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
Short, R.V. (2000). Where do babies come from? Nature, 403, 705.
A journal article with 2 authors
Mendelsohn, M.E. & Karas, R.H. (2005). Molecular and cellular basis of cardiovascular gender differences. Science, 308, 1583–1587.
A journal article with 3 authors
McKinney, J.C., Tchekhovskoy, A. & Blandford, R.D. (2013). Alignment of magnetized accretion disks and relativistic jets with spinning black holes. Science, 339, 49–52.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Zhang, J.Z., Mordy, C.W., Gordon, L.I., Ross, A., Garcia, H.E., Pahlow, M., et al. (2000). Temporal trends in deep ocean redfield ratios. Science, 289, 1839a.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Armaroli, N. & Balzani, V. (2010). Energy for a Sustainable World. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany.
An edited book
Andres, E., Damiand, G. & Lienhardt, P. (Eds.). (2005). Discrete Geometry for Computer Imagery: 12th International Conference, DGCI 2005, Poitiers, France, April 13-15, 2005. Proceedings. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Mather, J.N. (2011). On the Homology of Haefliger’s Classifying Space. In: Differential Topology (ed. Villani, V.). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 71–116.

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. (2017). Stunning Images From The Underwater Photographer Of The Year 2017 Competition. 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. (1986). Contract Pricing: Subcontractor Prices Overstated on AN/TSQ-111 Communications Contract ( No. NSIAD-86-166). 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
Cooper, J. (2017). Numerical Modeling of Fluid Flow in a Porous Media Using Python. Doctoral dissertation. University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA.

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
McWHORTER, J. (2017). Patience Is a (Sexual) Virtue. New York Times, D10.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Short 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Short 2000; Mendelsohn & Karas 2005).

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

  • Two authors: (Mendelsohn & Karas 2005)
  • Three or more authors: (Zhang et al. 2000)

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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