While there are a great many citation styles, scientists often use the style adopted by whatever journal they are submitting their articles to or the style of the journal they find most useful in their topic. For example, Dr. Downing publishes in the journal Ecology and uses the style seen if the reference sections of their articles. All scientific journal citation styles are based on the standard CSE (Council of Science Editors) Guide. While CSE is the citation style most frequently used in the biological sciences, you may use the style recommended by Dr. Downing, such as the one used in Ecology.
Providing citations to the work of others you use to create your paper shows that you are using information ethically and honestly. The basic tenet, "if you didn't know it before you said it, you have to cite it" applies to all academic scholarship. Citing sources gives credit where credit is due and provides the reader with a "trail of breadcrumbs" which they may use to both learn more about your topic and to follow your line of reasoning. Citing your sources shows that you have done the work and that you respect the intellectual property of the people you cite. Not citing your sources is an act of academic dishonesty and can have grave consequences to both your academic career and your academic reputation.
Each academic discipline tends to have its own separate citation style, often modeled after the core journals in its field. The Biological Sciences use the format developed by the Council of Science Editors, known as CSE Style and utilizes name-date nomenclature.
This guide, prepared by The Ohio State University Libraries, gives clear examples of how to prepare the citations for your paper. Examples of in text and reference list citations are given.