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Tree Health diagnostic and Advisory Service.  To provide an effective, efficient and impartial disease diagnostic and advisory service on tree health.

Caroline graduated from the University of Bristol with a BSc (Hons) in Botany, going on to carry out her PhD on the biocontrol of bluestain fungi using Cartapip under the tutelage of Joan Webber at Alice Holt. She then worked at the Royal Horticultural Society as a pathologist in the Advisory Team for 6 years. Caroline joined the THDAS team in 2014.  In addition to providing diagnostic services, Caroline attends public events such as the Arb Show, Royal Welsh Agricultural Show and APF to deliver presentations about tree diseases and lead guided walks discussing pests and diseases.  She also contributes to the Observatree citizen science project.  Caroline represented the Advisory pathology team on Countryfile in November 2022 Forest Research on BBC Countryfile – Forest Research. In recent years Caroline has become involved with the Living Ash Project, challenging potentially tolerant ash trees with the Ash Dieback fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus.  Caroline has expertise in isolating the chestnut blight fungus, Cryphonectria parasitica which has supported the management of outbreaks of this serious disease.

Caroline has been heavily involved in the procurement of capital equipment for the quarantine Holt Laboratories as well as a mobile laboratory which was commissioned to support field work for outbreak responses.

Key research topics and responsibilities:

  • Response to tree health enquiries
  • Provision of site visits to private properties (chargeable) and Forestry Commission arboreta
  • Extension work supporting Observatree and attending trade events
  • Promotion of good biosecurity practices
  • Expertise in Hymenoscyphus fraxineus
  • Cryphonectria parasitica sample processing, diagnostics, and storage

Other recent projects:

  • Assessment of culture and insect collection potential and development at FR
  • Procurement of capital equipment
  • Supporting research for regulated organisms
  • Design and commissioning of mobile laboratory to support field diagnostics
  • Design of prep and culture labs
Caroline Gorton staff photograph

Caroline Gorton

Tree health

Forest Research

Alice Holt Lodge



GU10 4LH


Other Research

Advisory and extension

Involved in Observatree

Peer reviewed journal articles

Romon Ochoa, Pedro & Lewis, Alex & Gorton, Caroline & Van der Linde, Sietse & Pérez-Sierra, Ana. (2022). Effects of Growth Medium, Temperature and Mycelium Age on CHV-1 Accumulation and Transmission. Forest Ecology and Management. 529. 120705. DOI:10.1016/j.foreco.2022.120705

Romon Ochoa, Pedro & Forster, Jack & Chitty, Ruth & Gorton, Caroline & Lewis, Alex & Eacock, Amy & Kupper, Quirin & Rigling, Daniel & Pérez-Sierra, Ana. (2022). Canker Development and Biocontrol Potential of CHV-1 Infected English Isolates of Cryphonectria parasitica Is Dependent on the Virus Concentration and the Compatibility of the Fungal Inoculums. Viruses. 14. 2678. DOI:10.3390/v14122678

Romon Ochoa, Pedro & Kranjec Orlović, Jelena & Gorton, Caroline & Lewis, Alex & Van der Linde, Sietse & Pérez-Sierra, A. (2021). New detections of chestnut blight in Britain during 2019‐2020 reveal high Cryphonectria parasitica diversity and limited spread of the disease. Plant Pathology. 71. DOI:10.1111/ppa.13523

Shuttleworth L, Lewis A, Gorton C, Pérez-Sierra A (2020). Dendrostoma luteum.  Persoonia – Fungal Planet Description Sheets.  44. 383. DOI:10.3767/persoonia.2020.44.11

Pérez-Sierra, A. & Van der Linde, Sietse & Romon Ochoa, Pedro & Jones, B. & Gorton, C. (2020). First report of Cryphonectria parasitica on abandoned galls of Dryocosmus kuriphilus on sweet chestnut in the United Kingdom. New Disease Reports. 41. 34. DOI:10.5197/j.2044-0588.2020.041.034

Romon Ochoa, Pedro & Gorton, Caroline & Lewis, Alex & Van der Linde, Sietse & Webber, Joan & Pérez-Sierra, A. (2019). Hypovirulent effect of the Cryphonectria Hypovirus 1 in British isolates of Cryphonectria parasitica. Pest Management Science. 76. DOI:10.1002/ps.5644

Pérez-Sierra, A. & Romon Ochoa, Pedro & Gorton, C. & Lewis, Alex & Rees, Helen & Van der Linde, Sietse & Webber, Joan. (2018). High vegetative compatibility diversity of Cryphonectria parasitica infecting sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) in Britain indicates multiple pathogen introductions. Plant Pathology. 68. DOI:10.1111/ppa.12981

Drakulic, Jassy & Gorton, Caroline & Pérez-Sierra, A. & Clover, Gerard & Beal, Liz. (2017). Associations Between Armillaria Species and Host Plants in U.K. Gardens. Plant Disease. 101. DOI:10.1094/PDIS-04-17-0472-RE

Lewis, Alex & C, Gorton & Rees, Helen & Webber, Joan & Pérez-Sierra, A. (2017). First report of Gnomoniopsis smithogilvyi causing lesions and cankers of sweet chestnut in the United Kingdom. New Disease Reports. 35. 20. DOI:10.5197/j.2044-0588.2017.035.020

Pérez-Sierra A., Gorton C., Lewis A., Kalantarzadeh M., Sancisi-Frey S., Brown A.V., Hendry S. 2015. First report of shoot blight caused by Sirococcus tsugae on Atlantic cedar (Cedrus atlantica) in Britain. DOI:10.1094/PDIS-04-15-0378-PDN

Henricot, B., Gorton, C., Denton, G., and Denton, J. 2008. Studies on the control of Cylindrocladium buxicola using fungicides and host resistance. Plant Dis. 92:1273-1279.

Pérez Sierra, A. and Gorton, C. 2005. Survival of honey fungus in wood and bark chip mulches. The Plantsman 4, 204-207.

Gorton, C., Seong Hwan, Kim, Henricot, B., Webber, J., Breuil, C. (2004) Phylogenetic analysis of the bluestain fungus Ophiostoma minus based on partial ITS rDNA and beta-tubulin gene sequences. Mycological Research 108(Pt 7):759-765

Gorton, C. and Webber, J.F. (2000) Reevaluation of the Status of the Bluestain Fungus and Bark Beetle Associate Ophiostoma minus Mycologia 92, (No. 6): 1071-1079