Energy expenditure and personality in wild chipmunks

Vincent Careau*, Pierre-Olivier Montiglio, Dany Garant, Fanie Pelletier, John R. Speakman, Murray M. Humphries, Denis Reale

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


According to the "pace-of-life syndrome" concept, slow-fast life-history strategies favored under different ecological conditions should lead to co-adaptations between metabolic rate and personality traits such as activity, exploration, and boldness. Although the relationships between resting metabolic rate (RMR) and personality traits have been recently tested several times, we still do not know whether personality is related to the daily energy expenditure (DEE) of free-living individuals in their natural habitat. The objectives of this study were to assess the links between RMR, DEE, and two personality traits (exploration in an open-field and docility during handling) in wild eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus). Using a multivariate mixed model, we found that exploration and docility were significantly correlated at the among-individual level, confirming the presence of a behavioral syndrome within our population. We also found that exploration, but not docility, was negatively correlated with DEE. Hence, fast explorers show lower DEE levels than slow explorers, independently of RMR and docility. This result adds to an increasingly large (and complex) literature reporting the impacts of personality traits on the biology, ecology, and physiology of animals in their natural environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-661
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number4
Early online date31 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

We are grateful to the Ruiter Valley Land Trust for allowing us to conduct this research on their property. We thank Z. Boratyński and K. Zub for constructive criticism. We thank P. Bourgault, J.P. Boyer, M. Descôteaux, R. Morin, A. Thomas, M. Landry-Cuerrier, and all field assistants and coordinators who have helped to collect the data. This research was supported by a Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies (FQRNT) team grant, by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) discovery grants to Don Thomas, MMH, DR, DG, and FP, and by Canada Research Chair funds to DR and FP. VC and POM were funded by NSERC and FQRNT doctoral scholarships, respectively. We wish to thank the late Don Thomas for his invaluable contribution to this project.


  • Doubly-labeledwater
  • FMR
  • Pace of life
  • Repeatability
  • Temperament
  • doubly-labeled water
  • basal metabolic-rate
  • ranging Eastern chipmunks
  • American red squirrels
  • open-field behavior
  • tamias-striatus
  • exploratory-behavior
  • individual variation
  • muroid rodents
  • life-history


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