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
Wentrup, C. (2001). Chemistry. Fleeting molecules extend their stay. Science, 292, 1846–1847.
A journal article with 2 authors
Trauger, J.T. & Traub, W.A. (2007). A laboratory demonstration of the capability to image an Earth-like extrasolar planet. Nature, 446, 771–773.
A journal article with 3 authors
Bao, S., Chan, V.T. & Merzenich, M.M. (2001). Cortical remodelling induced by activity of ventral tegmental dopamine neurons. Nature, 412, 79–83.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Yang, Z.-Y., Kong, W.-P., Huang, Y., Roberts, A., Murphy, B.R., Subbarao, K., et al. (2004). A DNA vaccine induces SARS coronavirus neutralization and protective immunity in mice. Nature, 428, 561–564.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Belliotti, R.A. (2011). Dante’s Deadly Sins. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK.
An edited book
Saeed, K. & Homenda, W. (Eds.). (2016). Computer Information Systems and Industrial Management: 15th IFIP TC8 International Conference, CISIM 2016, Vilnius, Lithuania, September 14-16, 2016, Proceedings. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Butusov, M. & Jernelöv, A. (2013). Silent Underground Life. In: Phosphorus: An Element that could have been called Lucifer, SpringerBriefs in Environmental Science (ed. Jernelöv, A.). Springer, New York, NY, pp. 23–35.

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
Hale, T. (2016). The “World’s Saddest Polar Bear” Lives In A Chinese Mall. 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. (1979). Data Base Management Systems--Without Careful Planning There Can Be Problems ( No. FGMSD-79-35). 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
Davis, J.A. (2011). Demobilizing the Minors: Examining Compliance with International Child Soldiering Laws. Doctoral dissertation. George Washington University, Washington, DC.

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. (2014). Tatiana Samoilova, 80, Soviet Movie Star. New York Times, B10.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Wentrup 2001).
This sentence cites two references (Wentrup 2001; Trauger & Traub 2007).

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

  • Two authors: (Trauger & Traub 2007)
  • Three or more authors: (Yang 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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