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Biographical entry May, Valerie



Botanist Valerie May was the first to identify the phenomenon of toxic blue-green algae and its cause.

Her first paper on the topic was published in 1966 but her findings were largely ignored until a major outbreak of the algae in the 1990s was responsible for a large amount of livestock deaths.

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Hooker, Claire, Irresistible Forces: Australian Women in Science, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 2004, 215 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Carey, Jane, 'Valerie May (1916- )', Australasian Science, vol. 20, no. 9, 1999, p. 1999. Details
  • King, Robert J. and Briggs, Barbara G., 'Valerie May - fifty years of phycology', Telopea, vol. 3, no. 2, 1988, pp. 273-9. Details

Online Resources

Rebecca Rigby