John 'Buck' Banks, Ph.D.

Professor ; Graduate Faculty
Banks, John 'Buck'

Contact information

Dept: Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Room: SCI 214
Phone: 253-692-5838
Schedule: On sabbatical


  • Ph.D., Zoology, University of Washington, 1997.
  • M.S., Applied Mathematics, University of Southern California, 1990.
  • B.A., Mathematics, Pomona College, 1986.


Using a mixture of field experiments and mathematical models, I have been exploring issues associated with the interplay of managed and natural ecosystems for the past two decades. Most of my research deals with ways of improving both agricultural production/practices and the conservation of biological diversity; I am particularly interested in how land use and anthropogenic disturbance affects organisms. In agricultural settings, I have done field work and models exploring how mixes of crop and natural vegetation affect crop pests and their natural enemies.

Recently I have been exploring how life history traits may drive population responses to anthropogenic disturbances such as pesticide exposure. Recent international fieldwork projects include sustainable coffee production and biodiversity in Costa Rica, and the ecological interactions of birds, arthropods, and elephants in the dry tropical forests of coastal Kenya. I teach courses in biology, ecology and entomology in the Environmental Science/Studies offerings in Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, and have recently served as the Director of both the Office of Undergraduate Education and the Office of International Programs at UW Tacoma.


My research focuses on the interface between conservation biology and agricultural production. Trained as a quantitative ecologist, I am especially interested in combining lab and field data with mathematical and statistical models to explore how we might better conservation biological diversity while also facilitating food production. I work in both temperate and tropical systems, with recent/current projects going in Costa Rica (sustainable coffee production) and Kenya (wildlife conservation in coastal forests). I often invite UWT undergraduates to help with data collection, analysis, and write-up of results for these projects - I am especially interested in working with students with a keen interest in applied ecology, some experience with field biology (esp. entomology), and quantitative methods/statistics.


I teach a range of field, lab and lecture courses mostly focused on applied ecology - this includes field courses in restoration ecology, lecture/lab courses in entomology/ecology, and international field courses in sustainability (Costa Rica, Kenya).

Selected Publications

  • "Banks, J.E., Stark, J.D., Vargas, R.I., and A.S. Ackleh. In Press. Deconstructing the surrogate species concept: a life history approach to the protection of ecosystem services. Ecological Applications.
  • Macfadyen, S., Banks, J.E., Stark, J.D., Davies, A.P. 2014. The use of semi-field studies for examining the effect of pesticides on mobile terrestrial invertebrates. Annual Review of Entomology, In Press.
  • Banks, J.E., Hannon, L., Hanson, P., Dietsch, T., Castro, S., Urena, N., and M. Chandler. 2013. Effects of proximity to forest habitat on hymenoptera diversity in a Costa Rican coffee agroecosystem. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 89(1): 60-68.
  • Banks, J.E., Jackson, C.M., Baya, A., Minella, H., Nitz, M., Hitchcock, J., and D. Bruinsma. 2012. Forest type preference of an Afrotropical thrush (East Coast Akalat, Sheppardia gunningi sokokensis) in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Kenya. Ostrich 83(2): 105-108.
  • Banks, J.E., Stark, J.D., Vargas, R.I., and A.S. Ackleh. 2011. Parasitoids and ecological risk assessment: Can toxicity data developed for one species be used to protect an entire guild? Biological Control 59: 336-339.
  • Banks, J.E., Jackson, C., Hannon, L.M., Thomas, C.M., Baya, A., and L. Njoruge. 2010. The cascading effects of elephant presence/absence on arthropods and an Afrotropical thrush in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Kenya. African Journal of Ecology 48(4): 1030-1038.
  • Banks, J.E., Bommarco, R., and B. Ekbom. 2008. Population response to resource separation in Conservation Biological Control. Biological Control 47: 141-146.
  • Banks, J.E., Dick, L.K., Banks, H.T., and J.D. Stark. 2008. Time-varying vital rates in ecotoxicology: selective pesticides and aphid population dynamics. Ecological Modelling 210: 155-160.
  • Banks, H.T., Banks, J.E., Dick, L.K., and J.D. Stark. 2007. Estimation of dynamic rate parameters in insect populations undergoing sublethal exposure to pesticides. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 69: 2139-2180.
  • Gold, W., Ewing, K., Banks, J.E., Groom, M., Hinckley, T., Secord, D., and D. Shebitz. 2006. Collaboration in restoration ecology. Science 312 (5782): 1880-1881.
  • Adams, B.M., Banks, H.T., Banks, J.E., and J.D. Stark. 2005. Population dynamics models in plant-insect herbivore-pesticide interactions. Mathematical Biosciences 196: 39-64.
  • Banks, J.E. 2004. Divided culture: integrating agriculture and conservation biology. Frontiers in Ecology & the Environment 2(10): 537-545.
  • Banks, J.E. and J.D. Stark. 2004. Aphid response to vegetation diversity and insecticide applications. Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment 103(3): 595-599.
  • Stark, J.D., Banks, J.E., and R.I. Vargas. 2004. How risky is risk assessment? The role that life history strategies play in susceptibility of species to pesticides and other toxicants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101:732-736.
  • Banks, J.E. and C.L. Yasenak. 2003. Effects of plot vegetation diversity and spatial scale on Coccinella septempunctata movement in the absence of prey. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 108:197-204.
  • Bommarco, R. and J.E. Banks. 2003. Scale as modifier in vegetation diversity experiments: effects on herbivores and predators. Oikos 102: 440-448.
  • Stark, J.D. and J.E. Banks. 2003. Population-Level Effects of Pesticides and Other Toxicants on Arthropods. Annual Review of Entomology 48: 505-519.
  • Stark, J.D. and J.E. Banks. 2001. ""Selective pesticides": are they less hazardous to the environment? Bioscience 51: 980-982.


  • Affiliate Member, Invertebrate Section, Department of Zoology, National Museums of Kenya, September 2010 - present.
  • Affiliate Associate Professor, Department of Plant, Soil & Entomological Sciences, University of Idaho, Spring 2010 - present.
  • Associate Adjunct Professor of Forest Resources - University of Washington, Seattle, Winter 2010 - present.
  • Member of Ecological Society of America, Entomological Society of America, Society for Conservation Biology, Ecological Society for Eastern Africa, Pacific Coast Entomological Society, Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Professional Service

  • Member, Natural Heritage Advisory Board, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, 2010-present.
  • Ad-hoc reviewer of manuscripts for grant proposals, including National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and European Science Foundation , and scientific journals including African Journal of Ecology, Animal Biology, Animal Conservation, American Naturalist, Biopesticides International, Ecology, Ecological Applications, Oecologia, Oikos, Annals of Applied Biology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Environmental Entomology, Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, Canadian Entomologist, Journal of Parasitology, Functional Ecology, Journal of Applied Ecology, Behaviour, Pan-Pacific Entomology, Landscape & Urban Planning,, European Journal of Entomology, Agricultural and Forest Entomology, Agroforestry Systems.

Honors and Awards

  • University of Washington Distinguished Research Award, 2005