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
Grayson, M. 2011. Biofuels. Nature 474:S1.
A journal article with 2 authors
Sun, Z.-W., and C. D. Allis. 2002. Ubiquitination of histone H2B regulates H3 methylation and gene silencing in yeast. Nature 418:104–108.
A journal article with 3 authors
Chen, M., J. W. McCauley, and K. J. Hemker. 2003. Shock-induced localized amorphization in boron carbide. Science (New York, N.Y.) 299:1563–1566.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Blandin, S. A., R. Wang-Sattler, M. Lamacchia, J. Gagneur, G. Lycett, Y. Ning, E. A. Levashina, et al. 2009. Dissecting the genetic basis of resistance to malaria parasites in Anopheles gambiae. Science (New York, N.Y.) 326:147–150.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Huang, H. K. 2005. PACS and Imaging Informatics. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Martinez-Vazquez, J., and B. Searle, eds. 2007. Fiscal Equalization: Challenges in the Design of Intergovernmental Transfers. Springer US, Boston, MA.
A chapter in an edited book
Alós-Ferrer, C., and K. Ritzberger. 2016. Extensive Forms. Pages 99–130 in K. Ritzberger, ed. The Theory of Extensive Form Games, Springer Series in Game Theory. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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. 2015. Seahorses’ Tails May Inspire Future Robotics. 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. 2009. Teacher Quality: Survey Results of State Officials on Efforts to Coordinate Teacher Quality Initiatives (GAO-09-594SP, July 2009), an E-supplement to GAO-09-593 (No. GAO-09-594SP). 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
Canetta, S. E. 2010. Type III Neuregulin1 Signaling in Peripheral Sensory Neurons Affects Thermal Pain Sensation and Hyperalgesia (Doctoral dissertation). Columbia University, New York, NY.

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
Dominus, I. by S. 2014. ‘You Have to Keep Putting Yourself Out There.’ New York Times, p. MM14.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Grayson 2011).
This sentence cites two references (Sun and Allis 2002; Grayson 2011).

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

  • Two authors: (Sun and Allis 2002)
  • Three or more authors: (Blandin et al. 2009)

About the journal

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

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