Biology ETDs

Publication Date



Spermophilus lateralis, were trained to solve a black-white discrimination task in order to escape from a water filled tank. Following the attainment of criterion, the ground squirrels were trained on the reversal task of the original discrimination problem. Twenty-four hours after reaching criterion on the reversal training, all subjects were placed in a hibernaculum at 7-10 C for a period of 11 days. The animals were returned to the laboratory after the 11-day

cold exposure period, and 24 hr later were tested for retention of the learned behavior. The animals were returned to the hibernaculum for an additional 11 days of cold Exposure after which they were once again returned to the laboratory and 24 hr later were retested for retention of learned behavior.

The data analysis yielded an overall significant difference among the experimental groups in remembering the original discrimination. Those animals which hibernated were better able to recall newly acquired information. The data point to the possibility that the latency of onset of hibernation had an effect on the animal's retention of learned behavior.

Apparently those animals which did not enter hibernation experienced stimuli which could have interfered with the establishment of the memory trace. All evidence suggests that those animals which hibernated did not experience any disruption of the memory for the newly acquired learned behavior. The results indicate that hibernation may be of behavioral as well as physiological value.



Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Marvin L. Riedesel

Second Committee Member

J. David Ligon

Third Committee Member

Dennis M. Feeney

Fourth Committee Member

J. M. Rhodes

Included in

Biology Commons