A good early coloniser and stabilizer of sand dunes in that case. Is not transported by animals as is said in the article; the plant is salt tolerant with floating seeds, able to cross the ocean alone with the sea currents
Ipomoea are normally poisonous (not eaten by most animals) but this species has some medicinal uses. Used as poultice from Brazil to Australia to alleviate cuts, it seems.
There is a second species also. Monocot in this case. I'm not able to identify it with that photo but Spinifex would be my first try (even better to fight against erosion and keep the soil in place).
Note that Ipomoea batatas is sweet potato is a staple throughout the world and is very delicious, especially the purple-skinned, cream-fleshed variety. The young leaves can also be cooked and eaten.
Convolvulaceae is a sister family to Solanaceae, and share their fondness for making some pretty evil alkaloids. Ipomoea (and other related genus) work often with lysergic acid derivatives. From LSD to vasoconstrictor or even gangrenous substances.
It's incredible that this happens within the course of a human lifetime. It really puts the sense-of-wonder behind all those Polynesian myths and stories in perspective.
Here's another example of an ambitious project in the Netherlands to create an artificial archipelago in the former Zuiderzee, which has been a lake for nearly a century.
I was surprised to learn recently that Barn Owls are one of the most prevalent avian species across the whole world:
>> The barn owl is the most widespread landbird species in the world, occurring in every continent except Antarctica. Its range includes all of Europe (except Fennoscandia and Malta), most of Africa apart from the Sahara, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Australia, many Pacific Islands, and North, Central and South America.
To give you some idea of how widespread this species is, there are Barn Owls on the Desertas Islands, (SE of Madeira), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertas_Islands. These islands are as dry as the name suggests and are little more than rock with short grass. There is a plentiful supply of (introduced) mice and lizards however.
For a species that (supposedly) does not disperse very far from their natal area, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/German_Lopez-Iborra/pub..., they certainly get around.
Next stop Antarctica.
Here's a related article about scientists learning about water erosion on Mars by observing the island from afar:
Also it's kinda silly. There is no shortage of natural nature.
If we purposefully colonized it I'd like to know if we could make it permanent. It's not very often you get the chance to restore some rain-forest without pissing somebody off, even if it is a small token effort.
You see, it would have to weave the coconuts together with saliva and fiber strands from the husks, like a floating nest-raft. Then it would have to ride the southbound East Australia side of the south Pacific gyre to the Antarctic circumpolar, get off at the northbound Benguela side of the south Atlantic gyre, cross west on the equatorial currents, and catch the northbound Gulf Stream side of the north Atlantic gyre, and bear left at the North Atlantic Drift. Then it would have to bear right at the Outer Hebrides, shoot between Orkney and Shetland, and try to make landfall at Norfolk. It could raise its wings in favorable winds, or flap around a bit in still air. Certainly doable for an experienced seabird.
full-size image: https://blogs.nasa.gov/earthexpeditions/wp-content/uploads/s...