Personal profile


Trained as a quantitative ecologist, John "Buck" Banks has been exploring issues associated with the interplay of managed and natural ecosystems for the past three decades. He is particularly interested in how anthropogenic factors such as pesticide use and landscape use affect organisms - especially invertebrates important for ecosystem services - and employs a combination of field studies and mathematical models to explore these issues and others pertaining to insect ecology, biological control and predator-prey population dynamics in agroecosystems, ecotoxicology, and the conservation of biological diversity. International projects include fieldwork in Costa Rica (biodiversity in rainforest and farmland; sustainable coffee production) and Kenya (ecological restoration, interactions of birds, arthropods, and elephants) as well as an ongoing collaboration studying ecosystem services as an August T. Larsson Guest Researcher with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala, Sweden. From 2018-2022 he was a Science Policy Fellow with the Entomological Society of America, working with partners in Washington D.C. to promote continued/improved support for science in the United States.  

Dr. Banks serves as the Director of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC) at CSUMB, where he has the privilege of working with a dynamic group of staff, students, and faculty mentors engaged in authentic, discovery-based research and creative scholarship. He also serves as the Project Director of the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement (McNair Scholars) Program on campus, as well as the subaward PI and campus co-coodinator for the CSU Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program at CSUMB; he is also a member of the Program Oversight Committee for the statewide CSU alliance (CSU-LSAMP). 

Prior to coming to California State University, Monterey Bay in 2015, Dr. Banks spent 16 years as a faculty member and administrator on the primarily-undergraduate Tacoma campus of the University of Washington. As Professor of Environmental Science, he taught courses in biology, ecology, and entomology, and developed and led study-abroad research courses in Costa Rica and Kenya; he also served as Director of International Programs and Director of Undergraduate Education.

Related documents

Education/Academic qualification

Zoology, Ph.D., University of Washington - Seattle Campus


Applied Mathematics, M.S., University of Southern California


Mathematics, B.A., Pomona College


External positions

Professor, University of Washington Tacoma

Jan 1 1999Jan 1 2015


  • Life Sciences
  • Agriculture
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Entomology
  • Mathematics