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
Shepherd, G. M. 2006. Smell images and the flavour system in the human brain. Nature 444:316–321.
A journal article with 2 authors
Mesterton-Gibbons, M., and E. S. Adams. 2002. Behavioral ecology. The economics of animal cooperation. Science (New York, N.Y.) 298:2146–2147.
A journal article with 3 authors
Zhao, J., A. S. Goldman, and J. F. Hartwig. 2005. Oxidative addition of ammonia to form a stable monomeric amido hydride complex. Science (New York, N.Y.) 307:1080–1082.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Drake, J. F., M. Swisdak, H. Che, and M. A. Shay. 2006. Electron acceleration from contracting magnetic islands during reconnection. Nature 443:553–556.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lemma, A. 2008. Introduction to the Practice of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, West Sussex, England.
An edited book
Vos, R. 2015. Introduction to Transonic Aerodynamics. Page (S. Farokhi, Ed.). Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.
A chapter in an edited book
Bonifacio, E., and A. Morte. 2014. Soil Properties. Pages 57–67 in V. Kagan-Zur, N. Roth-Bejerano, Y. Sitrit, and A. Morte, editors. Desert Truffles: Phylogeny, Physiology, Distribution and Domestication. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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
Andrew, E. 2015, January 10. Are Quantum Dot TVs – And Their Toxic Ingredients – Actually Better For The Environment? 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. 1998. School Finance: State and Federal Efforts to Target Poor Students. 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
Marcheschi, R. L. 2010. Knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding individuals with epilepsy by marriage and family therapists and social workers. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

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
Smith, M., R. Pérez-Peña, and J. E. Bromwich. 2016, November 2. Iowa Man Surrenders After Two Police Officers Are Ambushed Overnight. New York Times:A15.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Shepherd 2006).
This sentence cites two references (Mesterton-Gibbons and Adams 2002, Shepherd 2006).

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

  • Two authors: (Mesterton-Gibbons and Adams 2002)
  • Three or more authors: (Drake et al. 2006)

About the journal

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

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