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Richard Daniel Mooney

George Barth Geller Distinguished Professor for Research in Neurobiology
Neurobiology
Box 3209, Durham, NC 27710
Bryan Research Building, 311 Research Drivebox 3209, Durham, NC 27710

Selected Publications


Nested circuits mediate the decision to vocalize.

Journal Article Elife · June 14, 2023 Vocalizations facilitate mating and social affiliation but may also inadvertently alert predators and rivals. Consequently, the decision to vocalize depends on brain circuits that can weigh and compare these potential benefits and risks. Male mice produce ... Full text Link to item Cite

Divergent projections from locus coeruleus to the corticobasal ganglia system and ventral tegmental area of the adult male zebra finch.

Journal Article J Comp Neurol · June 2023 The locus coeruleus (LC) is a small noradrenergic brainstem nucleus that plays a central role in regulating arousal, attention, and performance. In the mammalian brain, individual LC neurons make divergent axonal projections to different brain regions, whi ... Full text Link to item Cite

A neural hub for holistic courtship displays.

Journal Article Curr Biol · May 8, 2023 Courtship displays often involve the concerted production of several distinct courtship behaviors. The neural circuits that enable the concerted production of the component behaviors of a courtship display are not well understood. Here, we identify a midbr ... Full text Link to item Cite

Generative models of birdsong learning link circadian fluctuations in song variability to changes in performance.

Journal Article PLoS Comput Biol · May 2023 Learning skilled behaviors requires intensive practice over days, months, or years. Behavioral hallmarks of practice include exploratory variation and long-term improvements, both of which can be impacted by circadian processes. During weeks of vocal pract ... Full text Link to item Cite

Birdsong.

Journal Article Curr Biol · October 24, 2022 Have your ever felt as happy as a lark, feathered your nest or taken someone under your wing? As we watch birds, we cannot help but be struck by their uncannily familiar behaviors - singing, nest building, caring for their young - to name just a few. Songb ... Full text Link to item Cite

Neural dynamics underlying birdsong practice and performance.

Journal Article Nature · November 2021 Musical and athletic skills are learned and maintained through intensive practice to enable precise and reliable performance for an audience. Consequently, understanding such complex behaviours requires insight into how the brain functions during both prac ... Full text Cite

Data from: A neural hub that coordinates learned and innate courtship behaviors

Dataset · July 20, 2021 Holistic behaviors often require the coordination of innate and learned movements. The neural circuits that enable such coordination remain unknown. Here we identify a midbrain cell group (A11) that enables male zebra finches to coordinate their learned so ... Full text Cite

Low-dimensional learned feature spaces quantify individual and group differences in vocal repertoires.

Journal Article Elife · May 14, 2021 Increases in the scale and complexity of behavioral data pose an increasing challenge for data analysis. A common strategy involves replacing entire behaviors with small numbers of handpicked, domain-specific features, but this approach suffers from severa ... Full text Link to item Cite

Circuit and synaptic organization of forebrain-to-midbrain pathways that promote and suppress vocalization.

Journal Article Elife · December 29, 2020 Animals vocalize only in certain behavioral contexts, but the circuits and synapses through which forebrain neurons trigger or suppress vocalization remain unknown. Here, we used transsynaptic tracing to identify two populations of inhibitory neurons that ... Full text Link to item Cite

The neurobiology of innate and learned vocalizations in rodents and songbirds.

Journal Article Curr Opin Neurobiol · October 2020 Vocalizations are an important medium for sexual and social signaling in mammals and birds. In most mammals other than humans, vocalizations are specified by innate mechanisms and develop normally in the absence of auditory experience. By contrast, juvenil ... Full text Link to item Cite

Editorial overview: Neurobiology of behavior.

Journal Article Curr Opin Neurobiol · February 2020 Full text Link to item Cite

The neurobiology of innate, volitional and learned vocalizations in mammals and birds.

Journal Article Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci · January 6, 2020 Vocalization is an ancient vertebrate trait essential to many forms of communication, ranging from courtship calls to free verse. Vocalizations may be entirely innate and evoked by sexual cues or emotional state, as with many types of calls made in primate ... Full text Link to item Cite

Discrete Evaluative and Premotor Circuits Enable Vocal Learning in Songbirds.

Journal Article Neuron · November 6, 2019 Virtuosic motor performance requires the ability to evaluate and modify individual gestures within a complex motor sequence. Where and how the evaluative and premotor circuits operate within the brain to enable such temporally precise learning is poorly un ... Full text Link to item Cite

A Specialized Neural Circuit Gates Social Vocalizations in the Mouse.

Journal Article Neuron · August 7, 2019 Vocalizations are fundamental to mammalian communication, but the underlying neural circuits await detailed characterization. Here, we used an intersectional genetic method to label and manipulate neurons in the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG) that are ... Full text Link to item Cite

A mesocortical dopamine circuit enables the cultural transmission of vocal behaviour.

Journal Article Nature · November 2018 The cultural transmission of behaviour depends on the ability of the pupil to identify and emulate an appropriate tutor1-4. How the brain of the pupil detects a suitable tutor and encodes the behaviour of the tutor is largely unknown. Juvenile zebra finche ... Full text Link to item Cite

A cortical filter that learns to suppress the acoustic consequences of movement.

Journal Article Nature · September 2018 Sounds can arise from the environment and also predictably from many of our own movements, such as vocalizing, walking, or playing music. The capacity to anticipate these movement-related (reafferent) sounds and distinguish them from environmental sounds i ... Full text Link to item Cite

How Movement Modulates Hearing.

Journal Article Annu Rev Neurosci · July 8, 2018 Hearing is often viewed as a passive process: Sound enters the ear, triggers a cascade of activity through the auditory system, and culminates in an auditory percept. In contrast to a passive process, motor-related signals strongly modulate the auditory sy ... Full text Link to item Cite

MIN1PIPE: A Miniscope 1-Photon-Based Calcium Imaging Signal Extraction Pipeline.

Journal Article Cell Rep · June 19, 2018 In vivo calcium imaging using a 1-photon-based miniscope and a microendoscopic lens enables studies of neural activities in freely behaving animals. However, the high and fluctuating background, the inevitable movements and distortions of imaging field, an ... Full text Link to item Cite

The Song Remains the Same.

Journal Article Trends Neurosci · April 2018 Deafness causes speech to deteriorate, but whether this deterioration reflects an active or passive process is unclear. Birdsong - a learned vocal behavior that resembles speech in its dependence on auditory feedback - also deteriorates following deafening ... Full text Link to item Cite

A common neural circuit mechanism for internally guided and externally reinforced forms of motor learning.

Journal Article Nat Neurosci · April 2018 The complex skills underlying verbal and musical expression can be learned without external punishment or reward, indicating their learning is internally guided. The neural mechanisms that mediate internally guided learning are poorly understood, but a cir ... Full text Link to item Cite

Nested circuits mediate the decision to vocalize.

Journal Article Elife · June 14, 2023 Vocalizations facilitate mating and social affiliation but may also inadvertently alert predators and rivals. Consequently, the decision to vocalize depends on brain circuits that can weigh and compare these potential benefits and risks. Male mice produce ... Full text Link to item Cite

Divergent projections from locus coeruleus to the corticobasal ganglia system and ventral tegmental area of the adult male zebra finch.

Journal Article J Comp Neurol · June 2023 The locus coeruleus (LC) is a small noradrenergic brainstem nucleus that plays a central role in regulating arousal, attention, and performance. In the mammalian brain, individual LC neurons make divergent axonal projections to different brain regions, whi ... Full text Link to item Cite

A neural hub for holistic courtship displays.

Journal Article Curr Biol · May 8, 2023 Courtship displays often involve the concerted production of several distinct courtship behaviors. The neural circuits that enable the concerted production of the component behaviors of a courtship display are not well understood. Here, we identify a midbr ... Full text Link to item Cite

Generative models of birdsong learning link circadian fluctuations in song variability to changes in performance.

Journal Article PLoS Comput Biol · May 2023 Learning skilled behaviors requires intensive practice over days, months, or years. Behavioral hallmarks of practice include exploratory variation and long-term improvements, both of which can be impacted by circadian processes. During weeks of vocal pract ... Full text Link to item Cite

Birdsong.

Journal Article Curr Biol · October 24, 2022 Have your ever felt as happy as a lark, feathered your nest or taken someone under your wing? As we watch birds, we cannot help but be struck by their uncannily familiar behaviors - singing, nest building, caring for their young - to name just a few. Songb ... Full text Link to item Cite

Neural dynamics underlying birdsong practice and performance.

Journal Article Nature · November 2021 Musical and athletic skills are learned and maintained through intensive practice to enable precise and reliable performance for an audience. Consequently, understanding such complex behaviours requires insight into how the brain functions during both prac ... Full text Cite

Data from: A neural hub that coordinates learned and innate courtship behaviors

Dataset · July 20, 2021 Holistic behaviors often require the coordination of innate and learned movements. The neural circuits that enable such coordination remain unknown. Here we identify a midbrain cell group (A11) that enables male zebra finches to coordinate their learned so ... Full text Cite

Low-dimensional learned feature spaces quantify individual and group differences in vocal repertoires.

Journal Article Elife · May 14, 2021 Increases in the scale and complexity of behavioral data pose an increasing challenge for data analysis. A common strategy involves replacing entire behaviors with small numbers of handpicked, domain-specific features, but this approach suffers from severa ... Full text Link to item Cite

Circuit and synaptic organization of forebrain-to-midbrain pathways that promote and suppress vocalization.

Journal Article Elife · December 29, 2020 Animals vocalize only in certain behavioral contexts, but the circuits and synapses through which forebrain neurons trigger or suppress vocalization remain unknown. Here, we used transsynaptic tracing to identify two populations of inhibitory neurons that ... Full text Link to item Cite

The neurobiology of innate and learned vocalizations in rodents and songbirds.

Journal Article Curr Opin Neurobiol · October 2020 Vocalizations are an important medium for sexual and social signaling in mammals and birds. In most mammals other than humans, vocalizations are specified by innate mechanisms and develop normally in the absence of auditory experience. By contrast, juvenil ... Full text Link to item Cite

Editorial overview: Neurobiology of behavior.

Journal Article Curr Opin Neurobiol · February 2020 Full text Link to item Cite

The neurobiology of innate, volitional and learned vocalizations in mammals and birds.

Journal Article Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci · January 6, 2020 Vocalization is an ancient vertebrate trait essential to many forms of communication, ranging from courtship calls to free verse. Vocalizations may be entirely innate and evoked by sexual cues or emotional state, as with many types of calls made in primate ... Full text Link to item Cite

Discrete Evaluative and Premotor Circuits Enable Vocal Learning in Songbirds.

Journal Article Neuron · November 6, 2019 Virtuosic motor performance requires the ability to evaluate and modify individual gestures within a complex motor sequence. Where and how the evaluative and premotor circuits operate within the brain to enable such temporally precise learning is poorly un ... Full text Link to item Cite

A Specialized Neural Circuit Gates Social Vocalizations in the Mouse.

Journal Article Neuron · August 7, 2019 Vocalizations are fundamental to mammalian communication, but the underlying neural circuits await detailed characterization. Here, we used an intersectional genetic method to label and manipulate neurons in the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG) that are ... Full text Link to item Cite

A mesocortical dopamine circuit enables the cultural transmission of vocal behaviour.

Journal Article Nature · November 2018 The cultural transmission of behaviour depends on the ability of the pupil to identify and emulate an appropriate tutor1-4. How the brain of the pupil detects a suitable tutor and encodes the behaviour of the tutor is largely unknown. Juvenile zebra finche ... Full text Link to item Cite

A cortical filter that learns to suppress the acoustic consequences of movement.

Journal Article Nature · September 2018 Sounds can arise from the environment and also predictably from many of our own movements, such as vocalizing, walking, or playing music. The capacity to anticipate these movement-related (reafferent) sounds and distinguish them from environmental sounds i ... Full text Link to item Cite

How Movement Modulates Hearing.

Journal Article Annu Rev Neurosci · July 8, 2018 Hearing is often viewed as a passive process: Sound enters the ear, triggers a cascade of activity through the auditory system, and culminates in an auditory percept. In contrast to a passive process, motor-related signals strongly modulate the auditory sy ... Full text Link to item Cite

MIN1PIPE: A Miniscope 1-Photon-Based Calcium Imaging Signal Extraction Pipeline.

Journal Article Cell Rep · June 19, 2018 In vivo calcium imaging using a 1-photon-based miniscope and a microendoscopic lens enables studies of neural activities in freely behaving animals. However, the high and fluctuating background, the inevitable movements and distortions of imaging field, an ... Full text Link to item Cite

The Song Remains the Same.

Journal Article Trends Neurosci · April 2018 Deafness causes speech to deteriorate, but whether this deterioration reflects an active or passive process is unclear. Birdsong - a learned vocal behavior that resembles speech in its dependence on auditory feedback - also deteriorates following deafening ... Full text Link to item Cite

A common neural circuit mechanism for internally guided and externally reinforced forms of motor learning.

Journal Article Nat Neurosci · April 2018 The complex skills underlying verbal and musical expression can be learned without external punishment or reward, indicating their learning is internally guided. The neural mechanisms that mediate internally guided learning are poorly understood, but a cir ... Full text Link to item Cite

Identification of a motor-to-auditory pathway important for vocal learning.

Journal Article Nat Neurosci · July 2017 Learning to vocalize depends on the ability to adaptively modify the temporal and spectral features of vocal elements. Neurons that convey motor-related signals to the auditory system are theorized to facilitate vocal learning, but the identity and functio ... Full text Link to item Cite

A Distributed Recurrent Network Contributes to Temporally Precise Vocalizations.

Journal Article Neuron · August 3, 2016 How do forebrain and brainstem circuits interact to produce temporally precise and reproducible behaviors? Birdsong is an elaborate, temporally precise, and stereotyped vocal behavior controlled by a network of forebrain and brainstem nuclei. An influentia ... Full text Link to item Cite

The Basal Forebrain and Motor Cortex Provide Convergent yet Distinct Movement-Related Inputs to the Auditory Cortex.

Journal Article Neuron · May 4, 2016 Cholinergic inputs to the auditory cortex from the basal forebrain (BF) are important to auditory processing and plasticity, but little is known about the organization of these synapses onto different auditory cortical neuron types, how they influence audi ... Full text Link to item Cite

Maternal Loss of Ube3a Impairs Experience-Driven Dendritic Spine Maintenance in the Developing Visual Cortex.

Journal Article J Neurosci · April 27, 2016 UNLABELLED: Dendritic spines are a morphological feature of the majority of excitatory synapses in the mammalian neocortex and are motile structures with shapes and lifetimes that change throughout development. Proper cortical development and function, inc ... Full text Link to item Cite

Focal expression of mutant huntingtin in the songbird basal ganglia disrupts cortico-basal ganglia networks and vocal sequences.

Journal Article Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A · March 22, 2016 The basal ganglia (BG) promote complex sequential movements by helping to select elementary motor gestures appropriate to a given behavioral context. Indeed, Huntington's disease (HD), which causes striatal atrophy in the BG, is characterized by hyperkines ... Full text Link to item Cite

Motor-related signals in the auditory system for listening and learning.

Journal Article Curr Opin Neurobiol · August 2015 In the auditory system, corollary discharge signals are theorized to facilitate normal hearing and the learning of acoustic behaviors, including speech and music. Despite clear evidence of corollary discharge signals in the auditory cortex and their presum ... Full text Link to item Cite

Imaging auditory representations of song and syllables in populations of sensorimotor neurons essential to vocal communication.

Journal Article J Neurosci · April 8, 2015 Vocal communication depends on the coordinated activity of sensorimotor neurons important to vocal perception and production. How vocalizations are represented by spatiotemporal activity patterns in these neuronal populations remains poorly understood. Her ... Full text Link to item Cite

Giant ankyrin-G stabilizes somatodendritic GABAergic synapses through opposing endocytosis of GABAA receptors.

Journal Article Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A · January 27, 2015 GABAA-receptor-based interneuron circuitry is essential for higher order function of the human nervous system and is implicated in schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders, and autism. Here we demonstrate that giant ankyrin-G (480-kDa ankyrin-G) promot ... Full text Link to item Cite

A synaptic and circuit basis for corollary discharge in the auditory cortex.

Journal Article Nature · September 11, 2014 Sensory regions of the brain integrate environmental cues with copies of motor-related signals important for imminent and ongoing movements. In mammals, signals propagating from the motor cortex to the auditory cortex are thought to have a critical role in ... Full text Link to item Cite

Auditory synapses to song premotor neurons are gated off during vocalization in zebra finches.

Journal Article Elife · February 18, 2014 Songbirds use auditory feedback to learn and maintain their songs, but how feedback interacts with vocal motor circuitry remains unclear. A potential site for this interaction is the song premotor nucleus HVC, which receives auditory input and contains neu ... Full text Link to item Cite

Auditory-vocal mirroring in songbirds.

Journal Article Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci · 2014 Mirror neurons are theorized to serve as a neural substrate for spoken language in humans, but the existence and functions of auditory-vocal mirror neurons in the human brain remain largely matters of speculation. Songbirds resemble humans in their capacit ... Full text Link to item Cite

Diminished FoxP2 levels affect dopaminergic modulation of corticostriatal signaling important to song variability.

Journal Article Neuron · December 18, 2013 Mutations of the FOXP2 gene impair speech and language development in humans and shRNA-mediated suppression of the avian ortholog FoxP2 disrupts song learning in juvenile zebra finches. How diminished FoxP2 levels affect vocal control and alter the functio ... Full text Link to item Cite

A circuit for motor cortical modulation of auditory cortical activity.

Journal Article J Neurosci · September 4, 2013 Normal hearing depends on the ability to distinguish self-generated sounds from other sounds, and this ability is thought to involve neural circuits that convey copies of motor command signals to various levels of the auditory system. Although such interac ... Full text Link to item Cite

Motor circuits help encode auditory memories of vocal models used to guide vocal learning.

Journal Article Hear Res · September 2013 Early auditory experience can leave a lasting imprint on brain and behavior. This lasting imprint is most notably manifested in culturally transmitted vocal behaviors, including speech and birdsong, where a vocal model heard early in postnatal life exerts ... Full text Link to item Cite

New modules are added to vibrissal premotor circuitry with the emergence of exploratory whisking.

Journal Article Neuron · January 23, 2013 Rodents begin to use bilaterally coordinated, rhythmic sweeping of their vibrissae ("whisking") for environmental exploration around 2 weeks after birth. Whether (and how) the vibrissal control circuitry changes after birth is unknown, and the relevant pre ... Full text Link to item Cite

Intracellular Neural Recording with Pure Carbon Nanotube Probes.

Journal Article PLoS One · 2013 The computational complexity of the brain depends in part on a neuron's capacity to integrate electrochemical information from vast numbers of synaptic inputs. The measurements of synaptic activity that are crucial for mechanistic understanding of brain fu ... Full text Open Access Link to item Cite

Motor circuits are required to encode a sensory model for imitative learning.

Journal Article Nat Neurosci · October 2012 Premotor circuits help generate imitative behaviors and can be activated during observation of another animal's behavior, leading to speculation that these circuits participate in sensory learning that is important to imitation. Here we tested this idea by ... Full text Link to item Cite

Recurrent interactions between the input and output of a songbird cortico-basal ganglia pathway are implicated in vocal sequence variability.

Journal Article J Neurosci · August 22, 2012 Complex brain functions, such as the capacity to learn and modulate vocal sequences, depend on activity propagation in highly distributed neural networks. To explore the synaptic basis of activity propagation in such networks, we made dual in vivo intracel ... Full text Link to item Cite

Sensory Constraints on Birdsong Syntax: Neural Responses to Swamp Sparrow Songs with Accelerated Trill Rates.

Journal Article Anim Behav · June 2012 Both sensory and motor mechanisms can constrain behavioral performance. Sensory mechanisms may be especially important for constraining behaviors that depend on experience, such as learned birdsongs. Swamp sparrows learn to sing by imitating the song of a ... Full text Link to item Cite

Ultra-sharp metal and nanotube-based probes for applications in scanning microscopy and neural recording.

Journal Article J Appl Phys · April 1, 2012 This paper discusses several methods for manufacturing ultra-sharp probes, with applications geared toward, but not limited to, scanning microscopy (STM, AFM) and intra-cellular recordings of neural signals. We present recipes for making tungsten, platinum ... Full text Open Access Link to item Cite

The role of auditory feedback in vocal learning and maintenance.

Journal Article Curr Opin Neurobiol · April 2012 Auditory experience is critical for the acquisition and maintenance of learned vocalizations in both humans and songbirds. Despite the central role of auditory feedback in vocal learning and maintenance, where and how auditory feedback affects neural circu ... Full text Link to item Cite

Deafening drives cell-type-specific changes to dendritic spines in a sensorimotor nucleus important to learned vocalizations.

Journal Article Neuron · March 8, 2012 Hearing loss prevents vocal learning and causes learned vocalizations to deteriorate, but how vocalization-related auditory feedback acts on neural circuits that control vocalization remains poorly understood. We deafened adult zebra finches, which rely on ... Full text Link to item Cite

Persistent representation of juvenile experience in the adult songbird brain.

Journal Article J Neurosci · August 4, 2010 Juveniles sometimes learn behaviors that they cease to express as adults. Whether the adult brain retains a record of experiences associated with behaviors performed transiently during development remains unclear. We addressed this issue by studying neural ... Full text Link to item Cite

In vivo vomeronasal stimulation reveals sensory encoding of conspecific and allospecific cues by the mouse accessory olfactory bulb.

Journal Article Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A · March 16, 2010 The rodent vomeronasal system plays a critical role in mediating pheromone-evoked social and sexual behaviors. Recent studies of the anatomical and molecular architecture of the vomeronasal organ (VNO) and of its synaptic target, the accessory olfactory bu ... Full text Link to item Cite

Rapid spine stabilization and synaptic enhancement at the onset of behavioural learning.

Journal Article Nature · February 18, 2010 Behavioural learning depends on the brain's capacity to respond to instructive experience and is often enhanced during a juvenile sensitive period. How instructive experience acts on the juvenile brain to trigger behavioural learning remains unknown. In vi ... Full text Link to item Cite

Manipulation of a central auditory representation shapes learned vocal output.

Journal Article Neuron · January 14, 2010 Learned vocalizations depend on the ear's ability to monitor and ultimately instruct the voice. Where is auditory feedback processed in the brain, and how does it modify motor networks for learned vocalizations? Here we addressed these questions using sing ... Full text Link to item Cite

Neurobiology of song learning.

Journal Article Curr Opin Neurobiol · December 2009 Birdsong is a culturally transmitted behavior that depends on a juvenile songbird's ability to imitate the song of an adult tutor. Neurobiological studies of birdsong can reveal how a complex form of imitative learning, which bears strong parallels to huma ... Full text Link to item Cite

Neural mechanisms for learned birdsong.

Journal Article Learn Mem · November 2009 Learning by imitation is essential for transmitting many aspects of human culture, including speech, language, art, and music. How the human brain enables imitation remains a mystery, but the underlying neural mechanisms must harness sensory feedback to ad ... Full text Link to item Cite

Song decrystallization in adult zebra finches does not require the song nucleus NIf.

Journal Article J Neurophysiol · August 2009 In adult male zebra finches, transecting the vocal nerve causes previously stable (i.e., crystallized) song to slowly degrade, presumably because of the resulting distortion in auditory feedback. How and where distorted feedback interacts with song motor n ... Full text Link to item Cite

Avian nucleus retroambigualis: cell types and projections to other respiratory-vocal nuclei in the brain of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

Journal Article J Comp Neurol · February 20, 2009 In songbirds song production requires the intricate coordination of vocal and respiratory muscles under the executive influence of the telencephalon, as for speech in humans. In songbirds the site of this coordination is suspected to be the nucleus retroam ... Full text Link to item Cite

Neural correlates of categorical perception in learned vocal communication.

Journal Article Nat Neurosci · February 2009 The division of continuously variable acoustic signals into discrete perceptual categories is a fundamental feature of vocal communication, including human speech. Despite the importance of categorical perception to learned vocal communication, the neural ... Full text Link to item Cite

Birdsong: The Neurobiology of Avian Vocal Learning

Journal Article · January 1, 2009 Although many vertebrates literally sing out to communicate with other members of their species, the capacity for vocal learning is quite rare. Indeed, vocal learning has been convincingly demonstrated only for humans, songbirds, parrots, and certain speci ... Full text Cite

Noradrenergic induction of odor-specific neural habituation and olfactory memories.

Journal Article J Neurosci · October 15, 2008 For many mammals, individual recognition of conspecifics relies on olfactory cues. Certain individual recognition memories are thought to be stored when conspecific odor cues coincide with surges of noradrenaline (NA) triggered by intensely arousing social ... Full text Link to item Cite

Telencephalic neurons monosynaptically link brainstem and forebrain premotor networks necessary for song.

Journal Article J Neurosci · March 26, 2008 Birdsong, like human speech, is a series of learned vocal gestures resulting from the coordination of vocal and respiratory brainstem networks under the control of the telencephalon. The song motor circuit includes premotor and motor cortical analogs, know ... Full text Link to item Cite

A synaptic basis for auditory-vocal integration in the songbird.

Journal Article J Neurosci · February 6, 2008 Songbirds learn to sing by memorizing a tutor song that they then vocally mimic using auditory feedback. This developmental sequence suggests that brain areas that encode auditory memories communicate with brain areas for learned vocal control. In the song ... Full text Link to item Cite

Precise auditory-vocal mirroring in neurons for learned vocal communication.

Journal Article Nature · January 17, 2008 Brain mechanisms for communication must establish a correspondence between sensory and motor codes used to represent the signal. One idea is that this correspondence is established at the level of single neurons that are active when the individual performs ... Full text Link to item Cite

Thalamic gating of auditory responses in telencephalic song control nuclei.

Journal Article J Neurosci · September 12, 2007 In songbirds, nucleus Uvaeformis (Uva) is the sole thalamic input to the telencephalic nucleus HVC (used as a proper name), a sensorimotor structure essential to learned song production that also exhibits state-dependent responses to auditory presentation ... Full text Link to item Cite

Auditory plasticity in a basal ganglia-forebrain pathway during decrystallization of adult birdsong.

Journal Article The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience · June 2007 Adult male zebra finches maintain highly stable songs via auditory feedback. Prolonged exposure to distorted feedback may cause this stable (i.e., "crystallized") song to change its pattern, a process known as decrystallization. In the songbird, the telenc ... Full text Cite

Homogeneity of intrinsic properties of sexually dimorphic vocal motoneurons in male and female zebra finches.

Journal Article J Comp Neurol · May 1, 2007 Sex differences in behavioral repertoires are often reflected in the underlying electrophysiological and morphological properties of motor neurons. Male zebra finches produce long, spectrally complex, learned songs and short calls, whereas female finches o ... Full text Link to item Cite

Neurophysiology of birdsong learning

Chapter · January 1, 2007 Oscine songbirds use auditory feedback to learn and, in some species, to maintain their courtship songs. Song learning is restricted to a juvenile sensitive period characterized by a remarkable capacity for memorization and subsequent accurate imitation of ... Full text Cite

Synaptic integration of olfactory information in mouse anterior olfactory nucleus.

Journal Article J Neurosci · November 15, 2006 Individual odorants activate only a small fraction of mitral cells in the mouse main olfactory bulb (MOB). Odor mixtures are represented by a combination of activated mitral cells, forming reproducible activation maps in the olfactory bulb. However, how th ... Full text Link to item Cite

Sensory systems

Journal Article Current Opinion in Neurobiology · August 1, 2006 Full text Cite

Synaptic interactions underlying song-selectivity in the avian nucleus HVC revealed by dual intracellular recordings.

Journal Article J Neurophysiol · February 2006 Stimulus-dependent synaptic interactions underlying selective sensory representations in neural circuits specialized for sensory processing and sensorimotor integration remain poorly understood. The songbird telencephalic nucleus HVC is a sensorimotor area ... Full text Link to item Cite

Physiology of neuronal subtypes in the respiratory-vocal integration nucleus retroamigualis of the male zebra finch.

Journal Article J Neurophysiol · October 2005 Learned vocalizations, such as bird song, require intricate coordination of vocal and respiratory muscles. Although the neural basis for this coordination remains poorly understood, it likely includes direct synaptic interactions between respiratory premot ... Full text Link to item Cite

Acute injections of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in a vocal premotor nucleus reversibly disrupt adult birdsong stability and trigger syllable deletion.

Journal Article J Neurobiol · March 2005 Behavioral variability serves an essential role in motor learning by enabling sensory feedback to select those motor patterns that minimize error. Birds use auditory feedback to learn how to sing, and their songs lose variability and become highly stereoty ... Full text Link to item Cite

Calcium-binding proteins define interneurons in HVC of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata).

Journal Article J Comp Neurol · February 28, 2005 Nucleus HVC of the avian song system is essential to song patterning and is a prime site for auditory-vocal integration important to vocal learning. These processes require precise, high-frequency action potential activity, which, in other systems, is ofte ... Full text Link to item Cite

The HVC microcircuit: the synaptic basis for interactions between song motor and vocal plasticity pathways.

Journal Article J Neurosci · February 23, 2005 Synaptic interactions between telencephalic neurons innervating descending motor or basal ganglia pathways are essential in the learning, planning, and execution of complex movements. Synaptic interactions within the songbird telencephalic nucleus HVC are ... Full text Link to item Cite

Sequential learning from multiple tutors and serial retuning of auditory neurons in a brain area important to birdsong learning

Journal Article Journal of Neurophysiology · November 1, 2004 Songbirds hear many vocal models during a juvenile sensitive period, transiently imitating some while retaining imitations of others in their repertoires. Despite subsequent conflicting experiences, early experience can exert lasting effects on neural stru ... Full text Cite

Synaptic transformations underlying highly selective auditory representations of learned birdsong.

Journal Article J Neurosci · August 18, 2004 Featured Publication Stimulus-specific neuronal responses are a striking characteristic of several sensory systems, although the synaptic mechanisms underlying their generation are not well understood. The songbird nucleus HVC (used here as a proper name) contains projection n ... Full text Link to item Cite

Neural correlates of learned song in the avian forebrain: simultaneous representation of self and others.

Journal Article Curr Opin Neurobiol · August 2004 Featured Publication Songbirds are extraordinary vocalists and sensitive listeners, singing to communicate identity, engage other birds in acoustical combat, and attract mates. These processes involve auditory plasticity in that birds rapidly learn to discriminate novel from f ... Full text Link to item Cite

Synaptic mechanisms for auditory-vocal integration and the correction of vocal errors.

Journal Article Ann N Y Acad Sci · June 2004 A central goal of neuroscience is to understand the cellular mechanisms enabling the cultural transmission of behaviors, such as speech and music. Birdsong is a rare non-human instance of a culturally transmitted vocal behavior. The songbird's brain provid ... Full text Link to item Cite

Inhibitory and excitatory mechanisms underlying auditory responses to learned vocalizations in the songbird nucleus HVC.

Journal Article Neuron · July 3, 2003 Featured Publication Speech and birdsong require auditory feedback for their development and maintenance, necessitating precise auditory encoding of vocal sounds. In songbirds, the telencephalic song premotor nucleus HVC contains neurons that respond highly selectively to the ... Full text Link to item Cite

Respiratory and telencephalic modulation of vocal motor neurons in the zebra finch.

Journal Article J Neurosci · February 1, 2003 Featured Publication Birdsong, like speech, involves coordinated vocal and respiratory activity achieved under telencephalic control. The avian vocal organ, or syrinx, is innervated by motor neurons (MNs) in the tracheosyringeal part of the hypoglossal nucleus (XIIts) that rec ... Full text Link to item Cite

A bird's eye view: top down intracellular analyses of auditory selectivity for learned vocalizations.

Journal Article J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol · December 2002 The "song system" refers to a group of interconnected brain nuclei necessary for the utterance of learned song and for the generation of vocal plasticity important to both song learning and adult song maintenance. Although song learning and, in some specie ... Full text Link to item Cite

Auditory representation of the vocal repertoire in a songbird with multiple song types.

Journal Article Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A · October 23, 2001 Neural mechanisms for representing complex communication sounds must solve the problem of encoding multiple and potentially overlapping signals. Birdsong provides an excellent model for such processing, in that many songbird species produce multiple song t ... Full text Link to item Cite

Androgens and isolation from adult tutors differentially affect the development of songbird neurons critical to vocal plasticity.

Journal Article J Neurophysiol · January 2001 Song learning in oscine birds occurs during a juvenile sensitive period. One idea is that this sensitive period is regulated by changes in the electrophysiological properties of neurons in the telencephalic song nucleus lateral magnocellular nucleus of the ... Full text Link to item Cite

Bird communication: two voices are better than one.

Journal Article Curr Biol · September 7, 2000 How do emperor penguins find their mates on a featureless ice flow, packed at densities of ten animals per square meter? A recent study has revealed how use of their 'two-voice' calls enables emperor penguins to locate their mates and chicks under some of ... Full text Link to item Cite

Intrinsic and extrinsic contributions to auditory selectivity in a song nucleus critical for vocal plasticity.

Journal Article J Neurosci · July 15, 2000 The development, maintenance, and perception of learned vocalizations in songbirds are likely to require auditory neurons that respond selectively to song. Neurons with song-selective responses have been described in several brain nuclei critical to singin ... Full text Link to item Cite

Different subthreshold mechanisms underlie song selectivity in identified HVc neurons of the zebra finch.

Journal Article J Neurosci · July 15, 2000 Songbirds learn and maintain their songs via auditory experience. Neurons in many telencephalic nuclei important to song production and development are song selective, firing more to forward auditory playback of the bird's own song (BOS) than to reverse BO ... Full text Link to item Cite

Slow NMDA-EPSCs at synapses critical for song development are not required for song learning in zebra finches.

Journal Article Nat Neurosci · May 2000 Birdsong, like human speech, is learned via auditory experience during a developmentally restricted sensitive period. Within projection neurons of two avian forebrain nuclei, NMDA receptor-mediated EPSCs (NMDA-EPSCs) become fast during song development, a ... Full text Link to item Cite

Lesions of an avian forebrain nucleus that disrupt song development alter synaptic connectivity and transmission in the vocal premotor pathway.

Journal Article J Neurosci · November 1, 1999 The avian forebrain nucleus, the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior neostriatum (LMAN), is necessary for normal song development because LMAN lesions made in juvenile birds disrupt song production but do not disrupt song when made in adults. Alt ... Full text Link to item Cite

Androgens modulate NMDA receptor-mediated EPSCs in the zebra finch song system.

Journal Article J Neurophysiol · November 1999 Androgens potently regulate the development of learned vocalizations of songbirds. We sought to determine whether one action of androgens is to functionally modulate the development of synaptic transmission in two brain nuclei, the lateral part of the magn ... Full text Link to item Cite

Can an old bird change his tune?

Journal Article Curr Biol · September 23, 1999 The stereotyped courtship songs of 'age-limited' songbirds, which learn their songs during a specific early period of their lives, were once thought immutable, but recent studies suggest that their maintenance may actually rely on subtle cues provided by a ... Full text Link to item Cite

Long-range inhibition within the zebra finch song nucleus RA can coordinate the firing of multiple projection neurons.

Journal Article J Neurophysiol · June 1999 The zebra finch forebrain song control nucleus RA (robust nucleus of the archistriatum) generates a phasic and temporally precise neural signal that drives vocal and respiratory motoneurons during singing. RA's output during singing predicts individual not ... Full text Link to item Cite

Sensitive periods and circuits for learned birdsong.

Journal Article Curr Opin Neurobiol · February 1999 Experience influences the development of certain behaviors and their associated neural circuits during a discrete period after birth. Songbirds, with their highly quantifiable vocal output and well-delineated vocal control circuitry, provide an excellent c ... Full text Link to item Cite

Development of intrinsic and synaptic properties in a forebrain nucleus essential to avian song learning.

Journal Article J Neurosci · December 1, 1997 In male zebra finches, the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior neostriatum (LMAN) is necessary for the development of learned song but is not required for the production of acoustically stereotyped (crystallized) adult song. One hypothesis is tha ... Full text Link to item Cite

Bird song: of tone and tempo in the telencephalon.

Journal Article Curr Biol · May 1, 1997 Songbirds learn a new song by matching the sound they produce to a memorized model. A distributed central pattern-generating circuit has now been identified that governs song production; the new results have important implications for the way songs are lea ... Full text Link to item Cite

Thalamic relay of spontaneous retinal activity prior to vision.

Journal Article Neuron · November 1996 Before vision, retinal ganglion cells produce spontaneous waves of action potentials. A crucial question is whether this spontaneous activity is transmitted to lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) neurons. Using a novel in vitro preparation, we report that LGN ... Full text Link to item Cite

Behavioral learning. The illuminated songbird.

Journal Article Curr Biol · June 1, 1995 Recent studies of the neural mechanisms of avian song learning suggest that pathways for adult song production are distinct from those essential to juvenile song development. ... Full text Link to item Cite

The illuminated songbird

Journal Article Current Biology · 1995 Recent studies of the neural mechanisms of avian song learning suggest that pathways for adult song production are distinct from those essential to juvenile song development. ... Cite

Waiting periods versus early innervation: the development of axonal connections in the zebra finch song system.

Journal Article J Neurosci · November 1994 This study examines the development of two neural pathways within the zebra finch forebrain that function respectively in the juvenile acquisition and the adult production of learned song. In the adult male zebra finch forebrain, the song nuclei L-MAN and ... Full text Link to item Cite

Enhancement of transmission at the developing retinogeniculate synapse.

Journal Article Neuron · May 1993 Axon terminals from retinal ganglion cells in the left and right eyes initially overlap with each other in the lateral geniculate nucleus of the neonatal ferret, then segregate into eye-specific layers via an activity-dependent process. Brain slices were u ... Full text Link to item Cite

Synaptic basis for developmental plasticity in a birdsong nucleus.

Journal Article J Neurosci · July 1992 The development and adult production of birdsong are subserved by specialized brain nuclei, including the robust nucleus of the archistriatum (RA), and its afferents originating in the caudal nucleus of the ventral hyperstriatum (HVc) and the lateral porti ... Full text Link to item Cite

Two distinct inputs to an avian song nucleus activate different glutamate receptor subtypes on individual neurons.

Journal Article Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A · May 15, 1991 Although neural circuits mediating various simple behaviors have been delineated, those generating more complex behaviors are less well described. The discrete structure of avian song control nuclei promises that circuits controlling complex behaviors, suc ... Full text Link to item Cite

Neurobiology of bird song: circuits, synapses, and development

Journal Article Discussions in Neuroscience · February 1, 1991 Birdsong has many features that make it a useful system for studying vertebrate learning. Song is a complex motor behavior learned in distinct phases during the course of a young animal's life. This learning is experience-dependent: it is influenced by exa ... Cite

Pilot-loaded regulators. What you need to know

Journal Article Gas industries · November 1, 1989 There are two kinds of regulators that both control downstream pressure and upstream pressure. They are: A self-operated type, consisting of a spring diaphragm and restricting valve. Pilot-operated type that uses a high-gain pilot system to position a valv ... Cite