Like graphs, tables report data from multiple measurements and are most appropriate when the authors wish to show actual numerical values, to report data with no trends, or to present data with certain statistical comparisons. In most instances, short tables (i.e., those with a small number of cells) are to be avoided; those data are better reported as narrative in the Results. Each table should be self-explanatory without reference to the text.
Tables are numbered consecutively with an Arabic numeral based on the order that they are first mentioned in the text. The word Table is always spelled out in full. The rules for mentioning Tables in the text are the same as those for mentioning figures. For example: Table 1; (Tables 1,2), (Tables 1-4). However, unlike figures, tables should not be grouped together to make composites. Tables would typically not be mentioned in the Discussion.
The actual tables are presented immediately after the Literature Cited section, beginning on a new page, under the heading TABLES (in capital letters and centered on the page). Each table is on a separate page, but not a separate file (i.e., the tables are part of the text file for the manuscript). See an example of a formatted, hypothetical table here.
Each table begins with a descriptive title. This is written in paragraph style, with the first line indented, and may be one or more sentences. Avoid inclusion of material in the table title or in column captions that would be more appropriate in footnotes. Linnaean binomials should be spelled out in full at first mention in the table title, or spelled out in a footnote if it must be abbreviated in the actual table.
A printed Journal page is 174 mm x 240 mm, arranged as two 85 mm wide columns. Although tables should be designed with these dimensions in mind, the actual tables will be type set by the Journals printer so it is not necessary to scale them exactly. What is important, however, is that the numbers and symbols in the columns be clearly and unambiguously assigned to that column. For this reason, authors are strongly encouraged to use the table-making feature of your word processor, rather than inserting spaces or tabs. Do not insert any vertical lines.
It is important to distinguish the major parts of the table. Insert a single line to separate: 1) the table from the legend; 2) the table subheadings from each other; 3) subheadings from the body of the table; 4) and the body of the table from the footnotes.
Footnotes are used when their information will not fit into the logical structure of the table and the essential information is not readily available in the accompanying text. Superscript lowercase letters, e.g., a,b,c, are preferred signs directing readers to the footnotes of a table. The assignment of footnote letters to column headings is hierarchical from upper left to lower right. The first line of each footnote is indented, and each footnote ends with a period. The symbols *, **, and *** are reserved for statistical probability levels (do not use them as footnote symbols).
Authors should be thoughtful in the use of numerical values and units and should follow the Units of Measure and the Technical Style Glossary guides. Use exponents as appropriate, and round numbers to sensible values rather than expressing non-significant digits.