Charline Couchoux

Université du Québec à Montréal
Ph.D. candidate

Supervisor: Denis Réale
Dany Garant
Start: 2012-01-09
End: 2018-05-01
Personal page


Personality, relatedness and vocal communication in the eastern chipmunk
Kin selection theory explains why an individual would take a risk of signalling the presence of a predator, stating that alarm calls can evolve if they convey an adaptive advantage to the caller's relatives (i.e. survival). However, even though this hypothesis rests upon individuals' abilities to recognize their kin and to adjust their behaviours accordingly, studies investigating the complexity of vocal communication by taking into account individual differences in emission and responses to alarm signals are quite scarce. Those questions are however of particular interest with the recent emergence of animal personalities, a concept referring to consistent behavioural differences that exist between individuals, which have been showed to play an important role in many ecological patterns and processes. The personality of individuals involved in a communication system could therefore highly influence their behaviours related to the emission and the response to the received signals. Indeed, recent theoretical models demonstrated the possible evolution of a link between communication and personality, through the existence of individual differences in the production and the interpretation of the signals. My project combines field experiments with long-term observations and genetic analyses, to study the effects of relatedness between individuals and of personality differences on the emission of alarm calls and on anti-predator behaviours in a charismatic rodent, the eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus), in a Southern Québec reserve.


Ecologie comportementale/Behavioural ecology, Personnalité animale/Animal personality, Communication sonore/Vocal communication, Cris d alarme/Alarm calling, Tamia rayé/Eastern chipmunk


1- Variation of mutual colour ornaments of king penguins in response to winter resource availability
Keddar, Ismaël, Pierre Jouventin, Charline Couchoux, F. Stephen Dobson
2015 Behaviour

2- Acoustic cues to individual identity in the rattle calls of common blackbirds: a potential for individual recognition through multi-syllabic vocalisations emitted in both territorial and alarm contexts
Couchoux, Charline, Torben Dabelsteen
2015 Behaviour

3- The invisible cues that guide king penguin chicks home. The use of magnetic and acoustic cues during orientation and short-range navigation
Nesterova, A. P., J. Chiffard, C. Couchoux, F. Bonadonna
2013 Journal of Experimental Biology

4- The biogeography of Gentoo Penguins (Pygoscelis papua)
de Dinechin, Marc, F. Stephen Dobson, Pavel Zehtindjiev, Roumiana Metcheva, Charline Couchoux, Alice Martin, Petra Quillfeldt, Pierre Jouventin
2012 Canadian Journal of Zoology

5- Personality constraints versus flexible antipredation behaviors: how important is boldness in risk management of redshanks (Tringa totanus) foraging in a natural system?
Couchoux, C., W. Cresswell
2011 Behavioral Ecology

6- Sexual Selection on a Coloured Ornament in King Penguins
Dobson, F. Stephen, Charline Couchoux, Pierre Jouventin
2011 Ethology

7- Species, Gender, and Identity: Cracking Petrels' Sociochemical Code
Mardon, J., S. M. Saunders, M. J. Anderson, C. Couchoux, F. Bonadonna
2010 Chemical Senses

8- UV signals in penguins
Jouventin, Pierre, Charline Couchoux, F. Stephen Dobson
2009 Polar Biology

9- Spying on small wildlife sounds using affordable collar-mounted miniature microphones: an innovative method to record individual daylong vocalisations in chipmunks
Couchoux, Charline, Maxime Aubert, Dany Garant, Denis Réale
2015 Scientific Reports

10- Mate Choice and Colored Beak Spots of King Penguins
Keddar, Ismaël, Sophie Altmeyer, Charline Couchoux, Pierre Jouventin, F. Stephen Dobson,
2015 Ethology