How to format your references using the Plant Ecology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Plant 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
Leigh GJ (2003) Chemistry. So that’s how it’s done--maybe. Science 301:55–56
A journal article with 2 authors
Politi Y, Weaver JC (2015) Biomineralization. Built for tough conditions. Science 347:712–713
A journal article with 3 authors
Long SB, Campbell EB, Mackinnon R (2005) Voltage sensor of Kv1.2: structural basis of electromechanical coupling. Science 309:903–908
A journal article with 4 or more authors
He H, Wang Y, Ma Q, Ma J, Chu B, Ji D, Tang G, Liu C, Zhang H, Hao J (2014) Mineral dust and NOx promote the conversion of SO2 to sulfate in heavy pollution days. Sci Rep 4:4172

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bobrow J, Kohn E, Mondragon-Gilmore J, Eggenschwiler J (2009) CliffsNotes® Praxis I®: PPST®. Wiley Publishing, Inc., Hoboken, NJ
An edited book
Giambene G (ed) (2007) Resource Management in Satellite Networks: Optimization and Cross-Layer Design. Springer US, Boston, MA
A chapter in an edited book
Vacano B von, Motzkus M (2010) Photonic Integration Enables Single-Beam Nonlinear Spectroscopy for Microscopy and Microanalytics. In: Hall TJ, Gaponenko SV, Paredes SA (eds) Extreme Photonics & Applications. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp 57–73

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 Plant Ecology.

Blog post
Andrew E (2014) NASA Scientists Create Biodegradable Fungus Drone. In: IFLScience. Accessed 30 Oct 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 (1983) Need To Improve Management of ACDA’s Automatic Data Processing and Operations Analysis Functions. 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
Obakhume DA (2013) An aftercare program for female survivors of domestic abuse: A grant proposal. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach

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
Billard M (2012) From the Mosh Pit To a Life in Balance. New York Times E11

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Leigh 2003).
This sentence cites two references (Leigh 2003; Politi and Weaver 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Politi and Weaver 2015)
  • Three or more authors: (He et al. 2014)

About the journal

Full journal titlePlant Ecology
AbbreviationPlant Ecol.
ISSN (print)1385-0237
ISSN (online)1573-5052
ScopePlant Science

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