Dr Tracey Hamston

UK Conservation Officer

1985-1988: BSc Biological Sciences, Polytechnic Southwest, Plymouth
2006-2009: MSc Biological Recording and Data Management, University of Birmingham
2010 – 2017: PhD Evolutionary relationships between endemic Sorbus species, University of Exeter

Based at Paignton Zoo

[email protected]

Role and research interests

My main role is to help deliver the UK conservation programme, which comprises several specific projects plus associated research. This involves working closely with partners to help develop and conduct conservation projects, sourcing funds and reporting to project funders. As part of the research component of these projects I supervise BSc and MSc students to undertake ecological research. This includes the monitoring and evaluation of conservation management and habitat restoration on our reserves.
I have a keen interest in the natural history of the British Isles, particularly plants and their interactions with other species. Key topics of interest include pollination ecology, molecular ecology, botanical recording and habitat restoration techniques.
My research skills are a mixture of field survey experience and analytical techniques.

Professional Activity

I am part of the Molecular Ecology and Evolution Group at the University of Exeter, where I studied reproductive ecology and evolutionary mechanisms of endemic Whitebeams (Sorbus). I also chair the BIAZA Native Species Working Group, which aims to encourage zoos to engage in UK conservation.


Management evaluation of WWCT reserves

Ecology and genetics of rare, endemic whitebeam species

Species recovery of Strapwort, a critically endangered plant

Hazel dormice reintroduction

White-clawed crayfish reintroduction and awareness-raising

Bog hoverfly eDNA


1) Hamston, T.J., 2017. Evolutionary relationships and reproductive ecology of endemic Sorbus species in south west UK: Implications for conservation. (PhD thesis). University of Exeter. http://hdl.handle.net/10871/26715

2) Hamston, T.J. et al., 2017. Breeding system and spatial isolation from congeners strongly constrain seed set in an insect-pollinated apomictic tree: Sorbus subcuneata (Rosaceae). Scientific Reports, 7, p.45122. Full text available at: http://rdcu.be/rJGC

3) Hamston, T.J., Pellicer, J. & Fay, M.F., 2015. Polyploid wild service tree: first record of a triploid Sorbus torminalis (Rosaceae) in Britain. New Journal of Botany, 5(1), pp.34–36.