Meet the team
Dr Amy Plowman, Director of Conservation, Research and Advocacy
Although I originally trained as a population geneticist, my main research activity is now in animal nutrition, focusing on nutrient analysis of zoo diets, formulation of optimal diets based on nutrient requirements and foraging behaviour and new technology for diet management. I am also interested in research into encouraging human behaviour change for conservation and how the WWCT and its zoos can best contribute to this.
Dr Holly Farmer, Zoo Research Officer
My research focuses on captive animal welfare, in particular the implementation and evaluation of environmental enrichment and animal training. I also coordinate research into bioacoustics, the performance of and function of animal vocalisations, and the influence of captivity on vocal behaviour. My research focuses on providing evidence to support management practices and maintaining the welfare of captive animals. My role as animal registrar for the zoo complements my research through coordination of husbandry evidence.
Dr Kathy Baker, Zoo Research Officer
My main research focus is the construct of personality in non-human animals, and in particular whether this research can be used to enhance the management and welfare of captive animals. I also lead the Human Conservation Behaviour Change research theme which works towards evaluating conservation education methods used at the WWCT zoos and reserves.
I am a committee member of the SHAPE-UK-Ireland Regional committee and I am based at Newquay Zoo.
Dr Andrew Bowkett, Field Conservation & Research Programmes Manager
I am interested in a wide range of fields relating to conservation including molecular ecology, the natural history of African forest mammals, ecological survey methods and the effectiveness of different conservation project management approaches. I manage overseas regional conservation programmes for WWCT and help coordinate research themes across different department activities.
I am also affiliated to the Molecular Ecology and Evolution Group at the University of Exeter, where I studied the conservation genetics of forest antelope, and a member of the BIAZA Field Programmes Committee.
Tracey Hamston, UK Conservation Officer
I focus on research that can be applied to conservation of biodiversity. I have a keen interest in the natural history of the British Isles, particularly plants and their interactions with other species. Research is vital to underpin our reserve management, habitat restoration and WWCT species recovery programmes. Key topics of interest include pollination ecology, molecular ecology, botanical recording and restoration techniques.
I am part of the Molecular Ecology and Evolution Group at the University of Exeter, where I study reproductive ecology and evolutionary mechanisms of endemic Whitebeams (Sorbus). I am also vice-chair of the BIAZA Native Species Working Group.
Joanna Bishop, Assistant Lecturer
My current research interests focus on the effects of predictability and routine on the behaviour of captive animals, investigating patterns of animal behaviour in a range of species. I am also developing qualitative techniques to enable data collection of animal behaviour by multiple observers.
My other research interests include behavioural husbandry (with a focus on carnivores, particularly felids), environmental enrichment, positive reinforcement training and zoo visitor behaviour, as well as recent work on reptile and amphibian behaviour.