Project 13

Effects of housing conditions and of individual differences in space use on hippocampal neuroplasticity

Supervisor: Anat Barnea
Project Description: Neuronal plasticity (i.e. neurogenesis and new neuronal recruitment) in the adult brain occurs in all vertebrates, and in the avian brain these phenomena are especially robust. Both internal (e.g. hormones, circadian cycle) and external (e.g. social and physical environments) factors affect these processes. Hence, neuronal plasticity might be used as a measure for animal welfare. In the egg industry, housing conditions in which birds are raised and kept have major effects on stress and stress responsivity. This proposed project will investigate how housing conditions and individual differences in space use affect neuronal plasticity in their brain, especially in the hippocampus, which is known to regulate stress response.