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Biographical entry Marks, Elizabeth Nesta (1918 - 2002)

AO

Born
28 April 1918
Dublin, Ireland
Died
25 October 2002
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Occupation
Entomologist and Ecologist
Alternative Names
  • Marks, Pat (Patricia) (Also known as)

Summary

Pat Marks was one of Australia's leading entomologists and malaria experts. She worked for the Mosquito Control Committee from its inception in 1943 until its closure in 1973. Marks was then transferred to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research as Principal Entomologist. She described thirty-eight new mosquito species and authored well over one hundred publications. She retired in 1983, but continued with her taxonomic research there for some time. Pat Marks was a one-time President of the Royal Society of Queensland, the Entomological Society of Queensland and the Australian Entomological Society, as well as a Life Member of the Mosquito Association of Australia. She was nicknamed Pat or Patricia after being christened at St. Patrick's Cathedral, in Dublin and this was the name most often used by herself and her family.

Details

Although initially interested in becoming a veterinarian, but talked out of it by her father, Elizabeth Nesta (Pat) Marks took up science at the University of Queensland. She graduated in 1938 with Second Class Honours in Zoology. Unable to take up Honours in entomology (a course reserved for agriculture graduates), Marks went on to study parasitology under the supervision of Dr Ronald Hamlyn Harris (a one-time Brisbane City entomologist). Her project was varied and included preparing a card index of all the parasites of Australian marsupials and a study of the life history of the mosquito. This was the start of her long and fruitful research career in mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases.

Her Honours project was of such high quality that it was automatically converted to a Masters Degree which was conferred in 1940. Marks then took up a post as an assistant curator at Queensland University's pathology museum and also demonstrated in the medical school for Mr Perkins (entomologist and lecturer). With the outbreak of war there were also outbreaks of malaria and dengue fever in Cairns and the tropics, so Perkins was employed by the Australian Army to train select members at the army malaria control schools. Marks was brought in to assist with the collection of material for these training classes. Then in 1943 the university established the Mosquito Control Committee (MCC), with Perkins as Secretary, to study Queensland mosquitoes and Pat Marks successfully applied for the post of MCC Graduate Research Assistant. She remained with the MCC until it was dissolved by the government in 1973 and during this time undertook numerous field trips and made many new discoveries.

In 1949 Pat Marks went to Europe for a ten month study trip and then decided to enrol in a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in insect physiology at the University of Cambridge. During this time she also joined the Royal Entomological Society of London. Upon completing her PhD, Marks returned to Australia and the MCC (1951). She was soon dispatched to Victoria as an assistant to Dr Bill Reeves who was in Mildura carrying out field research on the then current outbreak of Murray Valley Encephalitis. In 1952 Marks was also sent to Townsville in Queensland to investigate an outbreak there and later went to some of the islands of the north coast, in the Torres Straits. From 1951 to 1973 she also ran a number of other projects which included the study of the insects used by the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Wildlife Survey Section for the introduction of myxomatosis in rabbits, a collaboration with the Queensland Institute of Medical Research which included her collecting widely throughout rural Australia and the Torres Strait Islands, and she trained many of Queensland's health inspectors.

After the MCC closed down, Marks was transferred to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research where she was appointed Principal Entomologist. She officially retired in 1983 but remained on at the Institute to continue her work. The results of Mark's many studies and field trips led to the production of major publications including the Atlas of Common Queensland Mosquitoes (1966) and the twelve volume set The Culicidae of Australasia (1980-1989). Her work also led to major breakthroughs and the discovery of at least thirty-eight new mosquito species, as well as new species of other insects including fruit flies, bugs, cockroaches and ticks. Marks was also a long-term and active member of the Queensland Naturalists Club with whom she helped preserve the Bora rings (indigenous ceremonial sites) in Samford, south-eastern Queensland. In 1990 Patricia Marks was appointed a Commander Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her services to science, particularly entomology.

Events

1920
Life event - Migrated to Australia (Brisbane) with her family
1938
Education - Bachelor of Science (BSc) completed at the University of Queensland
1939
Career position - Assistant Curator of the Pathology Museum at the University of Queensland
c. 1939 - c. 1940
Career position - Tutor of Medical Entomology at the University of Queensland
1940
Education - Master of Science (MSc) completed at the University of Queensland
1942 - 1943
Career position - Assistant epidemiologist to F. A. Perkins in Queensland
1943 - 1973
Career position - Graduate Research Assistant of the Mosquito Control Committee, University of Queensland
1944
Career position - Study visit to the Zoology Department of the University of Sydney to work with D. J. Lee and visiting US Army member W. V. King
1946 - 1948
Career position - Anopheline mosquito surveys at Lucinda Point in Queensland
1947
Career position - Investigated Culicoides biting midges at Gladstone and mosquitoes in McKay, Queensland
1949
Career position - Study visit to Amsterdam, the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the British Museum of Natural History (ten months)
1949 - 1951
Education - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Zoology completed at the University of Cambridge, UK
1951
Career position - Returned to Australia and to the Mosquito Control Committee
1951 - 1952
Career position - Field work in Mildura and Townsville (Murray Valley Encephalitis outbreaks)
1951 - 1956
Career position - Analysis of specimens from the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Wildlife Survey Section
1952
Career position - President of the Queensland Naturalists Club
1954
Career position - Marine insect collection field trip to Low Isles and Heron Island
1958 - 1979
Career position - Five collection trips to Papua New Guinea
1959
Career position - President of the Royal Society of Queensland
1966
Career position - Trained Queensland Health Inspectors
1973
Career position - Trained Queensland Health Inspectors
1973 - 1983
Career position - Principal Entomologist at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research
1979 - 1985
Career position - Field trips to North Queensland and Tasmania
1986
Award - Belkin Award received from the American Mosquito Association

Archival resources

Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland

  • Elizabeth Nesta (Pat) Marks - records; Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Books

  • Marks, Elizabeth N. and Cummins, Kathleen C., Mosquitoes and memories: recollections of 'Patricia' Marks, K.C. Cummins, Wights Mountain )Qld), 2004, 295 pp. Details

Book Sections

Edited Books

  • McKay, Judith (ed.), Brilliant Careers: Women Collectors and Illustrators in Queensland, Queensland Museum, Brisbane, 1997, 80 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Bryan, Joan Helen, 'The role of Pat Marks in the Australasian mosquito catalogue project and future needs in mosquito taxonomy', Australian Entomologist, vol. 33, no. 4, 2006, pp. 187-92. Details
  • Mackerras, I. M. and Marks, Elizabeth N., 'The Bancrofts: a century of scientific endeavour [includes lists of publications]', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, vol. 84, no. 1, 1973, pp. 1-34. Details
  • Marks, E. N. and Dahms, E., 'Obituary: Henry Hacker, 1876-1973', Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, vol. 17, no. 1, 1974, pp. 191-194. Details
  • Marks, E. N. and Mackerras, I. M., 'Evolution of a National Entomological Society in Australia', Journal of the Australian Entomological Society, vol. 11, no. 2, 1972, pp. 81-90. Details
  • Marks, Elizabeth N., 'A History of the Queensland Philosophical Society and the Royal Society of Queensland From 1859 to 1911', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, vol. lxxi, no. 2, 1959, pp. 17-42. Details
  • Marks, Elizabeth N., 'Silvester Diggles - a Queensland Naturalist One Hundred Years Ago', Queensland Naturalist, vol. 17, no. 1/2, 1963, pp. 15-25. Details
  • Marks, Elizabeth N., 'Notes on Diggles 'Ornithology of Australia'', Queensland Naturalist, vol. 17, no. 5/6, 1965, pp. 99-102. Details
  • Marks, Elizabeth N., 'Joseph Leathom Hole Wassell and his Contribution to Australian Natural History', Australian Zoologist, vol. 14, no. 3, 1968, pp. 229-235. Details
  • Standfast, H. A., 'Dr Elizabeth N. Marks AO: mosquito studies 1940-1976', Australian Entomologist, vol. 33, no. 4, 2006, pp. 179-86. Details

Online Resources

Digital resources

Title
Dr Pat Marks circa 1980
Type
Image

Details

Title
Dr Elizabeth Nesta (Pat) Marks - graduation photo
Type
Image
Date
1938

Details

Annette Alafaci