Cactus and gaïacs at the heart of a scientific mission

Maxence Morel

Maxence Morel, a Master’s degree student at the University of Corte, studies the integrated management of the littoral and ecosystems.

An intern at the Réserve Naturelle from February through July 2016, he is basing his work on the study of cactus and gaïac trees, under the supervision of Caroline Fleury. His mission is to make a chart of protected species, and also to study the health of the Melocactus intortus (Turk’s Head cactus) at the sites of Cactus Place and Babit Point. This particular cactus has been threatened since 2011 by the Cactoblastis caterpillar and its butterfly. This insect, present in Saint Barthélemy where it has done a great amount of damage, was imported in 1957 to Nevis. Morel looked at three quarters of the cactus on Tintamare and he was able to identify the Opuntia rubescens, a species of protected cactus that had not been known to exist on the small island of Tintamare. Also in Tintamare, especially on the cliffs, but also around North Cove, there are more than 100 gaïac trees, which are only found in Saint Martin in non-developed hilly areas.

Le cactus Opuntia rubescens

All articles from: Newsletter-25

Better Knowledge About Protected Areas And Protected Species

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