Individual variation and repeatability of basal metabolism in the bank vole, Clethrionomys glareolus

Marta K. Labocha , Edyta T. Sadowska , Katarzyna Baliga , Aleksandra K. Semer , Paweł Koteja

Abstract

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is a fundamental energetic trait and has been measured in hundreds of birds and mammals. Nevertheless, little is known about the consistency of the population–average BMR or its repeatability at the level of individual variation. Here, we report that average mass–independent BMR did not differ between two generations of bank voles or between two trials separated by one month. Individual differences in BMR were highly repeatable across the one month interval: the coefficient of intraclass correlation was 0.70 for absolute log–transformed values and 0.56 for mass–independent values. Thus, BMR can be a meaningful measure of an individual physiological characteristic and can be used to test hypotheses concerning relationships between BMR and other traits. On the other hand, mass–independent BMR did not differ significantly across families, and the coefficient of intraclass correlation for full sibs did not differ from zero, which suggests that heritability of BMR in voles is not high.