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In mammals, episodic memory and spatial cognition involve context-specific recruitment of unique ensembles in the hippocampal formation (HF). Despite their capacity for sophisticated spatial (e.g., for migration) and episodic-like (e.g., for food-caching) memory, the mechanisms underlying contextual representation in birds is not well understood. Here we demonstrate environment-specific Egr1 expression as male brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) navigate environments for food reward, showing that the avian HF, like its mammalian counterpart, recruits distinct neuronal ensembles to represent different contexts.
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Grella, S.L., Guigueno, M.F., White, D.J., Sherry, D.F., & Marrone, D.F. (2016). Context dependent Egr1 expression in the avian hippocampal formation. PLOS ONE 11, e0164333.