Mosquito Alert and the Marimurtra Botanical Garden continue their collaboration in various experiments related to the tiger mosquito
Marimurtra, due to its climatic characteristics and the great plant biodiversity it contains, requires variable water inputs. All in all, it generates habitats very similar to the natural ones of the tiger mosquito. For this reason, it becomes an ideal place for carrying out Mosquito Alert experiments. It should be noted that Marimurtra applies treatments to prevent the proliferation of this invasive species with very good results, and yet it is still a very suitable natural laboratory to carry out this type of study.
The following studies are currently being conducted:
1.Study of the dynamics of tiger mosquito populations throughout the season through the deployment of a series of traps to monitor the adult mosquito population in the Garden. These traps are part of a more extensive network of traps throughout the province of Girona. The aim is to have data on the population dynamics of the mosquito in the province to understand the climatic factors, land uses (urban, garden, urbanization, etc ..) and sociodemographic that determine the abundance of mosquitoes.
2.Study of the population structure of the tiger mosquito in the garden and its survival. Experimentally, it is being studied in the garden how long a tiger mosquito lives and the demographic structure of its populations, this is done by comparing the survival rates of an experimental population born in a laboratory whose age is known, and wild individuals caught in the garden.
The survival study is important because the tiger mosquito is a vector (ie, transmitter) of disease. Therefore, determining the length of time mosquitoes live allows us to better understand the potential for transmission of these diseases.
3.Analysis of the treatments that are being done to control the proliferation of tiger mosquitoes and determine how these treatments affect the mosquito population.
4.Study of the human-mosquito interaction network. The goal is to analyze how many people can be bitten by a tiger mosquito from the genetic study of blood found inside female mosquitoes. Genetics makes it possible to find out if the blood corresponds to one, two or more different people and therefore to know how many different people a female can bite.
It is very interesting to determine what the network of interactions of the tiger mosquito is because there is not much scientific information about it and it will be possible to determine the potential for transmission of the diseases of which the tiger mosquito is a vector.
This pioneering study is done by relating the DNA in the blood in the abdomen of the female mosquito to the DNA of people who donated it to do this study. This way, you can know how many different people the mosquito has bitten and how many times it has bitten the same person.
5.Installing a smart trap. This trap works with artificial intelligence and is able to identify mosquitoes that enter it from the sensors it contains.
With these experiments, the Marimurtra Botanical Garden continues to collaborate with the Mosquito Alert project to better understand the behavior of the tiger mosquito and its impact on the human population. You can find more information about the tiger mosquito in Marimurtra by clicking here.
Conversation between Pau Bosch, designer and builder of the insect hostel, and Jordi Fàbregas, Master Gardener of the Marimurtra Botanical Garden
During 2020, the second Marimurtra insect hostel was installed in the Braun-Blanquet lake area, in the 3rd Garden (the first is located right next to the organic garden).
An insect hostel is a typical element of the gardens that fulfills many functions at the same time.
On the one hand, it offers shelter and a space to nest the pollinating insects in the garden and, therefore, it helps those insects that participate in the reproductive function of plants to find a safe and welcoming space to carry out their task. Continuing with biodiversity, it must be said that an insect hostel brings variety and biological richness to a garden precisely because it is designed from the point of view that a garden is much more than its plants, and to understand it, many other important layers must be taken into account: from the soil itself to the animals (insects, amphibians, birds, etc.) that inhabit it. In other words, the insect hostel is also part of the narrative that has led Marimurtra to quit using synthetic chemicals to respect and enhance biodiversity, human, animal and plant health and, ultimately, pave the way towards a world without products that can be harmful to life on the planet.
In the case of the insect hostel at Lake Braun-Blanquet, it can be seen that it contains two different types of spaces: holes and plant elements. The holes are the really interesting part for pollinating insects (solitary bees, etc.) as it offers them a place to nest and lay their eggs. The different plant elements that the hostel contains, on the other hand, serve as shelter for insects that find safety in the insect hostel.
Finally, we must highlight the landscape value of an insect hostel like Marimurtra’s, which becomes an outstanding element of the Botanical Garden, also becoming an aesthetically remarkable piece, with a unique design and made with proximity materials that perfectly integrate with Marimurtra.
We invite you to discover every corner of the insect hostel of the Marimurtra Botanical Garden.
Recently a project has been started in Marimurtra to adapt a space in the Garden that over time has gone from being an area closed to the public to a busy area, it is the area that separates the organic garden from the main road. The collection of fruit trees in Marimurtra is currently being increased and this space has been chosen for a pomegranate plantation. These trees, which are low and deciduous, will allow the garden to receive more light when it needs it most, in winter. Of the 9 varieties of pomegranates (Punica granatum) in Marimurtra, 7 have been planted in this area, 4 of edible fruit (Mollar, Negral, Tendral Xàtiva and Provence) and 3 ornamentals (Lagreiliae, Luteum plenum and Maxima rubra).
The original plantation consisted of Chilean palms (Jubaea chilensis) and cypresses (Cupressus sempervirens), forming an intermittent fence with these two species. To accentuate the separation there was a thuja fence (Platycladus orientalis). Thus, only one side was visitable and the back, the current area of the organic garden, was accessible only to gardeners.
20 years ago, the palm grove was remodeled and an old orchard was removed. From here, and the need to offer visitors a picnic and rest area, access opens to the inner area of the fence. This area was remodeled in 2016 by building a dry stone wall that structures the entire space and dividing the new vegetable garden into terraces. The tuia fence is removed and a chicken coop, an aromatic plantation and an insect hotel are built.
One of the cypress trees was cut down due to the shade it casts on the area of the organic vegetable garden and the storm Gloria knocked down a second cypress tree. The rest of the cypress trees that were naturally lost have not been replaced. The last cypress, already quite old, was removed due to the renovation of the space.
So, currently, we will find in this space a combination of Chilean palms and pomegranate varieties. Experience tells us that these trees have a good growth in the Garden and in addition, the leaves and flowers are very pleasing to the eye. And let’s not forget the grenades! That apart from the goodness of the fruits, they are a natural spectacle of autumn and winter that we can all enjoy very soon in the Marimurtra Botanical Garden!
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