Marine Fisheries

Genomics, Conservation and Behavior


Our lab focuses on applying advances in ‘omics to turn challenges arising from change apparent today into opportunities that promote and couple socially just and vital marine fisheries that are sustained through ongoing generations of fish and people. Our success results from long-term commitment of leadership supporting our front seat, central location poised on the shores of one of the world’s most healthy, productive ecosystems and our highly collaborative mode of operation.

We continue to learn how best to seek and realize synergies among fisherman, state and federal agencies, faculty, staff and students from diverse cultures, perspectives, and disciplines, all collectively forwarding our best towards vital marine futures. Mentoring youth interested in career futures that address our primary motives is key to who we are and our commitment to improve understanding of processes important to improved management, utilization and conservation of marine fisheries livelihoods they support.

More specifically we focus on genetic characterization of natural populations, fishery subjects and aquaculturally important species, and application of ‘omic tools to learn how fish (or other creatures important to the fishery food chain) orient in space and time, and relative to olfactory and other stimuli, and how findings relate to their interaction for mating, migration, and other aspects of their thriving in response to environmental variability and change.

We continue to study mate choice among fish of commercial and recreational importance to the state of Oregon (so far in rockfish and salmon), and include some pdfs on this research. We also worked with Oregon State Productions and Luhui Whitebear to create a video that combined culture, art and science in communicating this research to others –It has three awards and has been viewed by 42,469.


Over the years, one of the favorite activities visitors have experienced in the Genetics wing during Marine Science Day has been the Strawberry DNA Extraction.  Here you will find instructions to do a Strawberry DNA Extraction with materials you can find at home.

Directions: DNA Isolation from Strawberries (PDF)

There are also a couple of helpful YouTube videos to go with this activity:

Photos Of Our Research

Lab staff centrifuging for RNA sequences.

A female’s eggs are stripped (removed from her abdomen) and mixed in a bucket with milt (sperm) from a single male. 

Male and female pairs of coho salmon (Onchorhynchus kisutch) lined up for spawning at Sandy hatchery. 

Student donning a survival suit during safety practice on the RV Shimada for copepod sampling.

Members of the Marine Fisheries Genomics, Conservation and Behavior lab along with staff from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on spawning day at Sandy Hatchery. 

Three coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kistuch) with floy tags in their dorsal fins. These floy tags are uniquely numbered allowing for identification of individual fish. 


Michael Banks
Professor, Oregon State University
Costal Oregon Marine Experiment Station

Email | Website