Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Michelle Tomaszycki


Songbirds are particularly susceptible to stress during the sensitive period for song learning. Thus the developmental stress hypothesis (DSH) proposes that adult song reflects a male's early life environment during this period. Nutritional stress (NS) has been shown to cause deficits in song learning and adult song output that are salient to females. Female song birds consistently prefer control males over those raised under NS, yet the effects NS on females are still unclear. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) has been implicated in this process. However, evidence directly linking HPA functioning to the deficits due to NS have inconsistently shown elevations in CORT. Additionally, the effects of early NS on the juvenile period are understudied. The present studies explored the effects of a period of NS early in life on behavior, as well hormonal and neural processes, in both juvenile and adult zebra finches of both sexes.