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
Chipman, A. (2007). London calling. Nature, 447, 367.
A journal article with 2 authors
Dey, S. & Joshi, A. (2006). Stability via asynchrony in Drosophila metapopulations with low migration rates. Science, 312, 434–436.
A journal article with 3 authors
Durham, W.M., Kessler, J.O. & Stocker, R. (2009). Disruption of vertical motility by shear triggers formation of thin phytoplankton layers. Science, 323, 1067–1070.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Goedert, J., Lécuyer, C., Amiot, R., Arnaud-Godet, F., Wang, X., Cui, L., et al. (2018). Euryhaline ecology of early tetrapods revealed by stable isotopes. Nature, 558, 68–72.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bacon, C.R. (2012). Practical Risk-Adjusted Performance Measurement. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Oxford, UK.
An edited book
Borja, R.I. (Ed.). (2011). Multiscale and Multiphysics Processes in Geomechanics: Resultsof the Workshop on Multiscale and Multiphysics Processes in Geomechanics, Stanford, June 23–25, 2010. Springer Series in Geomechanics and Geoengineering. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Lê, M., Unkelbach, J., Ayache, N. & Delingette, H. (2015). GPSSI: Gaussian Process for Sampling Segmentations of Images. In: Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention – MICCAI 2015: 18th International Conference, Munich, Germany, October 5-9, 2015, Proceedings, Part III, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (eds. Navab, N., Hornegger, J., Wells, W.M. & Frangi, A.F.). Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 38–46.

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. (2015). This Once-Stable Antarctic Region Has Suddenly Started Melting. 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. (1996). Telecommunications Network: NASA Could Better Manage Its Planned Consolidation ( No. AIMD-96-33). 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
Bissell, G.H. (2011). Working in the transference as a multicultural intervention. Doctoral dissertation. Pepperdine University, Malibu, 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
Walsh, M.W. (2015). Puerto Rico’s Debt Rescue Plan Is Being Called Into Question. New York Times, B5.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Chipman 2007).
This sentence cites two references (Dey & Joshi 2006; Chipman 2007).

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

  • Two authors: (Dey & Joshi 2006)
  • Three or more authors: (Goedert et al. 2018)

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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