Syama Chatterton

Image Syama Chatterton
Research Scientist

Plant pathologist for pulse and special crops

Current research and/or projects

Decision support system for Aphanomyces root rot of pea (AAFC A-base project), 2018 - 2021

Cover cropping as part of a rotation stragegy to reduce pea root rot and other management options (Alberta and Saskatchewan Pulse Growers), 2017 - 2021

Epidemiology of chocolate spot of faba bean (Alberta Pulse Growers, Western Grains Research Foundation, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, and SK Ministry of Agriculture), 2017 - 2020

Breeding, physiology and agronomy to mitigate yield loss caused by root rots of pea (Canadian Pulse Science Research Cluster), 2018 - 2023

Optimizing disease management strategies for white mould and bacterial blights of dry bean (Canadian Pulse Science Research Cluster), 2018 - 2023


Research and/or project statements

My research program is aligned with AAFC sector strategies to increase agricultural productivity, and reduce threats to the value chain. Aphanomyces root rot is an increasing threat to pulse production in Alberta and Saskatchewan. New techniques, based on molecular pathogen quantification in soils, combined with integrated crop management practices to reduce losses in peas and lentils due to root rots are being developed. Foliar diseases, such as white mould and bacterial blights, also continue to reduce the yield potential of pulse crops. By screening breeding lines for disease reactions in the greenhouse and disease nurseries, breeders can improve productivity by incorporating improved resistance into elite cultivars thus reducing the impact of biotic stresses.  

Professional activities / interests

Mon programme de recherche concorde avec les stratégies sectorielles d’Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada (AAC) qui visent à améliorer le rendement agricole et à réduire les menaces qui guettent la chaîne de valeur. La nécrose racinaire précoce du pois, causée par le champignon Aphanomyces, représente un risque croissant pour la production de légumineuses à grains en Alberta et en Saskatchewan. Nous travaillons à la mise au point de nouvelles techniques basées sur la quantification moléculaire des pathogènes présents dans le sol combinées à des pratiques intégrées de gestion des cultures afin de prévenir les pertes associées à la nécrose des racines dans les cultures de pois et de lentilles. Les maladies foliaires, comme la pourriture à sclérotes et la graisse bactérienne, inhibent toujours le potentiel de rendement des légumineuses à grains. En examinant la réaction aux maladies des lignées généalogiques présentes dans les serres et les pépinières de recherche, les sélectionneurs peuvent améliorer la productivité en insérant des gènes de résistance accrue dans les cultivars d’élite, réduisant du même coup l’impact des stress biotiques.

Education and awards

Ph.D. Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 2010

M.Sc. Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, 2002

B.Sc. (Hons.) Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 1999



Outstanding Young Researcher, Canadian Phytopathological Society, 2018

SFU President’s PhD Research Stipend, 2009

H.R. MacCarthy Bursary in Pest Management, 2009

SFU Graduate Fellowship, 2007 - 2009

Biocontrol Network PhD Scholarship, 2003 – 2006

NSERC - Postgraduate Scholarship B, 2003 - 2005      

NSERC - Postgraduate Scholarship A, 1999 – 2002

Key publications

  1. Foroud NA, Subramaniam R, Goyal RK, Ryabova D, Pordel R, Eranthodi A, Chatterton S, Kovalchuk I. The effect of ethylene signalling on host-response in the Fusarium graminearum-wheat interaction. Canadian Wheat Alliance Science and Business Meeting. Saskatoon SK, CANADA, November 8-9, 2017. Poster Presentation.

    2017 - View publication details

  2. Foroud NA, Ryabova D, Goyal RK, Eranthodi A, Pordel P, Yao YT, Kovalchuk I, Chatterton S. Ethylene mediated resistance to Fusarium head blight and seedling blight of wheat. 38th Annual Meeting of the Plant Pathology Society of Alberta. Drumheller AB, Canada, November 6-8, 2017. (Invited Feature Presentation)

    2017 - View publication details

  3. Willsey, T., S. Chatterton, and H. Cárcamo. 2017. Interactions of root-feeding insects with fungal and oomycete plant pathogens. Frontiers in Plant Science:

    2017 - View publication details

  4. Balasubramanian, P.M., Mündel, H.H., Chatterton, S., Conner, R.L., Hou, A. (2017). AAC Whitestar great northern dry bean. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, [online] 97(2), 349-351.

    2017 - View publication details

  5. J. Reich, S. Chatterton, and D. Johnson. 2016. Temporal dynamics of Botrytis cinerea and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in seed alfalfa fields of southern Alberta, Canada. Plant Disease. Accepted manuscript, November 16, 2016.

    2017 - View publication details

  6. Balasubramanian, P.M., Chatterton, S. and Conner, R.L. 2017. AAC Y012 and AAC Y015 yellow dry bean. Can. J. Plant Sci. 97: 340-343.

    2017 - View publication details

  7. Esmaeili Taheri, A., Chatterton, S., Foroud, N.A., Gossen, B.D., McLaren, D.L. (2017). Identification and community dynamics of fungi associated with root, crown, and foot rot of field pea in western Canada. European Journal of Plant Pathology, [online] 147(3), 489-500.

    2017 - View publication details

  8. Esmaeili Taheri, A., Chatterton, S., Gossen, B.D., McLaren, D.L. (2017). Degenerate ITS7 primer enhances oomycete community coverage and PCR sensitivity to Aphanomyces species, economically important plant pathogens. Canadian Journal of Microbiology, [online] 63(9), 769-779.

    2017 - View publication details

  9. Esmaeili Taheri, A., Chatterton, S., Gossen, B.D., McLaren, D.L. (2017). Metagenomic analysis of oomycete communities from the rhizosphere of field pea on the Canadian prairies. Canadian Journal of Microbiology, [online] 63(9), 758-768.

    2017 - View publication details

  10. Gossen, B.D., Chatterton, S., Foroud, N., Esmaeili Taheri, A., and McLaren, D.L. 2016. Metagenomic analysis of oomycete communities in rhizosphere soil from field pea on the Canadian prairies using Illumina Miseq. Phytopathology 106 (S4): 160.

    2016 - View publication details

  11. Esmaeili Taheri, A., Chatterton, S., Foroud, N. A., Gossen, B. D., and McLaren, D. L. 2016. Identity and host specificity of root rot pathogens of pea, wheat and canola colonizing standing pea stubble from the Canadian Prairies. Can. J. Plant Pathol. 38: 264.

    2016 - View publication details

  12. Gossen, B.D., Conner, R.L., Chang, K.F., Pasche, J., McLaren, D.L., Henriquez, M.A., Chatterton, S., and Hwang, S.F. 2016. Identifying and managing root rot of pulses on the northern Great Plains. Plant Dis. 100: 1965 1978.

    2016 - View publication details

  13. Gossen, B.D., Bassendowski, K.A., Erickson, S., and Chatterton, S. 2016. Phostrol fungicide applied early was not effective against root rot of field pea, 2015. Proc. 18th Intern. Reinhardsbrunn Symposium, April 24 28, 2016, Friedrichroda, Germany. Abstract 64.

    2016 - View publication details

  14. Esmaeili Taheri, A., Chatterton, S., Foroud, N.A., Gossen, B.D., and McLaren, D.L. 2016. Modified ITS7 primer enhances oomycete richness detection and the amplification of economically important taxa. Mycol. Soc. Amer., August 7 11, Berkley, CA.

    2016 - View publication details

  15. Gossen, B.D., Chatterton, S., Conner, R.L., Chang, K.F., Pasche, J.S., McLaren, D.L., and Hwang, S.F. 2016. Root rot: An ongoing challenge to pulse production on the Prairies. Proc. 10th Can Pulse Res. Workshop, Winnipeg, MB, Oct. 27 28, 2016. p. 23.

    2016 - View publication details

  16. S. Chatterton, B.D. Gossen, M.W. Harding, R. Bowness and B. Olson. Survey of root rot of field pea and lentil in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2016. Saskatchewan Regional Meeting, Canadian Phytopathological Society. Saskatoon SK, December 5, 2016. (oral presentation)

    2016 - View publication details

  17. Pordel P, Ryabova D, Goyal RK, Chatterton S, Kovalchuk I, Foroud NA. Towards adaptation of a detached head assay for measuring resistance to initial infection (Type I resistance) by Fusarium graminearum in wheat. 6th Canadian Workshop of Fusarium Head Blight, Ottawa ON, CANADA, November 20-22, 2016. p.83

    2016 - View publication details

  18. S. Chatterton, A. Erickson, and S. Banniza. Development of a TaqMan PCR assay for quantification of Aphanomyces euteiches from field soils. Annual Meeting of the Plant Pathology Society of Alberta, Edmonton AB, November 7 – 9, 2016. (Invited feature oral presentation)

    2016 - View publication details

  19. S. Safari, S. Chatterton and L.M. Hall. Quantification of Fusarium avenaceum in soil and crop residues from pea fields in Alberta. Canadian Pulse Research Workshop, Winnipeg MB, October 26 – 28, 2016. (oral presentation)

    2016 - View publication details

  20. S. Kaur, J. Thomas, S. Meers, S. Chatterton, and H.A. Carcamo. 2016. Causal agents of necrotic spots on faba beans: lygus, Botrytis spp., or both? Canadian Pulse Research Workshop, Winnipeg MB, October 26 – 28, 2016. (oral presentation)

    2016 - View publication details

Research facility

5403 1st Avenue South
Lethbridge, AB T1J 4B1


  • University of Lethbridge – Adjunct Professor

  • Canadian Phytopathological Society - Awards Committee, Information and Products Marketing Committee

  • Prairie Grain Development Committee – Chair, Disease Evaluation Team forPrairie Recommending Committee for Pulse and Special Crops

  • Western Committee on Plant Diseases – Secretary and Member