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
Colegrave, N. (2002). Sex releases the speed limit on evolution. Nature, 420, 664–666.
A journal article with 2 authors
Victor, D.G. & Leape, J.P. (2015). Global climate agreement: After the talks. Nature, 527, 439–441.
A journal article with 3 authors
Shen, B., Makley, D.M. & Johnston, J.N. (2010). Umpolung reactivity in amide and peptide synthesis. Nature, 465, 1027–1032.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Bergeron, D.E., Castleman, A.W., Jr, Morisato, T. & Khanna, S.N. (2004). Formation of Al13I-: evidence for the superhalogen character of Al13. Science, 304, 84–87.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Guinebretière, R. (2010). X-ray Diffraction by Polycrystalline Materials. ISTE, London, UK.
An edited book
Storch, E.A. & Lewin, A.B. (Eds.). (2016). Clinical Handbook of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders: A Case-Based Approach to Treating Pediatric and Adult Populations. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Galdi, V., Castaldi, G., Fiumara, V., Pierro, V., Pinto, I.M. & Felsen, L.B. (2006). High-Frequency/Short-Pulse Wave Dynamics in Ray-Chaotic Scenarios: A Survey. In: Complex Computing-Networks: Brain-like and Wave-oriented Electrodynamic Algorithms, Springer Proceedings in Physics (eds. Göknar, İ.C. & Sevgi, L.). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 37–43.

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
Carpineti, A. (2015). Scientists Figure Out Why High Intensity Training Can Be As Effective As Longer Exercise. 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. (2007). Transportation Accessibility: Lack of Data and Limited Enforcement Options Limit Federal Oversight ( No. GAO-07-1126). 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
Ramotar-John, B.P. (2014). Supplementing soybean meal with Camelina (Camelina sativa) in tilapia diets and optimizing commercial tilapia diets for use in intensive systems in the Western region of the United States. Doctoral dissertation. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

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
Semple, K. & Chen, D.W. (2015). In Skelos Case, a Son Whose Life Seemed to Lose Traction Early. New York Times, A1.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Colegrave 2002).
This sentence cites two references (Colegrave 2002; Victor & Leape 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Victor & Leape 2015)
  • Three or more authors: (Bergeron et al. 2004)

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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