Sheina MacAlister Marshall

Dates: 
Born 20 April 1896, died 7 April 1977

Sheina MacAlister, OBE, was born in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, the daughter of Jean Colville Binnie, and John Marshall, MD. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1919 and joined the Scottish Marine Biology Association’s Millport station on the Isle of Cumbrae as a naturalist in 1924. She and her long-time collaborator, Andrew P. Orr, co-authored 12 papers on the lifecycle of the copepod Calanus finmarchicus, a creature of vital economic significance to western Scotland as it was part of the food chain for the herring.

In 1927, she joined an expedition to the Great Barrier Reef and during the Second World War investigated the production of agar (used in the preparation of vaccines) from native seaweeds.

She was a major figure in British biological oceanography and one of the first women to be made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1949. She was also elected to the Royal Society of London, in 1963, and retired from the Deputy Directorship of the Millport Marine Biogolical Station a year later, though she remained there as an Honorary Fellow after the Universities of London and Glasgow took over its management in 1970.

Sources
The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women
Based on an entry by Morag Cross
Sheina Marshall
Biography of Sheina Marshall on the University of Glasgow Story website