18th Oct 1934- 19th May 2008
ALIEN INVASIVE SPECIES: foreign species, which, when introduced to a new environment, cause economic or environmental harm. They can cause a significant change in an ecosystem by altering wildlife habitat and displacing native species.
WEED: any wild plant, particularly an unattractive or undesired plant, which grows where it is not wanted
WEED SCIENCE: the study of the characteristics of weeds and methods of controlling their spread
Dr. John Hammerton co-authored with Jacques Fournet of Guadeloupe, the book entitled Weeds of the Lesser Antilles, written in French and English.
Caribbean Icons in STI Volume 2
Dr John Hammerton was the Chief Scientist to the Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology (BEST) Commission. He conducted environmental impact studies and played a key role in the protection of the natural landscape in The Bahamas. He was also an authority on alien invasive species and environmental conservation in that country.
Born on 18th October, 1934 in Reading, England, Hammerton attended St. Alban’s primary and grammar schools. After obtaining excellent grades in his A’ Level Examinations, he pursued his bachelor’s degree in agriculture at the University of Reading. He went on to the University of Wales in Aberystwyth, where he obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 1959. He remained at the university as a lecturer for several years. In 1969, he accepted a lecturing post at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine, Trinidad.
In 1970, Hammerton moved to Jamaica to work at the Regional Research Centre (RRC) as a research fellow. In 1975, he joined the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and served as head of the Jamaica unit. His work focused on the control and elimination of weeds. A year later, he transferred to Belize to set up a CARDI unit.
Dr Hammerton went on to work in other CARDI-associated Caribbean islands, sharing his knowledge and expertise. in St. Lucia, he served as a member of the Pesticides Control Board. In The Bahamas, he held numerous positions including Assistant Director of the Department of Agriculture and Chief Scientist to the BEST Commission, and was a member of the Bahamas National Trust. He published many papers in scientific journals and was also active in educating the general public on environmental protection.
After his retirement, he continued to serve on many boards including the Committee on the Convention for Trade in Endangered Species.
Dr John Hammerton advised students that agriculture “… is a very satisfying field, perhaps not as well paid as other areas of study but it is truly people-oriented and rewarding.”
He passed away on 19th May, 2008.