An open-content, electronic journal published by the Animal Demography Unit
at the University of Cape Town


Biodiversity Observations is a semi-scientific e-journal published by the Animal Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town. During its first six years of life it was published as Ornithological Observations (volumes 1 to 6).

Biodiversity Observations accepts papers containing faunistic information about biodiversity. This includes descriptions of distribution, behaviour, breeding, foraging, food, movement, measurements, habitat and colouration/plumage. It will also consider for publication a variety of other interesting or relevant biodiversity material: reports of projects and conferences, annotated checklists for a site or region, specialist bibliographies, and any other interesting or relevant material. Papers should be the original work of the author(s) named. Submissions should be reader-friendly to specialists and nonspecialists alike and accessible to readers for whom English is not the first language. Biodiversity Observations use UK spelling.

Editorial process: Papers are published online on the Biodiversity Observations website after they have been accepted by the editor. An editorial advisory committee will assist the editor in screening papers for publication. Papers are not refereed or peer-reviewed.

Formatting: The template provided on the Biodiversity Observations website should be used to submit papers in the "suggested final" form – the editor may edit the submission. Look at papers on the website to see the style that is followed. Each paragraph should start flush left (no tabs or indents) and paragraphs must be separated by a line space. Authors are requested to try to use the heading formats supplied in the template. Double quotations are used, with single quotations to highlight a quote within a quote.

Photos, drawings and tables: Images should be clear and of high quality and provided with clear, descriptive captions in italics below the image, numbered Figure 1, Figure 2, etc. Images must form part of the "suggested" layout of the submitted paper and in jpg format. All images must also be submitted as separate files with the paper. Colour and line drawings should be scanned and saved at 300 dpi and submitted as separate jpg files. If tables and histograms (with captions) form part of the document and it should also be submitted separately as Excel (.xls) files.

Common names should be followed by the scientific names in italics when used the first time in the text. In the case of birds the journal uses the list of names as published by BirdLife South Africa. Acronyms and abbreviations should be defined in parentheses the first time it is used in the text. Thereafter the short form is sufficient. Metric units with the decimal comma should be used in the text. Dates in the text should be in the long form – 1 August 2010 – and time given in the 24-hr format. There should be one space between sentences, and one space between a digit and a unit term (e.g. 5 kg, 5 cm). No space before %. The ampersand "&" may not be used. Ranges should be indicated with a hyphen, e.g. 1985-2001, except in situations such as the "2007/08 breeding season".

References should be added alphabetically at the end of the paper. Correct punctuation should be used. Footnotes should not be used as a form of referencing.
• Names of authors should appear in the order they appear in the source and be in bold.
• No use of the "&" between names of authors. Titles of books and journals are not italicised. Journal titles should be given in full.
• Refer to the samples below for the reference patterns for a journal article, a book, a book chapter and an online document

Brooke RK, Prins AJ 1986. Review of alien species on South African offshore islands. South African Journal of Antarctic Research 16: 102–109.
Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ, Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. 7th edn. John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.
Crawford RJM 1997. Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus. In: Harrison JA, Allan DG, Underhill LG, Herremans M, Tree AJ, Parker V, Brown CJ (eds). The Atlas of Southern African Birds Vol 1. Non-passerines. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg: 462–463.
Author AA, Author BB 2003. Title of document. [Title and details of online journal – if applicable]. Available from: full web address/URL (Accessed on dd.MM.yyyy).

Editorial process, enquiries and submissions for publication please refer to:

Downloads:       |        MS Word Template for submissions: 2007 format    |     Pre-2007 format