Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Program Name/Specialization

Behavioural Neuroscience


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Noam Miller

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Diano F Marrone

Advisor Role



Across Mammalia, memory has long been dissociated into multiple component systems specialized to process specific facets of experience. Among these segregated systems, declarative memory is processed by the hippocampus and surrounding structures, which have collectively been referred to as the hippocampal declarative memory system (HDMS). The HDMS, in turn, can be further divided into parallel streams dedicated to the processing of spatial versus object identity based information, commonly discussed as the ‘what’ and ‘where’ streams. While we know that the organization of the HDMS is conserved in humans, nonhuman primates, and rats, evidence outside Mammalia is lacking. Here HDMS homology is tested in Aves, a class known to have sophisticated memory abilities. This dissertation first adapts testing methods well established for dissociating spatial and object recognition in mammals and validates them in multiple avian species (Chapter 2). These methods are then applied to birds undergoing selective lesions along either the mediolateral (Chapter 3) or rostrocaudal (Chapter 4) extent of the HDMS. These data then permit an update of the known functions of the sub-regions of the avian HDMS (Chapter 5). In summary, these data suggest that most of the key features of the mammalian HDMS, including the existence of anatomically separated hierarchical processing streams for object and spatial information, as well as eventual convergence of this information in the hippocampal formation, is conserved across at least these two classes. Given the great survival value of the ability to identify the ‘whats’ and ‘wheres’ within an environment, this homology may not be surprising. In fact, the HDMS may be conserved across much of the animal kingdom.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season