Author Guidelines

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Limnology & Oceanography  employs a plagiarism detection system. By submitting your manuscript to the Journal you accept that your manuscript may be screened for plagiarism.

Manuscript Submission
Copyright Transfer Agreement
Manuscript Review
Types of Manuscripts
Manuscript Assembly
Tables and Figures
Publication Fees and Open Access
Production Questions

Limnology and Oceanography (L&O) publishes research articles, reviews, and comments about all aspects of limnology and oceanography. The journal’s unifying theme is the understanding of aquatic systems. Submissions are judged on their originality and intellectual contribution to the fields of limnology and oceanography. Site-specific studies, laboratory experiments, and modeling exercises will be considered only to the extent they contribute to a broader understanding of aquatic sciences.

Papers that focus on methods should be submitted to L&O’s sister journal Limnology and Oceanography: Methods. If you are unsure about appropriateness for L&O, please contact the Editor-in-Chief ( before submission. Questions about submission or review can be directed to the managing editor, Rachel Yehl (

Manuscript Submission

All manuscripts and related materials should be submitted to L&O  at If you have not already done so, create an account at the submission site by clicking on the “Create an Account” 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 Please review the author guide for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as you compose your article.

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  • Cover Letter: Each manuscript must be accompanied by a cover letter that briefly describes how the work advances understanding in the field. This letter should also describe other manuscripts the authors have published or intend to publish on closely related work and the relationship of the current submission to these other manuscripts. Further, the cover letter should indicate the contributions made by each of the authors to the submission.

  • Manuscript and Graphics: Please submit text, tables, and figures as separate files using the file formats listed below or you may submit your manuscript as a complete PDF file for review purposes. Please make sure figure legends appear below each figure and tables and figures are legible. Upon acceptance, we will ask you to submit files in the formats listed below:

    • Manuscript: Microsoft Word, text, or rtf
    • Tables: Microsoft Word (preferred), Excel, or tab separated text files
    • Figure/image files: TIFF (min 300dpi resolution), EPS (vector graphics), PDF, PPT/PPTX, DOC/DOCX, or AI; the text within in figures/images should have a font size greater than 8 pt to ensure readibility.
  • Supplemental Information: Supplemental information (including data files) 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 hardcopy. Supplemental information is optional.

  • Documentation of Unpublished, Cited Works: If the submitted manuscript refers to unpublished manuscripts not yet in print, copies of these should be included as part of the submission package for the benefit of the reviewers.

  • Conflict of Interest Reporting and ASLO Journal Policy Statement: Sources of research funding should be disclosed in the acknowledgements section of the submission. Other potential conflicts of interest must be reported at the time the manuscript is submitted. The full policy statement regarding the conflict of interest for submissions from the ASLO Board, Publication Committee members, and submission from Editors-in-Chief can be viewed here.

  • Authorship: The specific contribution for each author should be indicated in the cover letter that accompanies the submission. Every person listed as an author should have:

    • contributed substantially to the study’s conception, data acquisition, or analysis;
    • contributed substantially to drafting the manuscript; and
    • approved the final submitted manuscript.

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Copyright Transfer Agreement

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 login 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 on the paper.

For authors signing the copyright transfer agreement:

If the OnlineOpen option is not selected the corresponding author will be presented with the copyright transfer agreement (CTA) to sign. The terms and conditions of the CTA can be previewed in the samples associated with the Copyright FAQs below:
CTA Terms and Conditions

Please be aware of the following:

  • It is the corresponding author's legal responsibility to inform all co-authors of the terms of the CTA and to obtain their written consent to sign on their behalf;
  • If your co-authors are employees of the US, UK, or Canadian governments they will need to sign the CTA themselves (designating themselves as government employees). They may also need to sign and submit any additional agreements that their specific government requires of them. This separate CTA will need to be emailed to the production editor (
  • If your co-authors are "work-for-hire," instruct them to follow the specific instructions on the CTA for that employment designation. Again, if a separate CTA is required, it will need to be emailed to the production editor (

For authors choosing OnlineOpen:

If the OnlineOpen option is selected the corresponding author will have a choice of the following Creative Commons License Open Access Agreements (OAA):

  • Creative Commons Attribution License OAA
  • Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License OAA
  • Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial -NoDerivs License OAA

To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services and visit
If you select the OnlineOpen option and your research is funded by The Wellcome Trust and members of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) you will be given the opportunity to publish your article under a CC-BY license supporting you in complying with Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK requirements. For more information on this policy and the Journal’s compliant self-archiving policy please visit:

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Manuscript Review

Submitted manuscripts will be initially reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief or his designee to verify that the work falls within the scope of L&O and is otherwise appropriate for peer review. Most papers will then be assigned to one of the Associate Editors of the journal who will assign anonymous peer reviewers. During the online submission process, authors have an opportunity to suggest one to three appropriate reviewers; final selection of reviewers, however, is at the discretion of the editor. Suggested reviewers should not have a potential conflict of interest, such as co-authorship within the previous 5 years or employment at the same institution as any of the authors of the submission. Note that reviewers are asked to disclose any potential conflicts of interest.

Language Assistance

The journal is unable to provide extensive editorial assistance regarding English usage and grammar. Authors are urged to seek appropriate editorial assistance before submitting their manuscript for review and to have their submission proofread by a person fluent in English. Wiley Editing Services is one resource for English-language editing. More information can be found at: All services are paid for and arranged by the author, and use of this service does not guarantee acceptance or preference for publication.

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Types of Manuscripts

L&O publishes three types of manuscripts: research articles, reviews, and comments.

  • Research articles generally contain original data, original analyses, or both.
  • Reviews generally do not contain original data but are novel in their synthesis and resulting insights. Authors of potential Reviews are welcome to contact the Editor-in-Chief for guidance before writing their manuscripts.
  • Comments discuss prior publications in L&O  and generally provide alternative interpretations, often involving substantive disagreement with the original publication. The authors of the original L&O  publication are provided an opportunity to respond to comments in the same issue in which they are published. Comments should be short and concise. Prior consultation with the Editor-in-Chief is encouraged before formal submission of a comment to L&O.

General Style Points

Use a 12-point font (Times Roman preferred); double space and left justify everything, including tables, figure legends, and references. Format documents to be US letter size (8.5 × 11 in). Number all pages and number the lines of the text continuously from the first page through the figure legends. Do not number or letter sections of the manuscript.

Titles and subheadings should be brief (55 characters or fewer) and generally should not be complete sentences, but words, phrases, or brief clauses. Only the first word of a title or subheading should be capitalized.

Use an italic font for lower case Greek letters; but use a regular font (i.e., not italic) for upper case Greek letters. Use the same font for the same mathematical symbol regardless of where it appears in the manuscript (text, displayed equations, tables, figures, or figure legends). Do not italicize common Latin terms and abbreviations such as i.e., e.g., in situ, in vivo, and et al.

Cite all figures and tables in the text and number them in the order that they appear in the text.

Cite literature in the text in chronological, then alphabetical, order as shown in this example: “Campbell (1983, 1987b),” “(Smith et al. 1984; Karl and Craven 1988; Korobi 1997, 1998).” In the References section, list citations in alphabetically, then in chronological, order, i.e., Campbell 1983; Campbell 1987b; Karl & Craven 1988; Korobi 1997; Korobi 1998; Smith et al. 1984.

Authors are allowed some leeway in their choice of units, although only metric units should be used and usage should be consistent throughout the manuscript. Whenever non-SI units are used, the conversion to the equivalent SI unit should be given in parentheses upon first use in the text as well as in figure legends. The use of terms such as parts per million (ppm) and parts per billion (ppb) is discouraged, with units such as mg/L or ng/g preferred.

Use exponents to indicate multiplication or division in units, and use (×) for multiplication in equations. To indicate a power of 10, write, e.g., 5 × 10−8 (5E-8 is not acceptable).

Describe any statistical methods in enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader with access to the original data to verify the reported results. Give degrees of freedom for F -tests as subscripts (e.g., F3,4); for other statistics, report degrees of freedom as “df = n” following the test result (e.g., t = 53.4, df = 20). Use italics for symbols representing a statistic: p for probability level, n  for the sample size, r  for the correlation coefficient, R2 to denote the coefficient of determination. (note that r2  = R2 only for a linear regression.)

Use periods after all abbreviations except for metric measures, compass directions, and time (s, min, h, d, yr). Do not abbreviate ‘week’ or ‘month’. Use a 24-hour clock and hh:mm or hh:mm:ss for time of day (i.e., 09:30, 18:24:44).

Use acronyms and abbreviations sparingly. Define each acronym at first mention in the text, and on each table and figure legend, giving the abbreviation or acronym in parentheses. Do not use an acronym for words or phrases if that word or phrase is used fewer than five times in the text, and do not begin sentences with an acronym or abbreviation.

Do not break (hyphenate) words over lines. Do not use footnotes within the text; footnotes can only be used in tables.

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Manuscript Assembly

Arrange the manuscript in the following order: Title Page, Abstract, Text, References, Acknowledgments, Figure Legends, Tables, and Figures.

Title Page

The Title Page should contain the following information: Title of article; authors’ complete names and institutional affiliations (including city, state/ province, and country); a valid institutional email address for each author listed; complete contact information for the corresponding author (including email); running head (not to exceed 40 characters and spaces); 5 to 12 keywords. Use superscript numbers to marry authors to affiliations.


Describe the research, emphasizing results, and conclusions (maximum of 250 words). The abstract contains no citations.


Research articles are generally structured in a conventional format: Introduction, Materials, Results, Discussion, and Conclusions. Authors may combine their Results and Discussion into one section, as appropriate, and need not include the Conclusions section if they deem it redundant with the Abstract. For Comments, the main text should consist of one undivided section, Authors are free to structure the text in Reviews in whatever manner they deem appropriate.

References and Citations

All references cited in the text must appear in the References, and vice versa. An excessive number of citations to support a particular statement is discouraged. L&O encourages citations of both recent literature and the literature that originally establishes an argument.

Double check the spelling of author names and years of publication. List the first eight authors; for nine or more authors, list the first author followed by “and others”.

Manuscripts in preparation, submitted, unpublished theses, or other inaccessible sources should be cited in text by giving the author(s) initial(s), last name(s), and ‘pers. comm.’ or ‘unpubl.’ For example, (A. B. Jones unpubl.) Such materials should not appear in the References.

Papers which are accepted for publication but for which exact publication data are not yet available should be formatted according to the above examples but with the phrase “In press” appearing instead of the year of publication. If a cited paper has been published on line, please refer to it by the year of the online publication and include the accompanying doi number; reference to the final publication, with updated year of publication and volume and page numbers in addition to the doi number is always preferable when possible.

For abbreviations of journal names refer to Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index (CASSI) or Biosis.

Make sure that each citation is complete, according to the following examples:

  • Article: Fenchel, T. 1986. Protozoan filter feeding. Prog. Protistol. 1: 65-113.
  • Articles with a Digital Object Identifier (doi): De Pol-Holz, R., O. Ulloa, L. Dezileau, J. Kaiser, F. Lamy, and D. Hebbeln. 2006. Melting of the patagonian ice sheet and deglacial perturbations of the nitrogen cycle in the eastern South Pacific. Geophys. Res. Lett. 33: L04704, doi:10.1029/2005GL02447
  • Book: Stumm, W., and J. Morgan. 1981. Aquatic chemistry, 2nd ed.Wiley.
  • Chapter: Codispoti, L. A. 1983. Nitrogen in upwelling systems, p. 513-564. In E. J. Carpenter and D. G. Capone [eds.], Nitrogen in the marine environment. Academic.
  • Thesis: Kimmance, S. A. 2001. The interactive effect of temperature and food concentration on plankton grazing and growth rates. Ph.D. thesis. Univ. of Liverpool.
  • Websites: A website may be referred to only if it is associated with an organization that is committed to maintaining it in perpetuity. Websites are referred to only in the text (provide URL and last accessed date) and are not included in the list of references. Personal or university-based websites are not allowed because such websites are prone to disappear when the scientist who created them moves or loses interest in material.


List all sources of funding, received by each author, as well as acknowledgments for assistance that was received during the course of the study.

Figure Legends

List all figure legends on a single page. Give a brief explanation of the figure itself, including each panel and any symbols that may appear in the figures.

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Use Arabic numerals to number each table sequentially in order of their citation in text; table titles should be brief. Start each table on a new page; double-space all information in tables. Format tables so they will fit on a printed page; a 1-column table can be up to 60 characters wide, a 2-column table can be up to 130 characters wide. Tables larger than 130 characters wide should be avoided at all costs. Additional explanatory text, including descriptions of various tests, should be placed as a footnote. Avoid lengthy footnotes.


Figures must be submitted in TIFF (min 300dpi resolution), EPS (vector graphics), PDF (with fonts embedded), PPT/PPTX, DOC/DOCX, or AI format. Do not embed figures in your text 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 lower case letter (a, b, c, etc.). Place this letter in the upper left corner of the figure, outside the figure itself (not in the figure). To ensure the highest reproduction quality, figures should be submitted according to the following minimum resolutions:

  • 1200 dpi (dots per inch) for black and white or color line art (simple bar graphs, charts, etc.)
  • 300 dpi for halftones (black and white or color line photographs)
  • 600 dpi for combination color or halftones (photographs that also contain line art such as labeling or thin lines)
This specification means that a figure which you wish to be printed at a size, for example, of 2 x 2 inches will be 2,400 dots wide (black and white line art), or 600 dots wide (halftone). Vector-based figures (e.g., figures created in Adobe Illustrator) should be submitted in EPS format. Figure sizes should be no more than 5 inches in width and 6 inches in height.

  • General Appearance: Halftones (gray scale images) do not reproduce well. Avoid small dotted lines, shading, and stippling. For bar graphs, use black, white, striped, hatched, or colored designs, but only if they are sufficiently wide or separated in order 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. Make lines on maps bold and distinct and eliminate information not pertinent to the subject. Include symbol and acronym definitions in the figure legend, not on the figure itself. Put scale bars 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 line as a border.

  • Size and Proportion: 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 size (3.5 inches) and a resolution of 300 dpi. The font size on the x and y axes should not be larger than that of the title, and the same font (Arial or Times New Roman is preferred) should be used throughout. Numbers on the x and y axes should be smaller than the descriptive title, which should be 12-point font. Fonts smaller than 12 points are generally not legible when reduced to 1 column size. Use boldface type with care; if illustrations are to be reduced, the letters with open spaces will disappear. Use sentence case (capitalize the first word ONLY) for axis titles, labels, and legends.

  • Shading: Half-tones (gray scale) and stippling do not reproduce well. Occasionally, graphs are composed with four or more half tones that are barely discernible in the original; invariably the difference is lost entirely in print. Diagonal and horizontal stripes, checks, and solid black or white bars reprint well. If many differences must be presented, a color illustration may be the best alternative.

  • Symbols and Lines: Avoid very small symbols (no smaller than 2 mm) on line graphs; print all elements of the graph with the same degree of intensity. In addition to the above guidelines, color figures must be submitted in the CMYK colorspace. See Publication Charges for color prices.

Color charges are assessed on printed figures only (color reproduction online is free of charge). The Editorial Office will review figures submitted in color. If color is "informative" and information conveyed through the use of color will not translate into gray scale, the figure will require color publication in print with associated color page charges. If you do not wish to pay for color figures in print, then you MUST also submit the black and white renderings of your figures for peer review. Our reviewers and editors will determine whether or not the b/w versions are acceptable for print publication.

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Permissions and Copyright

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. Acknowledgement 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. Authors wishing to reprint illustrations or text previously published in L&O should contact

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 24 hours.


Authors should call to the attention of the Editor-in-Chief any significant errors in their published manuscripts as soon as possible after they become aware of these errors. The Editor-in-Chief may authorize the publication of a correction, if the error is relatively minor and was inadvertent. Serious errors or discovery of fraudulent materials in a published paper may result in the retraction of the paper. Limnology & Oceanography follows the Retraction Guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) with regard to any corrections or retractions. An author who submits a manuscript to Limnology & Oceanography for possible publication is assumed to understand and agree with these Guidelines. The Guidelines and further information on publication fraud are available online at

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Publication Fees and Open Access

Page charges will be levied for submitted manuscripts according to the following formula:

  • ASLO member (lead or corresponding author): US$60.50 per typeset page;
  • non-ASLO member (lead or corresponding author): US$90.75 per page.

Please note: if OnlineOpen is selected, the standard publication fees will be waived.

Color charges are assessed on printed figures only (color reproduction online is free of charge). The Editorial Office will review figures submitted in color. If color is "informative" and information conveyed through the use of color will not translate into gray scale, the figure will require color publication in print with associated color page charges.

  • One printed color figure: $US500
  • Each additional figure (up to a total of eight): $50

Open Access

Any author wishing to publish his or her paper as a part of the publisher’s OnlineOpen program, which provides open access for all online readers, may read more about Wiley’s OnlineOpen policy at

OnlineOpen is available to authors of primary research articles who wish to make their article available to non-subscribers on 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 on 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 $1950 for ASLO members and $2500 for non-ASLO members. If OnlineOpen is selected, the standard page charge fees will be waived.


Reprints may be ordered at

Production Questions

Production questions may be directed to the L&O production team (

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Editors’ Choice

Editor's Choice feature is unavailable for this journal

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