CIE Spotlight: Energy expenditure and personality in wild chipmunks

Vincent C.

Vincent C.

TitleEnergy expenditure and personality in wild chipmunks

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


Brief summary of the 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.