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
Baker, M. (2010). Whole-animal imaging: Probe progress. Nature, 463, 979.
A journal article with 2 authors
Fallani, L. & Inguscio, M. (2008). Physics. Controlling cold-atom conductivity. Science, 322, 1480–1481.
A journal article with 3 authors
Seymour, R.S., White, C.R. & Gibernau, M. (2003). Environmental biology: heat reward for insect pollinators. Nature, 426, 243–244.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Nemani, R.R., Keeling, C.D., Hashimoto, H., Jolly, W.M., Piper, S.C., Tucker, C.J., et al. (2003). Climate-driven increases in global terrestrial net primary production from 1982 to 1999. Science, 300, 1560–1563.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Wright, J.R. & Cooper, J.E. (2014). Introduction to Aircraft Aeroelasticity and Loads. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Audet, C., Hansen, P. & Savard, G. (Eds.). (2005). Essays and Surveys in Global Optimization. Springer US, Boston, MA.
A chapter in an edited book
Prescher, D., Bornschein, J. & Weber, G. (2014). Production of Accessible Tactile Graphics. In: Computers Helping People with Special Needs: 14th International Conference, ICCHP 2014, Paris, France, July 9-11, 2014, Proceedings, Part II, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (eds. Miesenberger, K., Fels, D., Archambault, D., Peňáz, P. & Zagler, W.). Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 26–33.

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
Andrews, R. (2016). Pluto’s Heart Is A Young Radioactive Sea Of Flowing Nitrogen Icebergs. 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. (1978). Changes Needed in the Tax Laws Governing the Exclusion for Scholarships and Fellowships and the Deduction of Job-Related Educational Expenses ( No. GGD-78-72). 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
Alexander, R.T. (2017). Can the analytical hierarchy process model be effectively applied in the prioritization of information assurance defense in-depth measures? - a quantitative study. Doctoral dissertation. Capella University, Minneapolis, MN.

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
Greenhouse, L. (2007). Justices to Consider Impact of Mental Illness on Death Penalty. New York Times, A12.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Baker 2010).
This sentence cites two references (Fallani & Inguscio 2008; Baker 2010).

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

  • Two authors: (Fallani & Inguscio 2008)
  • Three or more authors: (Nemani et al. 2003)

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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