April Armstrong, BSc

Forest Pathology Technician

April Armstrong

Email: april.armstrong@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Tel: +44 (0)300 067 5900
Tel direct: +44 (0)300 067 5909
Fax: +44 (0)131 445 5124

Address:
Forest Research
Northern Research Station
Roslin
Midlothian EH25 9SY
UK

April graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a BSc in Biological sciences with honours in plant science focusing on plant pathology. She went on to work in the agricultural pathology lab at Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) contributing to research on the Infection strategy of Ramularia collo‐cygni in barley and alternative graminaceous hosts. April joined the NRS pathology team at Forest Research in September 2013.

Current role

Forest Pathology Technician

April carries out diagnostic work and provides information for the Tree Health Diagnostic Advisory service (THDAS).

She also assists with research on Chalara dieback of ash, focusing particularly on the fruiting of Hymenoscyphus fraxineus and the dissemination of its spores in order to gain a better understanding of the factors influencing the current spread of the pathogen.

April has previously worked on the distribution, morphological characterisation and growth rate of Phytophthora austrocedri. She continues to investigate the capability of this pathogen to infect Juniperus communis berries as a potential method of spread.

Current programmes

Delivering resilient forests - Managing biotic threats - Advice and support for pest and disease management

Advisory pathologist

Diagnosing the causes of disease in forest and amenity trees and providing advice to enquirers in the public and private sectors on tree health.

Understanding Biotic Threats - Surveillance and detection

Assisting in developing and applying techniques to aid the surveillance and detection fungal pathogens with a particular focus on trapping and quantifying spore inoculum of the ash dieback pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. Developing a method for spore DNA extraction and quantification using qPCR.

Assessing the epidemiology of Phytophthora austrocedri infecting Juniperus communis berries as a potential route of disease transmission.

Previous projects

Distribution, morphological characterisation and growth rate of Phytophthora austrocedri See publication list.

Anthropogenic influences on the transmission of Phytophthora ramorum via mountain biking and walking in Scottish forests

FR supervisor of BSc Honours project in conjunction with Stirling University.

Affiliations

  • Member of the British Society for Plant Pathology

Main recent publications and knowledge exchange activities

Peer reviewed journal publications

Henricot, B., Pérez-Sierra, A., Armstrong, A., Sharp, P. M., Green, S. 2017. Morphological and genetic analyses of the invasive forest pathogen Phytophthora austrocedri reveal two clonal lineages colonised Britain and Argentina from a common ancestral population. Phytopathology (In Press) 

Kaczmarek, M., Piotrowska, M.J., Fountaine, J.M., Gorniak, K., McGrann, G.R.D., Armstrong, A., Wright, K.M., Newton, A.C. and Havis, N.D. (2016). Infection strategy of Ramularia collo‐cygni and development of ramularia leaf spot on barley and alternative graminaceous hosts. Plant Pathology.

Green, S., MacAskill, G.A., Dun, H., Armstrong, A.C., Henricot, B. (2016). First report of Phytophthora austrocedri infecting Nootka cypress in Britain New Disease Reports 33, 21.

Green, S., Elliot, M., Armstrong, A. and Hendry, S.J. (2015). Phytophthora austrocedri emerges as a serious threat to juniper (Juniperus communis) in Britain. Plant Pathology, 64(2), pp.456-466.

Books, book chapters and published conference proceedings

Green, S., Elliot, M., Armstrong, A., Hendry, S.J. (2015). Phytophthora austrocedri emerges as a serious threat to juniper (Juniperus communis) in Britain. Proceedings of the 7th Meeting of IUFRO WP 7.02.09 Phytophthora in Forests & Natural Ecosystems, Esquel, Argentina November 10-14th 2014. In Press.

Elliot, M., Schlenzig, A.,Harris, C.M.,  Meagher, T.R., Green, S. (2015). An improved method for the qPCR detection of three Phytophthora spp. in forest and woodland soils in northern Britain. Forest Pathology 45, 537-539. (Acknowledged contribution)

Outreach, newsletter and trade publications

Armstrong, A. (2014) An ecological assessment of Ramularia collol-cygni infection in different temperate plant species. BSPP News.