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
Perez, F. (2015). Cell biology: Organelles under light control. Nature, 518(7537), 41–42.
A journal article with 2 authors
Wilberg, M. J., & Miller, T. J. (2007). Comment on “Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services.” Science (New York, N.Y.), 316(5829), 1285; author reply 1285.
A journal article with 3 authors
Hillenbrand, R., Taubner, T., & Keilmann, F. (2002). Phonon-enhanced light matter interaction at the nanometre scale. Nature, 418(6894), 159–162.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Numata, T., Ikeuchi, Y., Fukai, S., Suzuki, T., & Nureki, O. (2006). Snapshots of tRNA sulphuration via an adenylated intermediate. Nature, 442(7101), 419–424.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Mariño, P. P. (2016). Optimization of Computer Networks - Modeling and Algorithms. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Lewis, G. A., Poernomo, I., & Hofmeister, C. (Eds.). (2009). Component-Based Software Engineering: 12th International Symposium, CBSE 2009 East Stroudsburg, PA, USA, June 24-26, 2009 Proceedings. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
van der Lans, A. (2013). Enterprise Content Management (ECM): The Unstructured Part. In P. Baan (Ed.), Enterprise Information Management: When Information Becomes Inspiration (pp. 125–148). New York, NY: 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
Fang, J. (2015, October 15). Fossils Reveal That Modern Humans Were Living In China 20,000 Years Before We Thought They Left Africa. 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. (2008). Transportation Security: TSA Has Developed a Risk-Based Covert Testing Program, but Could Better Mitigate Aviation Security Vulnerabilities Identified Through Covert Tests (No. GAO-08-958). 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
Savvas, C. (2010). Hydroclimate variability and landuse effects on nutrient export from watersheds in the mid-Atlantic United States (Doctoral dissertation). University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

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
Anderson, J. (2017, March 2). A Palestinian Hip-Hop Film. From Israel. New York Times, p. AR14.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Perez, 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Perez, 2015; Wilberg & Miller, 2007).

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

  • Two authors: (Wilberg & Miller, 2007)
  • Three authors: (Hillenbrand, Taubner, & Keilmann, 2002)
  • 6 or more authors: (Numata, Ikeuchi, Fukai, Suzuki, & Nureki, 2006)

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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