Renata Solan

Renata Solan

PhD student
Room 319 Birge Hall
solan@wisc.edu

I am originally from New Jersey.  I graduated from Oberlin College in 2006 where I studied Biology (emphasis on plant ecology) and French.  In the spring semester of 2006 I studied abroad in Australia where I researched how cyclone resistance of native rainforest tree species can be predicted using plant traits such as root buttressing, wood density, leaf size and canopy cover.  From there I moved to Berkeley, California where I worked from Dr. David Ackerly studying physiological traits of various vernal pool species. 

In 2008, I decided to apply my background in plant ecology to agricultural systems.  I joined the interdisciplinary Agroecology masters program at UW Madison.  In addition to my ecology-focused research, I was able to take classes across a variety of disciplines including agronomy, botany, soil science and sociology.  My research focused on how to use naturally occurring traits and growth rate of potato cultivars to develop low-input weed management protocol for Wisconsin potato farmers.

I am now pursuing a PhD in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies – Environment & Resources program.  My focus has shifted from industrial to subsistence agricultural systems. I will be studying ecological, cultural, and historical factors that have influenced crop and crop trait selection in Caribbean subsistence agro-ecosystems from the sugar plantation era to the present.  I am co-advised by Drs. Eve Emshwiller and Nancy Langston.