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Patterns of irrigated rice growth and malaria vector breeding in Mali using multi‐temporal ERS‐2 synthetic aperture radar

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We explored the use of the European Remote Sensing Satellite 2 Synthetic Aperture Radar (ERS-2 SAR) to trace the development of rice plants in an irrigated area near Niono, Mali and relate that to the density of anopheline mosquitoes, especially An. gambiae . This is important because such mosquitoes are the major vectors of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, and their development is often coupled to the cycle of rice development. We collected larval samples, mapped rice fields using GPS and recorded rice growth stages simultaneously with eight ERS-2 SAR acquisitions. We were able to discriminate among rice growth stages using ERS-2 SAR backscatter data, especially among the early stages of rice growth, which produce the largest numbers of larvae. We could also distinguish between basins that produced high and low numbers of anophelines within the stage of peak production. After the peak, larval numbers dropped as rice plants grew taller and thicker, reducing the amount of light reaching the water surface. ERS-2 SAR backscatter increased concomitantly. Our data support the belief that ERS-2 SAR data may be helpful for mapping the spatial patterns of rice growth, distinguishing different agricultural practices, and monitoring the abundance of vectors in nearby villages.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 2: Department of Organismic Biology, Ecology and Evolution, University of California, Los Angeles, California 3: Malaria Research and Training Center, Faculté de Médecine, de Pharmacie et d'Odonto‐Stomatologie, Université du Mali, Bamako, Mali 4: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Publication date: 2006-02-10

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