I am broadly interested in the drivers and consequences of insect population dynamics across managed systems, both agricultural and non-agricultural, across spatial and temporal gradients. My current research focuses on soybean aphid (Aphis glycines), an exotic agricultural pest, and its natural enemies in soybean agroecosystems across Wisconsin. Other research interests include metapopulation theory, nontraditional conservation corridors, restoration ecology, regulatory entomology, and policy applications of population biology for land management and ecosystem service provisioning.
I am also interested in the ethical tradeoffs of agricultural land use and pesticide policy decision-making, as well as the efficacy of interdisciplinary team frameworks and non-science approaches — especially science studies and environmental humanities — for addressing complex environmental issues.
Education and Background
PhD candidate, Zoology
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.
I grew up in the wetlands and on the beaches of eastern New York, where my love for the natural world began. A desire to answer scientific questions of environmental and social importance has led me to ecology research in a wide range of landscapes, from New York, Mississippi, and Alaska to Belarus, India, and Uganda. 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.
Happiest when canoe backpacking or reading with my husband. An avid believer in the saying “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”
I produce and host a science radio show that explores environmental ethics, science policy, STS, and art/science intersections.
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.