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Four Year Anniversary of Species Ecology

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May 1, 2017 by Species Ecology

Four Year Anniversary of Species Ecology

Mohammed Ashraf

Four years ago, on January 30, 2013, I was scribbling notes on my ‘thrown out’ trash paper. The notes were about how to construct an information portal that could serve as a ‘roosting spot’ for professional and semi-professional ecologists, wildlife biologists, students and scholars so that they can sniff out ‘first hand info’ on conservation biology in general and biodiversity conservation in particular. Luckily, I was blessed with some fundamental knowledge on hypertext mark up language or commonly known as HTML but I was linearly struggling to figure out how to put my HTML skills into conservation perspective. In spite of the fact, that my academic background veritably encompass mathematics, computer programming, and wildlife ecology, it was simply an overwhelming cicumincession to pull these skills together. I picked out a book called WordPress for Dummies which was leisurely resting on my book shelf for several months as I never had the chance to read it: Thanks to the life of academia that eat out my soul, make me passionately unsocial and awfully workaholic. I set aside couple of hours on that day and vowed myself that I will read at least few chapters as quickly as I can with the hope of setting up a WordPress based ecological cyberplatform. Before even finishing the second chapter of the book, I got hooked. I had to give a second look to the name of the author as I found her explanations about setting up a weblog- commonly known as blog pretty impressive. I read the preface of the book written by Matt Mullenweg, the name I heard in the past and I already knew he he is the cofounder of the WordPress. I leisurely slung my legs and let them rested on top of my hundred-year-old mahogany desk and continued my reading. By the time I am ready for my ‘fair-trade’ coffee break and to feed my sweetie cat (My cat called Megan is also an avid blogger), I felt that fingers were popping out from my hands like juicy grapes were dropping in the ground of vineyard and ready to be picked up by hard working Californian wine makers (excuse my rather non-analogous metaphor here). Astoundingly, my fingers were performing Lambada dancing on the keyboard. Yes I was excited: thanks to Lisa Sabin Wilson (http://lisasabin-wilson.com/launch-a-wordpress-com-blog-in-a-day-for-dummies/)-the author of the WordPress for Dummies. I immediately got into hardcore business of setting up a blog page in my ancient but sturdy ‘twenty-four-year-old’ IBM notebook that I still use as a BSD-Unix (Barkley Software Distribution of University of California, Barkley) server platform. It took me less than three hours before my web site is up and running: Big thanks to Matt Mullenweg (http://matt.wordpress.com/) and his team who made HTML so easy for folks like me who simply can’t afford the time to delve into writing the mark up language from the scratch to build their website.

Yes, January 30, 2013 was the day when Ecosphere Science (now known as Species ecology) born. It started off as a simple blog page where my original intention was to maintain it as a ‘single handed’ personal blog page where I will be responsible for sharing my thoughts, ideas, passion, ethos and so forth in the direction of ecology and conservation science. Many people in the blogging arena maintain their own blog pages and blogging is now consider as one of the most powerful information portals in the digitally enlightened continents notably North America, Western Europe and Australasia. So, why go for re-inventing the wheel? Good question guys, answer is simple, there is simply not many blog pages dedicated to invoke or point out the difference between scientific information viz-a-viz its implications and an ad-hoc, non-peered, pseudo-semantic, empirical evidences that hangs in the air like a fowl smell of desecrated putrid bovine. Yes, you got it right first time. I am talking about the information outflow. We are living in an era where we are constantly bombarded by ‘over rated’ news media, publications that gutter communities prefer to entertain during their ‘sausage over a coffee’ breakfast, and of course there is that ‘iPad carrying’ half educated journalist communities ready to write up whatever tickle their fancy (with or without the shot of Vodka in their side). Ecosphere Science (Species Ecology) understand the information bias and how it affects society and more importantly how it can ruin the fruits of hard working scientific paper under the influence of ‘ill-cited’ bandwagons; ready to pounce at every steps of your academic or scientific career. Here at Species Ecology, I, instead of making it a personal blog page, turn into academic consultations: thanks to my academic colleagues, well wishers and friends, from across the globe, who when I approached with a neat proposal to develop the site in a synergistic manner, they immediately agreed to put the proposal into pedestal and to join in force to enrich the site.

Here we are, four years of joint collaboration, some challenge and some hard work and pure unsaturated eco-driven dedication, Species Ecology (Ecosphere Science) became one of the most productive and scientifically valid ecological and biodiversity conservation portal within the domain of blogosphere and possibly little beyond too. Collectively we have posted over 100 articles, and all of them were tied to bringing about sustainable development concept one way or another. Despite the fact we have managed to capture no greater than 200 followers who regularly skim through our site, we ended up climbing up to sit at the top ten position in Google search engine rank. Yep folks, we did well.

logo-243-sqSocial media based dissemination of scientific information is becoming very popular among academics, scientists and of course conservation ecologists. And tell me about it, its right about the time. Modern ecological and wildlife scientist cant’ really afford anymore to sit in the Ivory tower preaching hard core demographic model of Dall sheep. Micro blogging by Twitter to share valid scientific information is now a regular ‘coffee-break’ activities as more and more people are gaining access to the power of Android device: thanks to GNU-Linux (GNU is not a Unix) operating system that harness the power of freedom of information and freedom to share, based on the UNIX philosophy of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) by Richard Stallman and developed by Linus Torvalds in early 90s when I started writing small codes in Unix. As the market prices of tablet devices are tunneling down, ordinary ‘non-white’ people can now afford the luxury of sitting in a ‘ramshackle’ dusty ‘tin-canister-like’ bus in Mogadishu and blog away and Ecosphere Science will always be there to share knowledge with these people.

Let’s just hope we can keep up the good work as a ‘great-team’ and hopefully by the end of 2017, nearly around our 5th anniversary, we would able to double or quadruple our popularity, promotion and publication rate.

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