Nest building in the brain: papers

Hall, Z.J., Street, S.E., Auty, S., & Healy, S.D. 2015. The coevolution of building nests on the ground and domed nests in Timaliidae. The Auk: July 2015, Vol. 132, No. 3, pp. 584-593.

Hall, Z.J., Healy, S.D. &. Meddle, S.L. 2015. A role for nonapeptides and dopamine in nest-building behaviour. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 27: 158-165.

Hall, Z.J., Bertin, M., Bailey, I.E., Meddle, S.L. & Healy, S.D.  2014.  Neural correlates of nesting behavior in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Behavioural Brain Research 264:  26-33.

Hall, Z. J., Street, S. & Healy, S.D. 2013. The evolution of cerebellum structure correlates with nest complexity. Biology Letters 9: 20130687

Brain activity during nest construction

To implicate regions of the brain in nest construction behaviours, Zach Hall looked for correlations between levels of neuronal activity in different brain regions and the performance of nest building behaviours in male and female zebra finches. He measured regional neuronal activity by quantifying the number of cells expressing FOS, a protein expressed in neurons following periods of high activation (see diagram below).

Above: Left = brain cells expressing FOS. Right = Zebra Finches nest construction sequence