal phenomenon. Thus not only behavior, but also learning ability and even brain structures in adult animals, may be phenotypically plastic in response to the changing demands of the environment.
L F Jacobs
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Biological bulletin     Volume:  191     ISSN:  0006-3185     ISO Abbreviation:  Biol. Bull.     Publication Date:  1996 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1996-10-17     Completed Date:  1996-10-17     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2984727R     Medline TA:  Biol Bull     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  92-100     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Psychology, University of California at Berkeley 94720-1650, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological*
Behavior, Animal / physiology*
Feeding Behavior / physiology
Hippocampus / anatomy & histology*
Neuronal Plasticity

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