My dissertation uses soybean aphid (Aphis glycines) and its natural enemies to ask questions about landscape and climate impacts on crop pests, beneficial insects, and pest management practices. I am broadly interested in the drivers and consequences of insect population dynamics in managed systems, both agricultural and non-agricultural, across spatial and temporal gradients.
Other research interests include metapopulation theory, nontraditional conservation corridors, restoration ecology, and regulatory entomology. I am also interested in combining rigorous scientific research with non-science approaches — especially science studies and environmental humanities — to address complex environmental issues.
Education and Background
PhD candidate, Zoology
Minor: Science & Technology Studies
Graduate Trainee, Novel Ecosystems IGERT
B.S. Cornell University, summa cum laude
Majors: International Agriculture & Rural Development; Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Thesis: Ladybird beetles in corn fields: interactions of generalist predators and landscape patterns at multiple spatial scales. Advisor: Alison Power.
Before joining the Gratton lab, I worked with the US Department of Agriculture Farmer-to-Farmer program in Eastern Europe and as a staff scientist for the US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticides in Washington DC, as well as the Office of International & Tribal Affairs. I have conducted environmental science research in a wide range of landscapes, from New York, Mississippi, and Alaska to Belarus, India, and Uganda.
Selected Peer Reviewed Publications
Amelia C. Perillo, Christopher J. Kucharik, Timothy D. Meehan, Shawn P. Serbin, Aditya Singh, Philip A. Townsend, Kaitlin Stack Whitney, Claudio Gratton. 2015. Use of insect exclusion cages in soybean creates an altered microclimate and differential crop response. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 208 50–61.
Kaitlin Stack Whitney. 2015. “Manoomin – the taming of wild rice in the Great Lakes region.” Arcadia. ISSN 2199-3408
O’Rourke, Megan E., Kaitlin Rienzo-Stack, and Alison G. Power. 2011. A multi-scale, landscape approach to predicting insect populations in agroecosystems. Ecological Applications 21:1782–1791.
Atwood, Donald; David Brassard, Nikhil Mallampalli, Kaitlin Rienzo-Stack, Derek Berwald, and TJ Wyatt. 2010. Qualitative assessment of the impacts of risk management strategies for endosulfan on multiple crops: extending restricted entry intervals and cancellation (DP #372055). United States Environmental Protection Agency, EPA-HQ-OPP-2002-0262-0161.
Selected Digital & Public Scholarship
“6 Misconceptions About Saving the Bees.” American Scientist, Macroscope. June 16, 2015. (invited)
“Reptiles and rewilding: a conversation with naturalist Harry Greene.” Edge Effects. May 5, 2015.
“Conservation canines: the ultimate wildlife trackers.” Sage magazine. April, 2015. (print edition)
“The Future Relics of Daniel Arsham.” Edge Effects. January 8, 2015.
“The Secret Pot-Growing Operations in America’s Cornfields.” The Atlantic. September 2, 2014.
Moving beyond homelessness: storytelling of place and belonging. UW Public Humanities Exchange / MMSD Transitional Education Program. May 3, 2014.
Safer Water through Square Dancing. WID Emerging Interfaces. May 11, 2012.
Happiest when outside. An avid believer in the saying “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” I also co-produce and host a science radio show where my beat is environmental studies, science policy, STS, and art/science intersections.
On campus: Wisconsin Ecology Group, Center for Culture, History, and Environment, Holtz Center, Science & Technology Studies, Novel Ecosystems IGERT, and at times: GreenHouse, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Emerging Interfaces Award, Public Humanities Exchange In town: Perpetual Notion Machine – Science Collective of WORT 89.9 FM, Recycling Away from Home At large: Ecological Society of America, Entomological Society of America, Graduate Women in Science, Beta Chapter, Women in Technology Sharing Online