Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 69, Issue 4, pp 653–661 | Cite as

Energy expenditure and personality in wild chipmunks

  • Vincent CareauEmail author
  • Pierre-Olivier Montiglio
  • Dany Garant
  • Fanie Pelletier
  • John R. Speakman
  • Murray M. Humphries
  • Denis Réale
Original Paper


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.


Doubly-labeled water FMR Pace of life Repeatability Temperament 



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.

Ethical standards

Animals were captured and handled following the protocol approved by the Animal Welfare Committee of Université de Sherbrooke and the Ministère des Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune du Québec.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent Careau
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pierre-Olivier Montiglio
    • 6
  • Dany Garant
    • 2
  • Fanie Pelletier
    • 2
  • John R. Speakman
    • 3
    • 4
  • Murray M. Humphries
    • 5
  • Denis Réale
    • 6
  1. 1.Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental ScienceDeakin UniversityWaurn PondsAustralia
  2. 2.Département de BiologieUniversité de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada
  3. 3.Institute of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK
  4. 4.State key laboratory of molecular developmental biology, institute of Genetics and Developmental biologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.Natural Resource SciencesMcGill UniversitySte-Anne-de-BellevueCanada
  6. 6.Département des Sciences BiologiquesUQAMMontréalCanada

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