How to format your references using the Ecology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Ecology. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Bainbridge, W. S. 2003. Perceptions of science essay. Privacy and property on the Net: research questions. Science (New York, N.Y.) 302:1686–1687.
A journal article with 2 authors
Farmer, J. D., and D. Foley. 2009. The economy needs agent-based modelling. Nature 460:685–686.
A journal article with 3 authors
Cochran, E. S., J. E. Vidale, and S. Tanaka. 2004. Earth tides can trigger shallow thrust fault earthquakes. Science (New York, N.Y.) 306:1164–1166.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Loh, W., S. Yegnanarayanan, R. J. Ram, and P. W. Juodawlkis. 2014. A nonlinear optoelectronic filter for electronic signal processing. Scientific reports 4:3613.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Douglas, J., and E. A. Noy. 2010. Building Surveys and Reports. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK.
An edited book
Reis, R., Y. Cao, and G. Wirth, editors. 2015. Circuit Design for Reliability. Springer, New York, NY.
A chapter in an edited book
Dudley, A. C., E. W. Cloer, and J. M. Melero-Martin. 2012. The Role of Bone Marrow-Derived Progenitor Cells in Tumor Growth and Angiogenesis. Pages 45–54 in M. A. Hayat, editor. Stem Cells and Cancer Stem Cells, Volume 8: Therapeutic Applications in Disease and Injury. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for Ecology.

Blog post
Fang, J. 2015, September 14. Costa Rican Surge In Snakebites Linked To El Niño Cycles. IFLScience.


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. 1977. Problems in the Federal Funding of School Bus Driver Training Programs. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
James, M. 2014. Numerical Study of Plateau-Rayleigh Instability. Doctoral dissertation, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Herrman, J. 2016, August 24. Blue State. New York Times:MM50.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Bainbridge 2003).
This sentence cites two references (Bainbridge 2003, Farmer and Foley 2009).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Farmer and Foley 2009)
  • Three or more authors: (Loh et al. 2014)

About the journal

Full journal titleEcology
ISSN (print)0012-9658
ScopeEcology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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