How to format your references using the The American Naturalist citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for The American Naturalist. 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
DeBaun, M. R. 2014. Perspective: thinking beyond survival. Nature 515:S16.
A journal article with 2 authors
Yamagata, M., and J. R. Sanes. 2008. Dscam and Sidekick proteins direct lamina-specific synaptic connections in vertebrate retina. Nature 451:465–469.
A journal article with 3 authors
Peng, L., Z.-G. Song, and S.-C. Jiao. 2014. Efficacy analysis of tyrosine kinase inhibitors on rare non-small cell lung cancer patients harboring complex EGFR mutations. Scientific reports 4:6104.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Badge, I., A. Y. Stark, E. L. Paoloni, P. H. Niewiarowski, and A. Dhinojwala. 2014. The role of surface chemistry in adhesion and wetting of gecko toe pads. Scientific reports 4:6643.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Wen, S., and P. Huang. 2017. Principles of Tribology. John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd., Singapore.
An edited book
Kaskutas, L. A., and M. Galanter, eds. 2008. Recent Developments in Alcoholism: Research on Alcoholics Anonymous and Spirituality in Addiction Recovery. Recent Developments in Alcoholism (Vol. 18). Springer, New York, NY.
A chapter in an edited book
Reicher, S., S. A. Haslam, M. Platow, and N. Steffens. 2016. Tyranny and Leadership. Pages 71–87 in S. McKeown, R. Haji, and N. Ferguson, eds. Understanding Peace and Conflict Through Social Identity Theory: Contemporary Global Perspectives, Peace Psychology Book Series. Springer International Publishing, Cham.

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 The American Naturalist.

Blog post
Andrew, D. 2017. Why Bad Moods Are Good For You: The Surprising Benefits Of Sadness. IFLScience. IFLScience.


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. 2007. Environmental Satellite Acquisitions: Progress and Challenges (No. GAO-07-1099T). 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
Chahine, J. 2013. Social workers’ perceptions of individuals who use drugs and alcohol problematically (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
Wagner, J. 2017. Beleaguered Bullpen Falters Again Even as Harvey Makes Progress. New York Times, p. B11.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (DeBaun 2014).
This sentence cites two references (Yamagata and Sanes 2008; DeBaun 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Yamagata and Sanes 2008)
  • Three or more authors: (Badge et al. 2014)

About the journal

Full journal titleThe American Naturalist
AbbreviationAm. Nat.
ISSN (print)0003-0147
ISSN (online)1537-5323
ScopeEcology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Other styles