Justin Strong

MSc. Student

Contact Information

Department of Biology
Concordia University (Loyola Campus)
7141 Sherbrooke St. W. H4B 1R6
Montreal, QC, Canada
Office: SP301.16
Lab: SP434
(514) 848-2424 (ext. 4021)



2013 – Present:  MSc. Candidate, Biology at Concordia University, Montreal, QC
2010 – 2013:  BSc. Honours, Biology (Ecology & Conservation) at Memorial University of Newfoundland , St. John’s, NL

My Project

Personality, mating tactics, and reproductive success in subdominant male reindeer (Rangifer tarandus)


Individual behavioural tendencies that are consistent across time and context are referred to as animal personality. I am interested in exploring differences in subdominant male reindeer mating behaviour within the context of personality. Consistent differences in the propensity of subdominant males to attempt to gain access to sexually receptive females within a mating group when faced with agonistic pressure from the dominant male may reveal individual personality differences along a bold-shy continuum. Individual differences in boldness may be accompanied by consistent differences in somatic costs and reproductive success between males during the mating season. I will investigate my predictions that:

1) Personality will be consistent within and across years

2) Bolder individuals will incur greater somatic costs during the mating season

3) Bolder individuals will have higher reproductive success both within and across years, as they create more opportunity to copulate with estrous females who may be aggregated around the dominant male in the center of the mating group

Field Work

This research will take place at the Kutuharju Field Reindeer Research Station in Kaamanen, Finland (69°N, 27°E) using a semi-domesticated herd of reindeer, each fitted with VHF collars for individual identification. Data collection forms part of a long-term study of this reindeer herd with collaborators from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, The Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, and The Finnish Reindeer Herders Association.


I am aware of no studies that examine personality in reindeer, nor variation in subdominant male mating behaviour in this species. Using a semi-domesticated reindeer herd, I will:
1) Develop methods to assess the degree of individual boldness in subdominant male reindeer based on relative propensity to penetrate into a harem, using direct observation of subdominant males during the mating season
2) Examine patterns and consistency of boldness in subdominant male reindeer within and across years, within the context of mating tactics
3) Examine the energetic costs related to bold behaviour
4) Explore the relationship between boldness and reproductive success in subdominant male reindeer


  1. Strong, J. S., Weladji, R. B., Holand, O. (2013) The influence of male characteristics on mating behaviour and reproductive success in subdominant male reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). 38e congress annuel pour le Société Québéçoise pour l’Étude Biologique du Comportement, 8-10 Novembre, 2013, Montréal, Québec, Canada (Abstract, page 60; poster presentation)
  2. Strong, J. S., Weladji, R. B., Holand, O. (2013) The influence of male characteristics on mating behaviour and reproductive success in subdominant male reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). 4th annual Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science Symposium, December 11th-13th, 2013, Montréal, Québec, Canada (Abstract; poster presentation).
  3. Strong, J. S. (2013) Ecological significance of tooth breakage in coyotes (Canis latrans) in insular Newfoundland and New Brunswick. Memorial University of Newfoundland Biology Undergraduate Research Symposium 2013, March 23rd, 2013, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada (Abstract; oral presentation).