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Potomac State College

BIOL 298C- Honors Biology

Tips for Citing in Ecology Style

Your instructor has asked that you cite the journal articles you find in the style of journals published by the Ecological Society of America, aka Ecology style.

Since you're only going to be citing journal articles, let's keep it simple for you. This is literally all you need to know.

For your in-text citations:

  • For in-text citations, the references are not numbered (as in Chicago note-bibliography or some other styles), but instead, you list the author(s) last name(s) and the year of publication, e.g. (Wilcox 1980) for an article authored solely by Gerald Wilcox.
  • Citations to articles by two authors should be listed with the authors last names separated by "and" and then the year of publication, e.g. (Wilcox and DeCosta 1990) for an article authored by John DeCosta and Gerald Wilcox.
  • Citations to articles by three or more authors should be listed with the first author's last name, and the other authors abbreviated as "et al.", e.g. (DeCosta et al. 1983) for an article authored by John DeCosta, Anthony Janicki, Greg Shellito, and Gerald Wilcox.

Your References List:

  • References should be listed in alphabetical order by the first author's last name and the journal title should be unabbreviated. The journal name should be italicized and the volume number should be in bold.
  • Authors should be listed surname first, followed by a comma and initials of given names. If there are multiple authors, the authors after the first author are listed initials first and surname second, e.g. DeCosta, J., A. Janicki, G. Shellito, and G. Wilcox.

Examples of citations in the reference list:

DeCosta, J., A. Janicki, G. Shellito, and G. Wilcox. 1983. The effect of phosphorous additions in enclosures on the phytoplankton and zooplankton on an acid lake. Oikos 40:283-294.

DeCosta, J., and G. R. Wilcox. 1990. The effects of Anabaena flos-aquae inoculation, pH elevation, and N/P manipulation on the algal biomass and species composition of an acid lake. Hydrobiologia 202:85-104.

Wilcox, G. R. 1980. The effect of nutrient addition, pH manipulation, and blue-green alga innoculation on algal blooms and species composition on an acidic lake. PhD thesis, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA.

Some online journals, such as PLoS Biology, do not have traditional pagination. You should follow whatever the journal provides as a pagination (usually a single page or article identification number). Ecology style does not require you to provide a URL for online journals, unlike APA or MLA. Here are a few examples:

Holliday, C. M., and N. M. Gardner. 2012. A new eusuchian crocodyliform with novel cranial integument and its significance for the origin and evolution of Crocodylia. PLoS ONE 7:e30471.

Larabee, F. J., A. A. Smith, and A. V. Suarez. 2018. Snap-jaw morphology is specialized for high-speed power amplification in the Dracula ant, Mystrium camillaeRoyal Society Open Science 5:181447.

If you want to get more in-depth into this citation style, you can check out the following LibGuides by these other libraries:

"BIOL 211 : Ecology" by Eli Gandour-Rood at University of Puget Sound

If you have any questions, remember to reach out to the library. You can always call us at 304.788.6901 or email us at


Consider Using Zotero Bib

For the love of all things library, please don't use EasyBib or CiteThisForMe. Zotero Bib is free, provides access to nearly 10,000 different citation styles, and is open-source software designed to benefit you, not try to hook you into some subscription service.

You can access Zotero Bib here.

Zotero Bib supports Ecology style. How to use Ecology style in Zotero Bib:

  • Under your Bibliography settings, click 9,700+ other styles available...
  • Search for Ecology
  • Select add next to Ecology

Ta-da! Your Zotero Bib citations are now formatted for Ecology style!