Sidnie Manton Award: submit your proposal now

Early career ecologist? If you have an idea for a Review or Long-term Studies in Animal Ecology paper, we invite you to submit a short abstract and be in with a chance of winning our next Sidnie Manton Award.

Proposals will be assessed by the journal Editors and successful applicants will be invited to submit a manuscript to Journal of Animal Ecology. Submitted manuscripts will then go through our usual peer review process and, of those published, an overall winner will be selected.

The British Ecological Society and Journal of Animal Ecology have long-championed the research of early career* ecologists and, through the Sidnie Manton Award, we aim to continue this tradition. Meet the most recent winners of the award, Diego Ellis Soto and Kristy M. Ferraro, here. Following on from their winning paper, Diego and Kristy also collated the Virtual Issue, Animal-vectored subsidies.

If you’d like some tips for writing Reviews or Long-term Studies, don’t miss our free-to-read Editorial, Time counts in Animal Ecology.

Submit your proposal for the Sidnie Manton Award here.

Deadline: 17 February 2023

The winning paper will feature prominently in the journal and the recipient of the award will receive £250, a 12-month membership of the British Ecological Society (BES) and free registration for the BES Annual Meeting if they choose to attend to present their current research.

*Early career is defined as less than five years post- Ph.D. or -D.Phil. experience according to the date of your graduation certificate. Reasonable exceptions will be considered (e.g. for parental leave or a substantial shift in research area).

Writefull trial announced for Journal of Animal Ecology

We are delighted to announce that we have integrated the language editing software, Writefull, into the online submission system of Journal of Animal Ecology 

Writefull is an automatic proofing and editing AI tool trained on published articles from STEM subject areas. It screens text for correctness of grammar, spelling, vocabulary and punctuation, as well more subtle language issues such as style, word order, and phrasing. Submitting authors will be able to use this service free of charge at the initial point of submission via our submission site, or manuscripts can be recommended for screening by Writefull when a final decision is sent out.  

The expectation for authors to publish in English can be a significant barrier for researchers whose native language is not English. It can also lead to significantly longer times in peer review if Editors also have to return papers to authors where the language isn’t of the required standard. 

By integrating Writefull into our submission system, we will be able to offer greater language and writing support for those that need it and, by offering it earlier in the review process, provide training opportunities and greater confidence for author groups without a fluent English-speaker. 

We are constantly looking at ways to improve the experiences of our authors, reviewers, Associate Editors and Senior Editors – we hope that this change will benefit these audiences whilst at the same time contribute to our ongoing work to support a more diverse community of ecologists.

Shortlist Announced for Elton Prize Early Career Researcher Award

Each year Journal of Animal Ecology awards the Elton Prize to the best Research Article in the journal by an early career researcher. Today we present the shortlisted papers for this year’s award, based on the 2021 (90th) volume of the journal.
The winner will be selected in the coming weeks so follow the blog and watch this space for future announcements!
This year’s shortlisted candidates are:

Cristina Botías, Multiple stressors interact to impair the performance of bumblebee Bombus terrestris colonies

Ellen Brandell, Group density, disease, and season shape territory size and overlap of social carnivores

Joseph Burant, Early warning indicators of population collapse in a seasonal environment

Félicie Dhellemmes, Personality-driven life history trade-offs differ in two subpopulations of free-ranging predators

Phoebe Edwards, A mechanism for population self-regulation: Social density suppresses GnRH expression and reduces reproductivity in voles

Emily Le Sage, Preparatory immunity: Seasonality of mucosal skin defences and Batrachochytrium infections in Southern leopard frogs

Tamika Lunn, Spatial dynamics of pathogen transmission in communally roosting species: Impacts of changing habitats on bat-virus dynamics

Kate Pereira Maia, Interaction generalisation and demographic feedbacks drive the resilience of plant–insect networks to extinctions

Allison M. Roth, Sexual selection and personality: Individual and group-level effects on mating behaviour in red junglefowl

The Peer Review Process for the British Ecological Society journals

This time last year the British Ecological Society Publications team surveyed all researchers that had either submitted a manuscript to or reviewed a manuscript for, one or more of the five BES Journals.

A key recommendation from the survey was to provide more detail on the peer review process for the BES Journals. As it is Peer Review Week and the theme is transparency we thought this was a great opportunity to breakdown the peer review process that the BES Journals use and make it more transparent,  we have done this by providing a summary of the peer review process on the BES journals hub page. Below I have summarized this process for Journal of Animal Ecology: Continue reading

What makes a great paper for Journal of Animal Ecology?

In this video Executive Editor Ken Wilson discusses what he is looking for from a great paper for Journal of Animal Ecology. The message from Ken is that papers must have a clear structure, clear message, clear narrative & be genuinely novel.

Ken goes onto discuss our popular feature papers including Synthesis and ‘How to…’ papers. Ken discusses how synthesis papers are reviews focused on long term cases studies of particular systems or environments  while ‘How to…’ papers are methodological papers aimed at readers new to to a field and are designed as a guide of how to us a particular technique.

If you are interested in submitting a Synthesis or ‘How to…’ paper our guidelines for these paper types can be found here. If you would like to discuss a proposal please contact the editorial office at

The Future of Data Archiving

At the BES Annual Meeting 2015 in Edinburgh, a lively debate was held on the future of data archiving. The debate was recorded and the video can be viewed here.

The British Ecology Society (BES) has been mandating the archiving of data for all papers published in its journals since January 2014, so with the mandate having been in place for over 2 years this was a good opportunity to take stock of the impacts and look to the future. While it is recognised that data archiving presents both financial and time costs to researchers, the benefits of data preservation and validation of results help to advance science. The aim of the debate was to provide the opportunity for researchers to debate the pros and cons of data archiving in an open format. Continue reading