David Hamilton

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David Hamilton

Adjunct Researcher
School of Natural Sciences

Room 219 , Life Sciences Building

+61 3 6226 1561 (phone)

Dr David Hamilton is an Adjunct Researcher with the University of Tasmania, as well as a Conservation Ecologist with the Tasmanian Land Conservancy. Working across both organisations helps him apply a behavioural ecology lens to conservation management practices in Tasmania.


David completed his PhD at the University of Tasmania in 2019, investigating the impact of behaviour on the spread of a transmissible cancer (devil facial tumour disease, DFTD) through Tasmanian devil populations. This research greatly increased our understanding of one of the most challenging factors to elucidate in wild populations of animals affected by a disease – the influence of behaviour.

Prior to this, David had conducted research on Gouldian finches and frillneck lizards in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, as well as meerkat social evolution in South Africa, and seabird populations in his native Scotland. Currently David is employed as a Conservation Ecologist by the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC), running ecological monitoring on TLC’s reserves and conducting applied research, often in affiliation with UTAS researchers, that contributes towards TLC’s land management practices.

General Responsibilities

Behavioural ecologist studying social networks in Tasmanian devils.

Career summary



Thesis Title



Date Awarded


Behaviour, social networks and transmission of devil facial tumour disease

University of Tasmania





Edinburgh Napier University



BSc (Hons)

Characterising genetic differences between red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) and willow grouse (Lagopus lagopus) using AFLP analysis

University of Aberdeen




Professional practice

  • Australian Mammal Society
  • Ecological Society of Australia
  • Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour
  • Society for Conservation Biology

View more on Mr David Hamilton in WARP


David’s research interests lie at the intersection of behavioural ecology and conservation biology, in particular how understanding of animal behaviour can facilitate effective conservation strategies.

Current projects

  • Experimental translocations to understand and combat declines of eastern quolls.
  • Activity patterns of long-nosed potoroos in different predation landscapes.

Fields of Research

  • Animal behaviour (310901)
  • Behavioural ecology (310301)
  • Genomics (310509)
  • Population ecology (310307)
  • Genetics (310599)
  • Biological adaptation (310403)
  • Conservation and biodiversity (410401)
  • Environmental epidemiology (420203)
  • Ecology (310399)
  • Biogeography and phylogeography (310402)
  • Vertebrate biology (310914)
  • Photogrammetry and remote sensing (401304)

Research Objectives

  • Terrestrial biodiversity (180606)
  • Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments (180602)
  • Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences (280111)
  • Rehabilitation or conservation of terrestrial environments (180604)
  • Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences (280102)
  • Other health (209999)


Total publications


Journal Article

(13 outputs)
2021Bell O, Jones ME, Cunningham CX, Ruiz-Aravena M, Hamilton DG, et al., 'Isotopic niche variation in Tasmanian devils Sarcophilus harrisii with progression of devil facial tumor disease', Ecology and Evolution, 11, (12) pp. 8038-8053. ISSN 2045-7758 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/ece3.7636 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Jones ME; Cunningham CX; Ruiz-Aravena M; Comte S; Hamede RK


2021Cunningham CX, Comte S, McCallum H, Hamilton DG, Hamede R, et al., 'Quantifying 25 years of disease-caused declines in Tasmanian devil populations: host density drives spatial pathogen spread', Ecology Letters, 24, (5) pp. 958-969. ISSN 1461-0248 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/ele.13703 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 19Web of Science - 17

Co-authors: Cunningham CX; Hamede R; Brook BW; Jones Menna


2021Kozakiewicz CP, Fraik AK, Patton AH, Ruiz Aravena M, Hamilton DG, et al., 'Spatial variation in gene expression of Tasmanian devil facial tumors despite minimal host transcriptomic response to infection', BMC Genomics, 22 Article 698. ISSN 1471-2164 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1186/s12864-021-07994-4 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Ruiz Aravena M; Hamede R; Jones ME


2020Boutry J, Dujon AM, Gerard AL, Tissot S, Macdonald N, et al., 'Ecological and evolutionary consequences of anticancer adaptations', iScience, 23, (11) Article 101716. ISSN 2589-0042 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2020.101716 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 10Web of Science - 10

Co-authors: Hamede K; Ujvari B


2020Egan SL, Ruiz-Aravena M, Austen JM, Barton X, Comte S, et al., 'Blood parasites in endangered wildlife-trypanosomes discovered during a survey of haemoprotozoa from the Tasmanian devil', Pathogens, 9, (11) Article 873. ISSN 2076-0817 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/pathogens9110873 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Comte S; Hamede RK; Jones ME


2020Hamilton DG, Jones ME, Cameron EZ, Kerlin DH, McCallum H, et al., 'Infectious disease and sickness behaviour: Tumour progression affects interaction patterns and social network structure in wild Tasmanian devils: Sickness behaviour in Tasmanian devils', Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287, (1940) pp. 1-7. ISSN 0962-8452 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2020.2454 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 11Web of Science - 8

Co-authors: Jones ME; Cameron EZ; Hamede RK


2020Kozakiewicz CP, Ricci L, Patton AH, Stahlke AR, Hendricks SA, et al., 'Comparative landscape genetics reveals differential effects of environment on host and pathogen genetic structure in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) and their transmissible tumour', Molecular Ecology, 29, (17) pp. 3217-3233. ISSN 0962-1083 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/mec.15558 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Ruiz Aravena M; Hamede R; Jones ME


2020Patton AH, Lawrance MF, Margres MJ, Kozakiewicz CP, Hamede R, et al., 'A transmissible cancer shifts from emergence to endemism in Tasmanian devils', Science, 370, (6522) Article eabb9772. ISSN 0036-8075 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1126/science.abb9772 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 10Web of Science - 10

Co-authors: Hamede R; Ruiz Aravena M; Comte S; Taylor RL; Jones ME


2019Fraik AK, Quackenbush C, Margres MJ, Comte S, Hamilton DG, et al., 'Transcriptomics of Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) ear tissue reveals homogeneous gene expression patterns across a heterogeneous landscape', Genes, 10, (10) Article 801. ISSN 2073-4425 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/genes10100801 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Comte S; Jones ME; Hamede R


2019Hamilton DG, Jones ME, Cameron EZ, McCallum H, Storfer A, et al., 'Rate of intersexual interactions affects injury likelihood in Tasmanian devil contact networks', Behavioral Ecology, 30, (4) pp. 1087-1095. ISSN 1045-2249 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arz054 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 17Web of Science - 17

Co-authors: Jones ME; Cameron EZ; Hamede RK


2017Pepper M, Hamilton DG, Merkling T, Svedin N, Cser B, et al., 'Phylogeographic structure across one of the largest intact tropical savannahs: Molecular and morphological analysis of Australia's iconic frilled lizard Chlamydosaurus kingii', Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 106 pp. 217-227. ISSN 1055-7903 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.09.002 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 8


2016Merkling T, Hamilton DG, Cser B, Svedin N, Pryke SR, 'Proximate mechanisms of colour variation in the frillneck lizard: geographical differences in pigment contents of an ornament', Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 117, (3) pp. 503-515. ISSN 0024-4066 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/bij.12672 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 12Web of Science - 11


2014Doody JS, James H, Ellis R, Gibson N, Raven M, et al., 'Cryptic and complex nesting in the yellow-spotted monitor, Varanus panoptes', Journal of Herpetology, 48, (3) pp. 363-370. ISSN 1937-2418 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1670/13-006 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 27


Chapter in Book

(1 outputs)
2022Waudby HP, Turner JP, Coulson G, Taggart DA, Bengsen AJ, et al., 'Wildlife Capture Methods', Wildlife Research in Australia, CSIRO Publishing, B Smith, HP Waudby and CA Alberthsen (ed), Australia, pp. 108-149. ISBN 9781486313457 (2022) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]


(1 outputs)
2019Hamilton DG, 'Behaviour, social networks and transmission of devil facial tumour disease' (2019) [PhD]

[eCite] [Details]

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Social networks, behaviour and transmission of facial tumour disease in the Tasmanian devil (2015 - 2017)$19,200
This project wilt investigate contact networks and behaviours associated with infection risk in wild Tasmanian devils, and how these translate to bltin inuries and transmission d namics of Devil Facial Tumour Disease DFTD
Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment ($19,200)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Hamede Ross RK; Jones ME; Cameron EZ; Hamilton DG
2015 - 2017