Olfaction in the Zebra Finch ( Taeniopygia guttata): What Is Known and Further Perspectives
We here review the role of olfaction in the Zebra Finch, a key avian model species. We summarize the use of olfaction in social communication and in nonsocial contexts; its impact in addition to other senses throughout life; and how olfaction is involved in kin recognition, mate choice, and inbreeding avoidance. Afterward we explore the mechanisms of the olfactory signal and potential ways of signal production. We review olfactory signal production in avian species, the influences from the genome, and potential impact of skin microbes on scent production. This is followed by a paragraph on the perception and processing of the olfactory signal, from olfactory receptor genes, the olfactory bulb to the neural pathways in the songbird brain. Finally, we summarize several methods to examine olfaction in Zebra Finches on both, the behavioral level as well as on the chemical structural level. Based on the reviewed contents, we provide an outlook to future directions of each of the research fields to gather a further understanding of the use and the function as well as of the underlying mechanisms of olfaction in the Zebra Finch.