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
Ruiz, J. 2014. The early heat loss evolution of Mars and their implications for internal and environmental history. Scientific reports 4:4338.
A journal article with 2 authors
Binder, P.-M., and R. M. Pipes. 2014. Applied mathematics: how chaos forgets and remembers. Nature 510:343–344.
A journal article with 3 authors
Tarduno, J. A., R. D. Cottrell, and A. V. Smirnov. 2001. High geomagnetic intensity during the mid-Cretaceous from Thellier analyses of single plagioclase crystals. Science (New York, N.Y.) 291:1779–1783.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
McClure, S. M., D. I. Laibson, G. Loewenstein, and J. D. Cohen. 2004. Separate neural systems value immediate and delayed monetary rewards. Science (New York, N.Y.) 306:503–507.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Stacey, W. M. 2010. Fusion. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany.
An edited book
Ziegler, A., H. Graafsma, X. F. Zhang, and J. W. M. Frenken, eds. 2014. In-situ Materials Characterization: Across Spatial and Temporal Scales. Springer Series in Materials Science (Vol. 193). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Tilkemeier, P. L. 2016. Accreditation and International Perspectives. Pages 37–47 in P. L. Tilkemeier, R. C. Hendel, G. V. Heller, and J. A. Case, eds. Quality Evaluation in Non-Invasive Cardiovascular Imaging. 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, E. 2014. Volunteer Discovers 70,000-Year-Old-Mammoth In Idaho Reservoir. 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. 1995. School Finance: Trends in U.S. Education Spending (No. HEHS-95-235). 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
Shetter, R. M. 2012. Assaulting the littorals: The development and evolution of a dedicated American amphibious assault force (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
Shpigel, B. 2017. Cowboys Have It All (Including, Somehow, a Losing Record). New York Times, p. B13.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Ruiz 2014).
This sentence cites two references (Binder and Pipes 2014; Ruiz 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Binder and Pipes 2014)
  • Three or more authors: (McClure et al. 2004)

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