Three new faculty members join CABNR

Soils scientist, Benjamin W. Sullivan, Ph.D.
Soils scientist, Benjamin W. Sullivan, Ph.D.

Ben Sullivan, Ph.D. came to Reno from the University of Montana where he was a postdoctoral researcher studying tropical ecosystems ability to fix nitrogen in forest soils. Having initially secured a bachelor of science in forestry at Montana in 2002, Sullivan was inspired to explore how soils affect our world.

Seeing a great opportunity to study carbon-water fluxes in and out of forest for a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, Sullivan was tasked with measuring the soil’s contribution to ponderosa pine forests. From there, Sullivan tackled questions that focused around the effect of primary succession on soils and plants in Arizona’s volcanic fields and received his PhD in 2011.

“I’m really excited about the research opportunities in Nevada,” said Sullivan. “Soils research affects everything from bacterial processes, plant development and community dynamics to atmospheric chemistry,” Sullivan states. One of the first things Sullivan wants to look into is how well do Nevada’s arid soils trap things like methane and other greenhouse gases. Sullivan will be teaching Forest and Range Soils, Soil Physics and is looking forward to filling his lab with graduate students.


Agronomist, Juan K. Q. Solomon, Ph.D.
Agronomist, Juan K. Q. Solomon, Ph.D.

Juan Solomon, Ph.D. was born in the South American country of Guyana and received both his bachelor’s of science degree in agriculture (2000) and graduate level teaching diploma (2005) from the University of Guyana. During that time, Solomon worked for the National Agricultural Research Institute as a research assistant and part-time as a lecturer for the Guyana School of Agriculture.

In 2008, Solomon moved to Starkville, Mississippi to work on both his masters and PhD in agronomy at Mississippi State University. His research interests revolved around pasture management systems and cattle behavior-performance effects. For a postdoctoral project at Louisiana State University, Solomon evaluated mixed grass-legume systems for finishing beef cattle.

Having completed his initial lab setup, Solomon plans on continuing his research into improving market weights for cow-calf operations. He is also looking forward to teaching both Forage Science and Principles of Agronomy at the undergraduate level and a graduate course in Crop Ecology. “It is my hope that students keen on advancing their training in sustainable rangeland forage production come to UNR and join my lab,” said Solomon. “This is a terrific opportunity to help build the knowledge base for large scale sustainable grazing systems in Nevada.”


Agricultural Science Instructor, Tracy Shane, MS
Agricultural Science Instructor, Tracy Shane, MS

Tracy Shane is a third generation Northern Nevadan aggie. Growing up in a local feed store, Shane knew from an early age that she wanted to be involved with agriculture and life on the range. “I am passionate about ag education and take great pride in my students success,” said Shane.

Shane holds a bachelor's degree in Animal Science and a master's degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science, both from the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research has primarily been directed toward rangeland rehabilitation of pinyon-juniper encroachment into sagebrush-grassland ecosystems. Shane is a certified professional in rangeland management and has spent over seven years working for both USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and private consulting companies.

With seven years of teaching higher-ed under her belt, Shane comes to us from Great Basin College in Elko Nevada, where she was a tenured professor in agricultural science. Shane also is an active member of the National Association of Agriculture Educators, Nevada Agriculture Teachers Association, and president of Nevada Cattlewomen’s Association. This year Shane is teaching Livestock Production and Beef Cattle Management.