How to format your references using the Molecular Ecology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Molecular Ecology. 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
Rubin, A. E. (2012). Planetary science. Fragments of the lunar cataclysm. Science (New York, N.Y.), 336(6087), 1390–1391.
A journal article with 2 authors
Shin, D., & Cho, K.-H. (2013). Recurrent connections form a phase-locking neuronal tuner for frequency-dependent selective communication. Scientific Reports, 3, 2519.
A journal article with 3 authors
Savaldi-Goldstein, S., Peto, C., & Chory, J. (2007). The epidermis both drives and restricts plant shoot growth. Nature, 446(7132), 199–202.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Otsu, T., Ando, T., Takiguchi, Y., Ohtake, Y., Toyoda, H., & Itoh, H. (2014). Direct evidence for three-dimensional off-axis trapping with single Laguerre-Gaussian beam. Scientific Reports, 4, 4579.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Allan, D., & Bragg, N. (2012). 802.1aq Shortest Path Bridging Design and Evolution. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Guerrini, A. (2014). Water Management in Italy: Governance, Performance, and Sustainability (G. Romano, Ed.). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Swanson, G. T., & Sakai, R. (2009). Ligands for Ionotropic Glutamate Receptors. In N. Fusetani & W. Kem (Eds.), Marine Toxins as Research Tools (pp. 123–157). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

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 Molecular Ecology.

Blog post
Andrew, D. (2016, December 21). 9 Weird Psychological Reasons Someone Might Fall In Love With You. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from IFLScience website:


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. (1977). Handling of Bid Protests Involving Automatic Data Processing Equipment Procurements (No. B-158766). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Terrell, N. D. (2012). Exact solutions to combinatorial optimizations and the traveling baseball fan problem (Doctoral dissertation). California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, 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
Adkins, M. (2015, January 11). Where Elmo’s People Shop. New York Times, p. MB3.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Rubin, 2012).
This sentence cites two references (Rubin, 2012; Shin & Cho, 2013).

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

  • Two authors: (Shin & Cho, 2013)
  • Three authors: (Savaldi-Goldstein, Peto, & Chory, 2007)
  • 6 or more authors: (Otsu et al., 2014)

About the journal

Full journal titleMolecular Ecology
AbbreviationMol. Ecol.
ISSN (print)0962-1083
ISSN (online)1365-294X
ScopeEcology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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