How to format your references using the Ecology Letters citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Ecology Letters. 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
Stivers, J.T. (2004). Comment on “Uracil DNA glycosylase activity is dispensable for immunoglobulin class switch.” Science, 306, 2042; author reply 2042.
A journal article with 2 authors
Finke, D.L. & Snyder, W.E. (2008). Niche partitioning increases resource exploitation by diverse communities. Science, 321, 1488–1490.
A journal article with 3 authors
Spranger, S., Bao, R. & Gajewski, T.F. (2015). Melanoma-intrinsic β-catenin signalling prevents anti-tumour immunity. Nature, 523, 231–235.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Chen, X., Hiller, M., Sancak, Y. & Fuller, M.T. (2005). Tissue-specific TAFs counteract Polycomb to turn on terminal differentiation. Science, 310, 869–872.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Center for Chemical Process Safety. (2007). Guidelines for Safe and Reliable Instrumented Protective Systems. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Peacock, W.F. (Ed.). (2012). Short Stay Management of Acute Heart Failure. Contemporary Cardiology. 2nd ed. 2012. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ.
A chapter in an edited book
Zimmermann, R.J. (2008). Equity Considerations in the Access to Higher Education in Central and Eastern Europe. In: Education and Social Inequality in the Global Culture (eds. Zajda, J., Biraimah, K. & Gaudelli, W.). Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp. 71–83.

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 Letters.

Blog post
Andrew, E. (2014). What Your Date Of Birth Says About Your Personality. IFLScience. Available at: Last accessed 30 October 2018.


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. (1972). Administration of the Head Start Program by the Mountain Community Action Program, Inc ( No. B-164031(1)). 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
Mehmeti, A. (2010). Intensive dramaturgical research facilitated the creation of the character Soran Saleen in “The Poetry of Pizza.” 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
Kishkovsky, S. (2008). Russian Takes Critical Tone On Economy. New York Times, A14.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Stivers 2004).
This sentence cites two references (Stivers 2004; Finke & Snyder 2008).

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

  • Two authors: (Finke & Snyder 2008)
  • Three or more authors: (Chen et al. 2005)

About the journal

Full journal titleEcology Letters
AbbreviationEcol. Lett.
ISSN (print)1461-023X
ISSN (online)1461-0248
ScopeEcology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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