Ecological Applications

Types of contributions

Submission requirements

Manuscript format

Peer review process

Accepted manuscript requirements

Supporting information



Copyright transfer and press embargo

Publication fees and open access

Page proofs and publication

Manuscript Submission

Revisions and final versions of manuscripts originally submitted on EcoTrack should follow the resubmission instructions from their most recent decision letter.

New submissions As of January 4, 2016, all new manuscripts must be submitted through ScholarOne

If you have not already done so, check to see if you are already in the ScholarOne database by putting your email address in the E-mail Address field under Password Help and click "Go". You could be in the database even if you were never previously an author of a manuscript submitted to any of the ESA journals. Do NOT create a new account if you are already in the database. If you suspect we have an old email address for you, please contact to update your record.  If you have verified that there is no account for you, you can create an account at the submission site by clicking on the “Register Here” button. Please study the site’s Instructions and Forms using the link at the top of the screen and then let the system guide you through the submission process. Online help is available to you at all times during the process. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at


Types of Contributions

Length limits with respect to manuscripts refer to all pages, including title page, text, literature cited, tables and figures. Each figure will count as one page. Generally 3.5 pages of the double-spaced manuscript correspond to one printed journal page.

Final decisions on article types are at the discretion of ESA. (i) Papers submitted/accepted as Communications that require more than 8.0 printed pages in the final version will instead be published as Articles.

Articles. Articles describing significant original research comprise the core of the journal. Articles generally should not exceed 60 manuscript pages (double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, including everything from the title page through the last figure). Abstracts should be no longer than 350 words. Articles exceeding 60 manuscript pages may be considered for transfer to Ecological Monographs at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief.

Communications. Communications are shorter papers (up to 8 journal pages) of immediate impact in fast-moving scientific debate or urgent practical application. These papers will be fast-tracked through the editorial, review, and production processes so as to make possible a relatively rapid publication.

These papers must be accompanied by a cover letter clearly indicating that the paper is being submitted for consideration for the Communications section and explaining why the paper warrants this special treatment. Papers deemed unsuitable for Communications may be considered for publication as regular articles.

As added incentives for authors to cast their submissions in the concise Communications format:

* All Communications will be freely available for no extra charge (i.e., one need not be a subscriber or have institutional access in order to view full text online).

* There will be no charge for color figures to authors of Communications.

By making the Communications more accessible and visually appealing, we hope to increase our readership and cement Ecological Applications’ reputation as the place where authors publish the most important and exciting research findings in our science.

In order to assure rapid publication, papers must conform to a strict page limit and format. Communication submissions may contain up to 20 manuscript pages (double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, including everything from the title page through the last figure). The abstract can have a maximum of 200 words.

Invited Features.

Invited Features are intended to address various aspects of a theme that is likely to be of broad interest to applied ecologists. Ideally, a feature should inform a broad audience about an unfamiliar topic or an area in which there has been considerable recent progress, or it should cause the audience to re-examine an issue that is not as settled as most have presumed. Proposals for Invited features should be addressed to the Editor-in-Chief. See Invited Features for additional advice and instructions that explain how to propose and prepare Invited Features.

Forums. Ecological Applications occasionally publishes Forums. A Forum can take a number of forms but always includes a series of commentaries solicited from a number of experts. These commentaries represent personal responses to a paper (or papers) considered to be of very broad interest and significance within the field of applied ecology. 

Possible variations include but are not limited to:

  • An original (published for the first time) research, review, or discussion paper, followed by a number of commentaries,
  • A paper republished (with permission) from another journal, followed by commentaries,
  • An ESA report, followed by commentaries,
  • Several original papers on a common topic, followed by commentaries,
  • A Special or Invited Feature, followed by several commentaries.

The number of commentaries can depend on the nature of the Forum, but normally would not exceed six to eight.  The commentaries are reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief (EIC).

An individual interested in proposing a Forum should contact the EIC to discuss the idea.  If the EIC believes the idea should be pursued, a short proposal must be submitted for review by one or more member of the Board of Editors.

Letters to the Editor. A Letter to the Editor points out errors of fact or interpretation in, or otherwise comments on, an article that previously appeared in a published issue (not merely a preprint) of Ecological Applications, or in articles or books that are the basis of numerous articles published in ESA journals. Submissions must contain no more than 16 manuscript pages.

Letters may be assigned to a Subject-matter Editor for evaluation.  As with regular articles, typically two reviews will be sought.  Every effort will be made to expedite the review process.

At the time a Letter is assigned to a Subject-matter Editor, a copy will be sent by the Publications Office to the corresponding author of the original paper.  The authors of the paper being commented upon will be offered the opportunity to submit a signed review to the Subject-matter Editor, who will view such a review as supplemental to and not a replacement for the regular reviews.  The signed supplemental review will be forwarded to the author(s) of the Letter, together with the two regular reviews and the Subject-matter Editor’s decision letter.

When the Letter is first sent to the authors of the manuscript being commented upon, they will be informed by receipt of this policy document that at such time as the Letter is accepted for publication, they will be sent a copy of the final version and will be invited by the Subject-matter Editor to prepare a response.  The response must be completed within four weeks if simultaneous publication is to be guaranteed.  Authors should submit the response online and it will be sent to the same Subject-matter Editor who handled the Comment or Letter.  The response will typically be reviewed by one reviewer, but the Subject-matter Editor may choose to accept the response without review in cases where the response is short and simple.

We will attempt to publish all letters on a particular paper plus any response together. We generally neither invite nor publish responses to responses.


Submission Requirements

Cover Letter.  The cover letter should explain how the manuscript fits the scope of the journal, and more specifically how it advances the field, while having broad appeal. If the manuscript relates to any previous submission to an ESA journal, that must be explained as well.  There is a required text box for the cover letter. Uploading a cover letter as an attachment is optional.

Original Submission. Provide information describing the extent to which data or text in the manuscript have been used in other works that are published, in press, submitted, or soon to be submitted elsewhere. Enter this information in section “Dual Publication”.

No Prior Publication. ESA journals require that all submissions be original contributions, with full disclosure of any possible redundant publication made in a letter accompanying the submission. Under certain circumstances, use of the same data in two or more publications is appropriate and beneficial. This may be particularly true when new information allows reinterpretation of previously published data. In many cases, however, duplicate publication is wasteful of journal space and user resources.

Although it is the Editor's responsibility to decide whether specific duplications are useful or wasteful, these decisions are generally based on information supplied by the authors. ESA journals have adopted a policy to facilitate this process. At the time of submission, authors must provide information describing the extent to which data or text in the manuscript have been used in other papers that are published, in press, submitted, or soon to be submitted elsewhere. In cases of overlap with other publications or submissions, authors should include copies of said papers along with the current submission.

Sometimes it is difficult to assess whether a work has truly been published previously. If a previous work was published in a journal or book that is already available in libraries, or is available for libraries to purchase, we expect no more than one-third overlap between the previous publication and the submission to ESA. Reference should be made to any closely related previous publication, especially if a table or figure is reproduced. If any data in a manuscript have been included in other published or unpublished manuscripts, the legend of each table or illustration reporting such data must cite those manuscripts. When in doubt, an author should supply copies of the previous publication to be sent to the Subject matter Editor and reviewers, who would then be asked to consider this matter. Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce previously published material.

A posting of a manuscript or thesis on an author’s personal or home institution’s website or ftp site generally will not be considered previous publication. Similarly, posting of a “working paper” in an institutional repository is allowed so long as at least one author is affiliated with that institution.

Submitted manuscripts may have been posted to a preprint archive if the papers in the archive are not peer-reviewed, and provided that a link to the published article will be added if the manuscript is accepted by an ESA journal.  Authors should disclose whether such a posting has been made at the time of submission. If a manuscript is available as part of a digital publication such as a journal, technical series, or some other entity to which a library can subscribe (especially if that publication has an ISSN or ISBN), we will consider that the manuscript has been published and is thus not eligible for consideration by our journals. Finally, a necessary test for prior publication is whether the author can legally transfer copyright to ESA.

Resubmission Policy. If the manuscript (or an earlier version of the manuscript) has been previously submitted to the same or another ESA journal, provide the previous manuscript number; explain how the current version differs from the previously submitted version and why it should be considered now for this journal. There are no guarantees it will be reviewed by the newly targeted journal. Enter this information in section “Previously Submitted”.

Adherence to the ESA Code of Ethics. Authors should adhere to the ESA Code of Ethics; it deals with authorship, plagiarism, fraud, unauthorized use of data, copyrights, errors, confidentiality, intellectual property, attribution, willful delay of publication, and conflicts of interest, as well as other matters that are not specific to the publication process. The following general principles will be adhered to in dealing with situations in which an author's ethics are in question.

Manuscripts submitted to ESA journals are confidential. We will not normally reveal whether an author has submitted a manuscript to us or what a particular manuscript might contain, unless the authors ask that we do so. To do otherwise would be to compromise the ability of an author to obtain proper credit for his or her discoveries.

In the event that a private individual reports to us concerns about the ethics of a particular author, we will take note of such concerns and watch for any manuscript by that author that might represent questionable ethical practices.

If ESA has reason to doubt the ethical practices of an author of a manuscript, either because of concern raised by an editor, or because of information obtained from some other source, the Editor-in-Chief will process the manuscript in accordance with normal practice, but will simultaneously refer the matter to the ESA Professional Ethics Committee for review. The Committee will conduct whatever investigation it feels appropriate, taking care not to inadvertently damage the reputation of any of the parties concerned. The Editor-in-Chief will receive the advice of the Committee and decide a course of action in consultation with the Executive Director of the Society.

Animal welfare. Authors using experimental vertebrate animals must certify that their care was in accordance with institutional guidelines.

Endangered species. Authors must certify that research involving endangered species was conducted in conformance with all applicable laws.

Data Policy. As a condition for publication of a manuscript in Ecological Applications, all data associated with the results must be made available in a permanent, publicly accessible data archive or repository.

Authors are strongly encouraged to deposit the data underlying their manuscripts in the Dryad data repository or Figshare, which both provide flexible platforms for a wide variety of digital data. Other permanent depositories include GenBank for DNA sequences, ORNL-DAAC for biogeochemical data,  Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity: KNB and the LTER Data Portal, as well as institutional repositories such as that at the University of Illinois.

Archived data should be sufficiently complete so that subsequent users can repeat tables, graphs, and statistical analyses reported in the original publication, and derive summary statistics for new or meta- analyses. Thus, the normal resolution of the data that are archived will be at the level of individual observations.

Publication in Ecological Applications constitutes publication of the data, which are then citable, and the desire of authors to control additional research with these data shall not generally be grounds for withholding published data.  Sensitive information including but not limited to precise locality data for rare, threatened, or endangered species, or identity of human subjects, should be redacted as required. Sufficient metadata should accompany the data file so that others can readily use files and interpret variables, including their units. Such metadata can usually be provided in a short text file. Data must be registered and available at the time of publication, although in specific cases, data registration and metadata availability at the time of acceptance, with a firm subsequent date for release of primary data may be acceptable.

By depositing data prior to publication of a manuscript, a permanent link can be made to and from the published paper. Supporting information included with your article can be used for this purpose, but only if the material is submitted with the original submission for peer review. Data must be deposited in other depositories following acceptance and prior to publication.

Advantages of depositing data in a permanent repository include:

* Visibility: Making your data available online (and linking it to the publication) provides a new pathway for others to learn about your work.

* Citability: All data you deposit will receive a persistent, resolvable identifier that can be used in a citation as well as listed on your CV.

* Workload reduction: If you receive individual requests for data, you can simply direct them to files in the archive.

* Preservation: Your data files will be permanently and safely archived in perpetuity.

* Impact: You will garner citations through the reuse of your data.

Authors will be responsible for any fees charged by external data repositories in order to comply with the data archiving requirement.

Computer Code. Authors must disclose software and statistical procedures used in the manuscript and provide any novel computer code used for models, simulations, or statistical analyses.

English. Authors whose native language is not English are encouraged to enlist the aid of a native English-speaking colleague to go over the manuscript for correct usage and clarity prior to submission. The Wiley English Language Editing Service can help to ensure your paper is clearly written in standard, scientific English language appropriate to your discipline and is available for a fee on the submission page. You may also search the ESA Author Help Directory to find a volunteer. No guarantees are associated with the use of either service.

Page Charges. Authors must agree to pay page charges or must obtain an ESA page-charge grant. Page charges will only be incurred for manuscripts accepted for publication.

Manuscript Format

Consult recent issues for examples of journal style. For purposes of review, submitted manuscripts need not adhere to journal style in every detail; however, preparation of final revisions of manuscripts accepted for publication will be easier if ESA style is followed from the outset. But be sure to abide by the following minimum formatting requirements for submitted manuscripts:

* The manuscript text and literature cited must be double-spaced at three lines per inch (12 lines/10 cm) in 12-point Times New Roman font. Choose the "double-spacing" option for line spacing. Leave a 1- inch (2.54-cm) margin on all sides of each page. Page size should be Letter 8 ½" by 11". Do not justify the right margin.

* Assemble the parts of the manuscript in this order: title page, abstract, key words, text, acknowledgments, literature cited, tables (one table per page), figure legends (on separate page preceding the first figure), figures (one figure per page; label each figure, i.e., Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.), and lastly any Appendices. Please note that if your manuscript is accepted, the appendices would only be published online, but for review purposes, appendices need to be merged into one file together with the manuscript, for the convenience of reviewers and editors. Other supporting information such as raw data or code will need to be in a separate file.

*  Number all pages (including tables and figures), starting with the title page.

*  All pages of text must have line numbers as well.

Allowable File Formats

Manuscript files: Manuscript files in Word (.doc or .docx), WordPerfect (.wpd), Rich-text format (.rtf) or LaTeX (.TEX) format. If submitting in LaTeX, please also upload a PDF version - fonts included, no T3 fonts - of your LaTeX file.
Tables: Tables in doc, xls, or csv format (or tables may be included in the manuscript file).

Figures and images: Figures/Images in .doc, .docx, .jpeg, .tif, .eps, .ps, .pdf, .ppt, or .ai format (or figures may be included in the manuscript file).

Supporting information: Appendices in .doc, .pdf, or .html format. Video appendices in .mpeg or .mov format. Other supporting information can include, but is not limited to, original and derived data sets, source code for simulation models, and details of and software for unusual statistical analyses. A metadata document that describes data files or code file should be included with such files and uploaded separately.

Figure Preparation Guidelines and Tips for Peer Review Submission.

• Are all figures included in your submission as separate files or in an inclusive PDF/Word
• document/LaTeX suite?
• Do all figures have an accompanying legend that describes the content and explains any abbreviations or symbols?
• Are all figures cited in the main text of your article in numeric order
• Are all words or symbols appearing in your figures large enough for easy reading?
• Is each individual figure file less than 10 MB?

Tables and figures: may be in a separate file or in one file together with the manuscript text. If figures are in a separate file, please provide a separate file with all the figure legends (or include it in the manuscript file). (Please be aware that a lower resolution figure may look fine on a computer screen, but that      does not mean it will look good if a reviewer or editor prints it out.) Please upload as “Supporting Information for review and online publication only.”

Peer Review Process

  1. The author submits a manuscript via ScholarOne.
  2. The Peer Review Specialist (PRS) checks that the manuscript conforms to the journal's formatting guidelines and editorial policies.
  3. The EiC and AEiCs evaluate the manuscript and decide whether to review; or reject without review, or reject with transfer offer to another ESA journal. If the former, the EiC assigns the paper to a Subject-matter Editor (SME). If the latter, steps 7 and 8 are performed.
  4. The SME reviews the article and may reject the paper without further review (or reject with transfer offer) (steps 7 and 8) or suggest potential Reviewers. Most submissions are evaluated by two external, anonymous Reviewers – sometimes more, sometimes less.
  5. The Reviewers review the manuscript and make comments and a recommendation (generally expected within 3 weeks).
  6. Once the Reviewers have submitted their reports, the SME reviews the comments and makes a decision: either (a) Accept, (b) Revise, (c) Reject with resubmission invitation, (d) Reject or (e) Reject with transfer offer to another ESA journal.
  7. The SME drafts a decision letter that includes the review comments as appropriate. The SME may provide additional suggestions for revision. The draft is submitted for proofreading by ESA staff.
  8. The decision letter is proofread, finalized, and forwarded to the corresponding author.
  9. If the decision is "revise", the authors revise the manuscript and resubmit via ScholarOne as soon as possible, preferably within six weeks. If the revised manuscript has not been submitted within three months of the decision, any subsequent revision must be submitted as a new manuscript and will be given a new manuscript number.  Revisions will be sent back to the original SME so long as he/she is still available.
  10. The SME reviews the revised manuscript and either requests further reviews (repeating steps 4–8 above) or makes a decision (steps 7 and 8 above).
  11. The steps may be repeated as many times as necessary until a final decision is rendered. In the event the paper is accepted for publication, authors are provided a final opportunity to prepare the files related to the article for page production and publication.

Accepted Manuscripts

Assembly. Assemble the parts of the manuscript in this order: title page, abstract, key words, text, acknowledgments, literature cited, tables, figure legends, figures. Appendices and Supplements should be in a separate file or files. Number all pages (including appendices, tables, and figures) consecutively. All papers must be in English. Use American spellings (e.g., behavior, not behaviour). The CBE Style Manual, Fifth Edition, is recommended for details of style.

Title Page

Running Head.—A running head of no longer than 40 letters and spaces should be provided at the top of the title page.

Title.—Titles should be concise, informative, tell what the paper is about, and what it found. It should contain key words necessary for digital search and retrieval methods. Avoid vague declarations (e.g., "effects of ..."); strive for information content (e.g., “fungi kill tardigrades"). The maximum length is 120 characters, including spaces. Do not include the authority for taxonomic names in the title or in the abstract. Titles may not include numerical series designations. The first letter of the first word in the title is capitalized. All other words, except for proper nouns, are lowercase.

List of Authors.—For each author, give the relevant address—usually the institutional affiliation of the author during the period when all or most of the research was done. Each author’s present address, if different from this, and the author's email address should appear as a footnote at the bottom of the title page.

Individuals listed as authors should have played a significant role in designing or carrying out the research, writing the manuscript, or providing extensive guidance on the execution of the project. Those whose role was limited to providing materials, financial support, or review should be recognized in the Acknowledgments section.


The abstract should explain to the general reader why the research was done and why the results should be viewed as important. It should provide a brief summary of the research, including the purpose, methods, results, and major conclusions. Do not include literature citations in the Abstract. Avoid long lists of common methods or discursive explanations of what you set out to accomplish.

The primary purpose of an abstract is to allow readers to determine quickly and easily the content and results of a paper. Abstracts should not exceed 200 words for Reports, Notes, and Communications, and 350 words for Articles and for Data Papers.

Key Words

Following the Abstract, list up to 12 key words. Words from the title of the article may be included in the key words. Each key word should be useful as an entry point for a literature search.

Body of the Article

If appropriate, organize your article in sections labeled Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. You may need to add a section for Conclusions. Brief articles usually do not require a label for the Introduction. If the nature of your research requires a different organization, specify the level of each section heading (1st-order head, 2nd-order head, etc.) by using unique type styles (italics, boldface) consistently for each heading in the hierarchy.

A brief Introduction describing the paper's significance should be intelligible to the general reader of the journal. The Introduction should state the reason for doing the research, the nature of the questions or hypotheses under consideration, and essential background. The Introduction is not a place for a lengthy review of the topic!

The Methods section should provide sufficient information to allow someone to repeat your work. A clear description of your experimental design, sampling procedures, and statistical procedures is especially important. Do not describe commonplace statistical tests in Methods, but allude to them briefly in Results. If you list a product (e.g., animal food, analytical device), supply the name and location of the manufacturer. Give the model number for equipment specified. Supply complete citations, including author (or editor), title, year, publisher, and version number, for computer software mentioned in your article.

Results generally should be stated concisely and without interpretation, though in complex studies modest interpretation of individual parts can provide context helpful for understanding subsequent parts. The Discussion should explain the significance of the results. Distinguish factual results from speculation and interpretation. Avoid excessive review.


Acknowledgments, including funding information, should appear in a brief statement at the end of the body of the text. Acknowledgments of specific author contributions to the paper should appear here.

Literature Cited (and other citations)

Avoid excessive citations; cite only essential sources. Before submitting the manuscript, check each citation in the text against the Literature Cited to see that they match exactly. Delete citations if they are not actually cited in the article. The list should conform in sequencing and punctuation to that in recent issues of the journal. All journal titles should be spelled out completely. Provide the publisher’s name and location when you cite conference proceedings or other books.

The Literature Cited section of a paper may refer only to permanently archived material. If a reasonably diligent scholar 20 years in the future could not be assured of finding a particular source, it would not be acceptable as literature cited. Because Internet sources typically have a short half-life, they may not be included in Literature Cited sections unless there is reasonable evidence of permanency (e.g., Dryad). As a general rule, any publication that has an ISSN or ISBN is acceptable, but should be referenced by name (the URL may be added, but is not essential).

Do not list abstracts or unpublished material in the Literature Cited. These materials may be listed in the text as personal observations (by an author of the present paper), personal communications (information from others), public communications (information in published abstracts or information publicly distributed over the Internet but not permanently archived), unpublished manuscript, or unpublished data. The author(s) is expected to verify for all "personal communications" that the authority cited agrees to the use of his or her name. For public communications, the reference should include date printed or accessed, and title of the source, and basic access information such as URL.


Tables should supplement, not duplicate, the text. They should be numbered in the order of their citation in the text. Start each table on a separate page. Provide a short descriptive title at the top of each table; rather than simply repeating the labels on columns and rows of the table, the title should reveal the point of grouping certain data in the table. Statistical and other details should be provided as footnotes rather than appearing in the title. Never repeat the same material in figures and tables; when either is equally clear, a figure is preferable. Do not include any class of information in tables that is not discussed in the text of the manuscript.

At the submission and review stages, embedded image files are acceptable for tables. Final versions of accepted manuscripts must have “true” tables in an editable format, created by using the “Insert Table” function, rather than using tabs or spaces. In Microsoft Word you should select “Insert”, “Table”, then specify the number of rows and columns and fill in the individual cells.

Tables cannot contain colors, shading, or graphics. If such enhancements are needed, the information should be formatted as a figure.


Figures should be submitted in the following formats for accepted manuscripts:



• EPS (vector graphics)

• PDF (with fonts embedded)



• AI

Files should adhere to the following resolution requirements:

  • 600 dpi for black and white or color line art (bar graphs, charts, etc.)
  • 300 dpi for photographs
  • 600 dpi for combination images (photographs that also contain line art, text, or thin lines)

General Appearance:

  • Do not embed figures in the body of your article document. Number each figure with Arabic numerals in order of their citation in text. Label multipart figures with consecutive letters of the alphabet, using a lowercase letter (a, b, c, etc.). Place this letter in the upper left corner of the figure, outside the figure itself (not in the figure).
  • Grayscale patterns do not reproduce as well as solid colors or lines. Avoid small dotted lines, thin lines, multiple levels of gray shading, and stippling. For bar graphs, use black, white, striped, hatched, or colored designs, but only if they are sufficiently widely spaced to appear distinct from one another.
  • If no important information will be lost, consider placing fewer numbers on the axes to achieve an uncluttered look. Define abbreviations in the figure legend, not on the figure itself. Symbol keys and scale bars should appear on the figures, not in the figure legends. Make figures as simple as possible; avoid gridlines and boxes.
  • Maps generally should include longitude and latitude, an indication of compass direction, and a thin outer line as a border. Make lines on maps bold and distinct while eliminating information not pertinent to the subject.

Size and Proportion:

  • Figure sizes should be no more than 6 inches wide and 7 inches high. When possible, submit figures in the size you wish to have them appear in the journal. Most illustrations, except some maps and very wide graphs, should be 1-column width (3 inches) at a resolution of 600 dpi.
  • The font size of the x- and y-axis numbers should be slightly smaller than the axis label. A consistent font (Helvetica is preferred) should be used throughout. Use boldface type only if required for journal style. Use sentence case (i.e., only capitalize the first word) for axis titles, labels, and legends.
  • For symbols and lines, avoid very small sizes and line thicknesses (1 point width stroke or greater is preferable). All elements of a figure should appear with the same degree of intensity.  If different degrees of intensity need to be conveyed, lines should differ by 1 point width for clarity.

Note for print journals: Print quality will be drastically reduced, possibly impacting readability, if you do not supply your images in the preferred formats and resolutions.


Submission Checklist: Images

Figure Preparation Guidelines and Tips for Peer Review Submission.

  • Are all figures included in your submission as separate files or in an inclusive PDF/Word document/LaTeX suite?
  • Do all figures have an accompanying legend that describes the content and explains any abbreviations or symbols?
  • Are all figures cited in the main text of your article in numeric order
  • Are all words or symbols appearing in your figures large enough for easy reading?
  • Is each individual figure file less than 10 MB?

Figure Preparation Guidelines and Tips for Post-Acceptance.

  • Are all figures included in your submission as separate files or in an inclusive PDF/Word document/LaTeX suite?  Tip! Single, original, unconverted files are best.
  • Do all figures have an accompanying legend that describes the content and explains any abbreviations or symbols?  Tip! Include your figure legends as a separate section in your main text file.
  • Are all figures cited in the main text of your article? Tip! Ensure all figures are numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the manuscript.
  • Are all words or symbols appearing in your figures large enough for easy reading by peer reviewers? Tip!  Closely follow the preferred resolution guidelines for best presentation.
  • Are all figures saved in a common file type? Tip! Use the preferred file types for best image quality.
  • Is each individual figure file less than 10 MBs?  Tips! Remove excess white space surrounding figures for lower file size.  Use the LZW compression option when saving TIFF files to reduce file size without affecting image quality.
  • Were figures created between 80 and 180 mm in width and using 300 to 600 DPI (larger for line art)? Tip! Higher quality figures are more useful to readers.
  • Are all figure files named with their appropriate figure number?  Tip! Use only figure numbers in the file names to ensure correct typesetting (ie: Figure 1).

Supporting Information

Digital appendices, data, and code to be posted in conjunction with the online version of the article should be submitted with the manuscript. This information will be linked to the manuscript in the online journal, but is not copyedited, typeset, or printed in the hard copy.  All supporting information should be prepared for publication in the Wiley Online Library and labeled with the prefix "S"; for example Appendix S1 (for the first appendix), Appendix S2 (for the second Appendix), Data S1 (for the first set of data files described by one metadata document), and so on. Within each appendix the table, figure, and equation labels start with "S1". For references to the material within the text, provide the appendix label as well as the specific table or figure references (e.g. “Appendix S1: Table S3” or “Appendix S2: Figure S1”). 

Supporting Info Descrip EAP

Best practices for computer code and statistics:

Authors must disclose software and statistical procedures used in the manuscript and provide any novel computer code used for models, simulations, or statistical analyses. With respect to computer code and scripts (e.g., in R), authors should adhere to the following best practices when possible:

  • Computer source code and scripts should either be submitted as supporting information with the manuscript or should be made publicly available in a code repository such as Github or Bitbucket unless there are justifiable reasons (e.g., third party intellectual property) not to do so. If the code is submitted to a public code repository, a persistent identifier such as a DOI for the specific revision of the software is needed; e.g., see . Scripts can normally be provided as readable text that can be opened in a plain text editor; examples of suitable formats include .txt, .csv, .R, .r, .m.
  • Provide the version number of the software used in the manuscript (e.g., R version 3.2.3). Optionally, authors may also list the make and version of the platform on which the code was run and version numbers of any other software packages that a successful code run would depend upon.
  • Include documentation (i.e., metadata) and comments that are sufficient to enable interpretation and reuse of the code including specific instructions for how to rerun analyses presented in the paper. [Follow good coding/scripting practices and use meaningful file and variable names in the code whenever possible (e.g., "Sevilleta_2015_community_phylogeny.txt" instead of "mydata.txt" and “plant_height” instead of “ht”). Although optional, authors may wish to provide example code and expected output to better enable re-use and to support simple testing that the code is running as desired.]
  • Authors are also encouraged to include an explicit license for code—ideally one that is a permissive, free software license that places very minimal restrictions on re-use such as the MIT License or other Open Source Initiative (OSI)-approved licenses—or to place the code in the public domain.


Identification of the objects of study

Early in the manuscript, identify the type(s) of organism or ecosystem you studied; e.g., "Cornus florida

L. (flowering dogwood), a small deciduous tree". Avoid descriptive terms that may be familiar only to specialists. Provide the scientific names of all organisms. Common names may be used when convenient after stating the scientific names.

Genus names must be spelled out the first time they are used, but may be abbreviated to a single letter thereafter if no confusion will result. If the article contains several different scientific names, it is a good idea to spell out the generic name the first time it appears in each major section. Species names must always be spelled out in text; space limitations in tables or figures may require use of a "code," such as the first letter of the genus and species name; these letters should be in italics, like the original scientific name.

Check carefully the spelling of all scientific nomenclature.

Because usage of scientific names may vary between investigators and can be ambiguous when out of context, conformance to a comprehensive nomenclatural standard is highly desirable. Suggestions for nomenclature standards are available for commonly studied groups.

The following standard treatments are recommended.

  • Phyla -- Margulis, L & K.V. Schwartz. 1998. Five kingdoms: an illustrated guide to the phyla of life on Earth. Third edition. W.H. Freeman and Co., New York. 520 pp.
  • Birds -- American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU). 1998.  Check-list of North American birds, Seventh edition. American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C. 829 pp. (For North America). Monroe, B.L. Jr. & C.G. Sibley. 1993. A world checklist of birds. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 393 p. (For remainder of the world.)
  • Butterflies -- Cassie, B. et al. 1995.  North American Butterfly Association (NABA) checklist and English names of North American butterflies. Morristown, NJ. 43 pp.
  • Dragonflies -- Paulson, D.R. & S.W. Dunkle. 1999. A checklist of North American Odonata including English names, etymology, type locality, and distribution. Slater Museum of Natural History Occasional Paper 56, Univ. Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA.
  • Fishes -- Eschmeyer, W.N., C.J. Ferraris & M.D. Hoang. 1998. Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Robins, C.R. et al. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. Fifth Edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication No. 20. 183 pp.
  • Lichens -- Esslinger, T. L. & R. S. Egan. 1995. A sixth checklist of the lichen-forming, lichenicolus, and allied fungi of the continental United States and Canada. The Bryologist 98: 467-549.
  • Mammals -- Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1206 pp.
  • Mollusca -- Turgeon, D.D. et al. 1998.  Common and scientific names of aquatic invertebrates from the United States and Canada: mollusks. Second edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication. No. 26. 526 pp.
  • Mosses -- Anderson, L.E., H.A. Crum & W.R. Buck. 1990. List of the mosses of North America north of Mexico. Bryologist 93: 448-499
  • Reptiles and Amphibians -- Collins, J.T. 1997. Standard common and current scientific names for North American Amphibians and Reptiles, Fourth Edition, Society for the Study of Amphibians & Reptiles.  Herp. Circular No. 25. 40 pp.  Frost, D.R. 1985.  Amphibian species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Allen Press, Inc. Lawrence, KS. 732 pp.  Petranka, J.W. 1998.  Salamanders of the United Staes and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 587 pp.
  • Vascular Plants -- Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1993-. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, (where completed). Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Second Edition. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon. 622 p.

Equations, symbols, and abbreviations

Define all symbols, abbreviations, and acronyms the first time they are used. Use leading zeroes with all numbers <1, including probability values (e.g., P < 0.001). Use boldface roman (non-italic) type to denote matrices and vectors.


Statistical analyses and data presentation

Authors are free to interpret statistical analyses as they see fit. The author, however, needs to provide the reader with information sufficient for an independent assessment of the analysis. Thus, the assumptions and the model underlying any statistical analysis must be clearly stated, and the presentation of results must be sufficiently detailed. Sampling designs, experimental designs, data- collection protocols, precision of measurements, sampling units, and sample sizes must be succinctly described. Reported statistics usually include the sample size and some measure of their precision (standard error [SE] or specified confidence interval [CI]) except where this would interfere with graphical clarity. The specific statistical procedure must always be stated. Unusual statistical procedures need to be explained in sufficient detail, including references if appropriate, for the reader to reconstruct the analysis. If a software product was used, complete citation should be given, including version number. When reporting results, actual P values are preferred. 

Here is additional information from the guidelines on "Statistical analysis and data presentation" prepared by the Statistical Ecology Section of ESA.

  • Basic philosophy -- These rules and suggestions proceed from two principles. (1) Authors are free to perform and interpret statistical analyses as they see fit. (2) The reader needs to be provided information sufficient for an independent assessment of the appropriateness of the method. Thus, the assumptions and (or) the model underlying unusual statistical analyses must be clearly stated and results must be sufficiently detailed. On occasion, more detail than warranted for the final publication may have to be provided to reviewers to allow them to make an informed judgment. The purpose of statistical analysis is to increase the conciseness, clarity and objectivity with which results are presented and interpreted, and where an analysis does not serve those ends it probably is inappropriate.
  • Data description -- Sampling designs, experimental designs, data-collection protocols, precision of measurements, sampling units, experimental units, and sample sizes must be clearly described. Reported information usually includes the sample size and some measure of the precision (standard errors or specified confidence intervals) of estimates, although this may not be necessary or possible in all instances especially for unusual statistics. Graphical data presentation is encouraged. Carefully composed graphs often permit the reader to decide at a glance if data are in danger of violating statistical assumptions.
  • Assumptions -- It is important that the author be satisfied that the assumptions behind any statistical analysis are sufficiently met and that, at least where unusual assumptions are made, unusual procedures are used, or unusual types of data are involved, and that the reader be provided with sufficient information to judge whether any departures from assumptions are severe enough to vitiate the conclusions. The amount of detail provided in any particular instance will depend on the centrality of the statistical test to the conclusions.
  • Reporting of analyses -- The specific statistical procedure must always be stated. If a statistics program or program package was used, a complete citation (including version number) should be given. If necessary, the author should indicate which procedure within a package was used and which method within a procedure was chosen. Such citations may be even more important for reviewers than they are for readers. Unusual statistical procedures need to be explained in sufficient detail, including references if appropriate, for the reader to reconstruct the analysis. To denote levels of significance, actual P values are generally more informative than symbols such as * and **.
  • If conclusions are based on an analysis of variance or regression, information sufficient to permit the construction of the full analysis of variance table (at least degrees of freedom, the structure of F-ratios, and P values) must be presented or be clearly implicit. Where ambiguity is possible, the authors must indicate which effects were considered fixed or random and why.
  • Effect size and biological importance must not be confused with statistical significance. Power analyses (determination of type II error rates, ß) occasionally can be very useful, especially if used in conjunction with descriptive procedures like confidence intervals. Such tests are not always routine; for complex or unusual statistical designs, descriptions of such tests should be sufficiently detailed.

Any novel computer code used for models, simulations, or statistical analyses reported in the manuscript must be described. Such code must be part of the submission and will become permanently archived supporting information to an accepted manuscript. Computer code should be sufficiently documented so that reviewers and readers can reconstruct simulations, models, or analyses as reported in the submission and ultimate publication. Executable code is not sufficient; source code must be provided. Sufficient metadata should accompany the code so that others can readily use the files and interpret output. Such metadata should usually be provided in a short text file or Word doc. The metadata file must include the author(s) name(s), address(es), file name, and a description of how the file(s) can be used.


Units of measure should conform to the International System of Units (SI). If measurements were made in other units, include the SI equivalents.

Consult Standard Practice for Use of the International System of Units (ASTM Standard E-380-93) for guidance on unit conversions, style, and usage. An abbreviated version may be downloaded from the ASTM website. When preparing text and figures, note in particular that SI requires the use of the terms “mass” or “force” rather than “weight.” When one unit appears in a denominator, use the solidus (e.g., g/m2); for two or more units in a denominator, use negative exponents (e.g., g∙m−2∙d−1 ). Use a capital L as the abbreviation for liter.


Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to reprint a previously published table, figure, or extract of more than 250 words and for submitting written permissions with their manuscript.

Acknowledgment alone is not sufficient; if in doubt, obtain permission. Permissions should be submitted quickly after your paper is accepted to avoid any delays in publication. Authors should exercise customary professional courtesy in acknowledging intellectual properties such as patents and trademarks.

For information regarding permission to use ESA articles published in the journals, please see:

Transfer of copyright and press embargo

Authors must sign the copyright transfer agreement before their paper can be published. If your paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to log in into Author Services where, via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS), they will be able to complete the license agreement on behalf of all authors of the paper.

In order that the Author(s) and ESA may be protected from consequences of unauthorized use, the Author(s) must grant and assign to ESA rights to publish an accepted manuscript or data paper and any associated supporting information (work) in all languages and in any other form, in the United States and in any other countries, and to assign others the right to do so. The Author(s) shall retain the right to quote from, reprint, translate and reproduce the work, in part or in full, in any book or article he/she may later write, or in any public presentation. The Author may post the work in a publicly accessible form on his/her personal or home institution's webpages. If the Author(s) reproduces a portion of the work in a book, article or other media, the legend or caption of any table or figure that represents data from the work, in original or modified form, shall cite the work as the source of those data. In addition, the Author(s) shall have the right to photocopy the work for his/her own use or public distribution. If the Author(s) reprints, translates or photocopies the work, the original copyright notice, as it appears in the journal, must be included. The Author retains all proprietary rights other than copyright, such as patent rights.

All authors must agree to transfer copyright (or equivalent rights) for their manuscript to ESA. By submitting a manuscript, the authors agree that the copyright (or equivalent rights) for their article will be transferred to ESA if and when the article is accepted for publication. Authors of manuscripts accepted for publication must complete and submit a copyright release form to the publisher. The official form will be sent to the corresponding author, who will be able to complete the license agreement on behalf of all authors on the paper. If policies of one or more author's home institution preclude transfer of copyright, that author(s) must still provide a legally binding document that grants to ESA the right to publish the manuscript or data paper and any associated supplemental material (work) in all languages and in any other form, in the United States and in any other countries, and to assign others the right to do so.

In submitting a copyright release, the author(s) represents that he/she is the sole proprietor of the Work; that it does not infringe any existing copyright; that it has not heretofore been published; and that to the best of his/her knowledge it contains no libelous or otherwise unlawful matter or which invades the right of privacy or which infringes on any proprietary right. The Author(s) will hold harmless the ESA against any claim, demand, or recovery finally sustained in any proceedings brought against the ESA by reason of any violation of any proprietary right or copyright, or any unlawful matter contained in the work. When previously published data, interpretations, or ideas are included in a work, the author(s) shall cite the source (for example, "1850 data are from Darwin [1859]”) and list the reference in the Literature Cited section. In the event that copyright to a portion or all of the work has previously been registered with the Library of Congress, the author(s) will promptly transfer the copyright to the ESA.

Embargo Policy: ESA encourages authors to speak with reporters regarding their research. It is important, however, that authors abide by the rules regarding publicity. These rules have been designed to protect the interests of both authors and the ESA; advance publicity can undersell the value of our journals and potentially damage the credibility of authors' work. Advance publicity can also result in the misuse or misinterpretation of data, which can be detrimental to ecologists and other researchers as a whole. See Embargo Policy for details. 

Publication Fees and Open Access

Page Charges

Charges of $75.00 per printed page will be assessed on articles accepted for publication. This is about 1/4 of the actual processing and printing costs. All papers (including Special Features and Invited Papers) are subject to page charges unless the author is otherwise informed by ESA.

ESA members without grants, institutional monies, or personal funding may apply for a grant from Society funds by submitting the proper form to ESA Headquarters. ESA grants may cover the charges for no more than 15 pages per author per year printed in Ecology and Ecological Applications or 21 pages per author per year printed in Ecological Meonographs. Page charge grants awarded for co-authored papers will count against the maximum grant for each co-author. (Example: A 15-page grant is awarded for a paper by Smith, Jones, and Baker in the January issue of Ecology. Subsequent papers published in the same calendar year by Jones in Ecological Applications and by Adams and Baker in Ecological Monographs will be ineligible for ESA grants.)

Authors are reminded that many granting agencies allow for an encumbrance of publication charges beyond grant expiration. Advance billing is available upon request. Page charge arrangements are not required until a manuscript is accepted for publication.

Color Charges

Color figures charges are assessed at a rate of $360.00 per figure.

Open Access

Authors who wish to publish their articles as fully open access are now able to do so in Ecological Applications. OnlineOpen, Wiley’s Open Access option in subscription journals, is available to authors of primary research articles who wish to make their article available to non-subscribers upon publication or whose funding agency requires grantees to archive the final version of their article

In addition to publication via Wiley Online Library, authors of OnlineOpen articles are permitted to post the final, published PDF of their article on a website, institutional repository, or other free public server, immediately upon publication. The author, the author's funding agency, or the author's institution pays a fee to ensure that the article is made available to non-subscribers upon publication via Wiley Online Library, as well as deposited in the funding agency's preferred archive.

As the corresponding author of an article, you can decide to publish your article with open access once it has been accepted for publication. Within a few days after acceptance, you will receive an email from Author Services with a link to your 'My Publication' page. From here you can choose for your article to be published OnlineOpen in return for your payment of the open-access publication fee.

The fee is $3,000 for non-members and $2,250 for ESA members.

Page Proofs and Publication

Authors are able to track their manuscript through the production process by registering for Author Services ( for additional information. Approximately two weeks after the manuscript is received by the publisher, the corresponding author will be notified via email that the page proofs have been posted to an online proofing system. Authors are responsible for proofreading. Limit changes to correcting printer’s errors when possible. Return the corrected proof to Wiley within 48 hours.


Reprints may be ordered with page proofs; a link is provided at that time for ordering.

Production Questions

Production questions may be directed to:

Paul Kruger, Production Editor: