Western University PsychologyFaculty of Social Science

David Sherry

Dr. David Sherry

Cognitive, Developmental and Brain Sciences

Email: sherry@uwo.ca
Office: SSC 9214
Tel: 519-661-2111 ext. 84659
Curriculum Vitae

  • Bio

  • Publications

  • Research

Biographical Information

B.Sc. - McMaster University (1972)
M.A. - University of Toronto (1974)
Ph.D. - University of Toronto (1978)

NSERC-NATO Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford (1978-1980)
NSERC University Research Fellow, University of Toronto (1980-1985)
Assistant Professor, University of Toronto (1985-1988)
Associate Professor, University of Toronto (1988-1990)
Visiting Professor, University of Western Ontario (1990-1993)
Professor, University of Western Ontario (1993 - present)
Adjunct Professor, Dept of Zoology University of Western Ontario (1994 - present)

Areas of Research
Animal cognition
Neurobiology of memory
Evolution of behaviour

Selected Publications

Barrett, M.C. & Sherry, D.F. (in press). Consolidation and reconsolidation of memory in the Black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). Behavioral Neuroscience.

Feeney, M.C., Roberts, W.A. & Sherry, D.F. (2011). Black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) anticipate future outcomes of foraging choices. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes. 37, 30-40.

Feeney, M.C., Roberts, W.A. & Sherry, D.F. (2011). Mechanisms of what-where-when memory in black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus): Do chickadees remember “when”? Journal of Comparative Psychology, 125, 308-316.

Sherry, D.F. (2011) Citation classic: The hippocampus of food-storing birds. Brain Behavior and Evolution, 78, 133-135.

Sherry, D.F. & Hoshooley, J.S. (2010). Seasonal hippocampal plasticity in food-storing birds. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B Biological Sciences. 365, 933-943.

Sherry, D.F. (2009) Do ideas about function help in the study of causation? In: Bolhuis, J.J. and Verhulst, S. (eds.) Tinbergen’s Legacy (pp. 147-162) Cambridge University Press.

Sherry, D.F. & Hoshooley, J.S. (2009) The seasonal hippocampus of food-storing birds. Behavioural Processes 80, 334-338.

Sherry, D. F. (2009). Cognitive development in animals. In: J.A. Hogan & J.J. Bolhuis (Eds.) Causal Mechanisms of Behavioural Development. Paperback Edition. (pp. 289-299) Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK.

Feeney, M. C., Roberts, W.A. & Sherry, D.F. (2009) Memory for what, where and when in the black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). Animal Cognition 12, 767-777.

Boisvert, M.J., Veal, A.J. & Sherry, D.F. (2007) Floral reward production is timed by an insect pollinator Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B- Biological Sciences,274, 1831-1837.

Hoshooley, J.S. & Sherry, D.F. (2007) Greater hippocampal neuronal recruitment in food-storing than in non-food-storing birds. Developmental Neurobiology, 67, 406-414.

Hoshooley, J.S., Phillmore, L.S., Sherry, D.F. & MacDougall-Shackleton, S.A. (2007). Annual cycle of the black-capped chickadee: seasonality of food-storing and the hippocampus. Brain Behaviour and Evolution, 69, 161-168.

Sherry, D.F. & Hoshooley, J.S. (2007) The neurobiology of spatial ability. In: Otter, K. (ed.) Ecology and Behavior of Chickadees and Tits: An Integrated Approach (pp.9-23). Oxford University Press.

Sherry, D.F. , Pravosudov, V.V., MacDougall-Shackleton, S.A., Hoshooley, J.S., Phillmore, L.S. (2007). Proximate mechanisms in behavior and evolution. In: Otter, K. (ed.) Ecology and Behavior of Chickadees and Tits: An Integrated Approach (pp. 71-73) Oxford University Press.

Sherry, D.F. & Mitchell, J.B. (2007). The neuroethology of foraging. In: Stephens, D.W., Brown, J.S. & Ydenberg, R.C (eds.) Foraging (pp.61-102). University of Chicago Press.

Boisvert, M.J. & Sherry, D.F. (2006). Interval timing by an invertebrate, the bumble bee Bombus impatiens. Current Biology 16, 1636-1640.

Phillmore, L.S., Hoshooley, J.S., Sherry, D.F. & MacDougall-Shackleton, S. A. (2006) Annual cycle of the black-capped chickadee: seasonality of singing rates and vocal control brain regions. Journal of Neurobiology 6, 1002-1010.

Sherry, D.F. (2006) Neuroecology. In: Fiske, S.T., Schacter, D.L., & Zahn-Waxler (eds.). Annual Review of Psychology Vol 57 (pp.167-197) Chippewa Falls WI: Annual Reviews.

Sherry, D.F. (2005) Do ideas about function help in the study of causation? Animal Biology 55, 441-456.

Sherry, D.F. (2005). Brain and behaviour. In: Bolhuis, J.J. & Giraldeau, L. A. (eds.) The Behavior of Animals: Mechanism, Function, and Evolution. (pp. 97-118) Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Hoshooley, J.S. and Sherry, D.F. (2004). Neuron production, neuron number, and structure size are seasonally stable in the hippocampus of the food-storing black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). Behavioral Neuroscience, 118, 345-355.

Sherry, D.F. (2004). Asking 'how?' versus asking 'why?' Review of Why Men Won’t Ask for Directions by R.C. Francis. Cerebrum 6, 89 -98.

MacDougall-Shackleton, S.A., Sherry, D.F., Clark, A.P., Pinkus, R. & Hernandez, A.M. (2003). Photoperiodic regulation of food-storing and hippocampus volume in black-capped chickadees, Poecile atricapilla. Animal Behaviour, 65, 805-812.

Sherry, D.F. (2003). Konrad Lorenz. In: Byrne, J.H., Eichenbaum, H., Roediger, H.L. & Thompson, R.F. (eds.) Learning and Memory 2nd Ed. (pp. 355-356). New York: Macmillan.

Sherry, D.F. (2003). Evolution of learning. In: Byrne, J.H., Eichenbaum, H., Roediger, H.L. & Thompson, R.F. (eds.) Learning and Memory 2nd Ed. (pp. 137-140). New York: Macmillan.


Current Research

Much of the recent research of my students, colleagues, and I concerns the evolution and neurobiology of memory and spatial orientation. Work with food-storing black-capped chickadees and brood-parasitic brown-headed cowbirds examines spatial memory and the functional neuroanatomy of the avian hippocampus. Chickadees, nuthatches, jays, and other food-storing birds make thousands of concealed food caches and retrieve this hoarded food by remembering the locations of their caches. Female brown-headed cowbirds find potential host nests, remember their locations, and later lay their own eggs in these nests. Research with these birds is based on the idea that learning and memory consist of adaptive specializations for specific behavioural tasks, like food storing and brood parasitism. By examining the brain and behaviour of these birds we can observe how evolutionary change in memory and other cognitive functions occurs, and observe the relation between evolutionary change in behaviour and evolutionary change in the brain.

Neurogenesis in the Avian Hippocampus

The seasonal onset of food storing in black-capped chickadeesis accompanied by an increase in hippocampal neurogenesis. Although neurogenesis is well known in the avian song control system, and has been discovered in the mammalian hippocampus and cortex, its function is not fully understood. Ph.D. student Jennifer Hoshooley is examining the seasonal pattern of hippocampal neurogenesis in food storing birds.

Collaborative research with Anders Brodin of the Department of Theoretical Ecology, Lund University, Sweden is using imaging techniques to examine seasonal change in the hippocampus of food-storing birds and neural network modeling to the determine the influence of new neurons on adult neural networks. Supported by the Crafoord Foundation through the Brain, Mind and Behaviour group, Lund University.

Sex Differences in Brown-headed Cowbirds

Female cowbirds search for host nests but males do not. Our previous research showed that female brown-headed cowbirds have a larger hippocampus than males, a sex difference not found in other closely-related blackbirds. Ph.D. student Sara Lattanzio is examining the cognitive consequences of this sex difference in the brain, using touch screens to present female
and male cowbirds with a variety of cognitive tasks that may depend on hippocampal function.

Time Perception In Insects

Time is an abstract dimension that nevertheless influences a vast range of behaviour and cognitive processes. Many insect pollinators, for example, feed on nectar sources that vary in availability over time. Michael Boisvert, PhD, examined whether bumble bees are sensitive to the time intervals at which nectar is available. This research showed that bumble bees readily learn the duration of short time intervals in the seconds to minutes range, the first demonstration of interval timing by any invertebrate. Bumble bees were able to estimate the duration of time intervals with an accuracy comparable to that of birds and mammals and were able to respond appropriately to different time intervals that were in force simultaneously. The discovery of interval timing ability by bumble bees indicates that even relatively simple nervous systems can accurately measure the passage of time.

The above research projects are supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and by the University of Western Ontario Academic Development Fund.