Should ocean-drifted seeds be counted as research grade?

Thanks to the ocean carrying a seed, I found out that there is now a research grade baobab observation within the United States, posted last year. Should observations like these be casual instead? The ocean could carry quite an array of things to shore, but that doesn’t confirm their establishment in the local environment.

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If a human didn’t put it there, it’s considered “wild” on iNaturalist.


Yes I know about that, however I feel this is a loophole in the iNaturalist guidelines, it seems contrary to, well, just basic logic that whatever washes up in the United States is treated as native. Numerous freak incidents of organisms washing up on shore have been recorded in reliable sources, such as major news outlets, but no major conservation/environmental organization, whether that be the IUCN, USDA, etc. would record that as part of that organism’s range, as it did not result as part of a sustained population.

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IMHO a drift seed is as natural as an accidental bird. Though unlikely in this case either could be the start of a range extension.


There is no reason for it not to count. Even though this probably won’t happen with the Baobab, the ocean carrying seeds is one of many ways species establish different ranges. It’s no different in this sense than a bird eating a seed from a plant East of a mountain range and pooping it out West of the range, starting a new population of it there. If it was established by natural means, it is wild.


There’s an iNat project for that


On iNat, the term “native” applies to a taxon, and wild/not-wild applies to an individual organism, so they’re not really comparable. For example, I live in the Bay Area. The taxon Quercus agrifolia is native to the area. But if I planted one in my garden, that individual plant would not be considered wild, even though the species is native.


If it has crossed the ocean on its own it is a sort of a native finding even though it is probably no more alive due to the salinity of the sea water.
Instead, in the case it has crossed the ocean by plane inside a baggage as a souvenir it is not wild! ;-)

NB: here there are many observations of cultivated plants that are still unflegged…

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