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Biographical entry Jeffrey, Shirley Winifred (1930 - 2014)


4 April 1930
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
4 January 2014
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Marine scientist


Shirley Jeffrey was one of the world's foremost authorities on microalgae and phytoplankton, crystallising and characterising the earth's predominant light-harvesting pigment, Chlorophyll c. She was acting chief of CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, 1981-1984.


After completing her PhD she returned to Australia to work at CSIRO Division of Fisheries and Oceanography. In 1963-1964 she worked at the University of California, Berkeley, as a research fellow funded by the Kaiser Foundation. Jeffrey participated in the maiden voyage of the Alpha Helix, the research vessel of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, investigating pigments in microalgae that are symbiotic in tropical reef animals. Jeffrey was a principal research scientist at CSIRO's marine biochemistry unit between 1971 and 1977. From 1977 to 1981 she was a senior principal research scientist at CSIRO Division of Fisheries and Oceanography and then acting chief of CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research (1981-1984). In 1991 she became a chief research scientist. From 1978 to 1995 she was in charge of developing the CSIRO Algal Culture Collection, known as the Collection of Living Microalgae, and co-edited the UNESCO published Phytoplankton Pigments in Oceanography in 1996.


Education - Bachelor of Science (BSc) completed at the University of Sydney
Education - Master of Science (MSc) completed at the University of Sydney
Education - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) completed at King's College London
Award - Inaugural Jubilee Award received from the Australian Marine Sciences Association
1991 -
Career position - Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA)
Award - Clarke Medal, Royal Society of New South Wales
Award - R. M. Johnston Medal, Royal Society of Tasmania
Award - Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
Award - American National Academy of Science (NAS) Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal awarded for research in algae
Award - Foreign Associate of the American National Academy of Sciences (NAS)

Related Awards

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Oral History Collection

  • Interview with Dr Shirley Jeffrey, marine biologist [sound recording] / interviewer, Ragbir Bhathal., TRC 3573; National Library of Australia Oral History Collection. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Bhathal, Ragbir, Profiles, Australian women scientists (Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1999), 191 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Jeffrey, Shirley W., 'From Cronulla to Hobart: Personal Reflections' in CSIRO at Sea: 50 Years of Marine Science, Mawson, Vivienne, Tranter, David J. and Pearce, Alan F., eds (Hobart: CSIRO Marine Laboratories, 1988), pp. 195-202. Details

Journal Articles

  • Hallengraeff, S. I., Blackburn, S., Roy, S., Vernet, M. and Wright, S. W., 'Tribute to Shirley Jeffrey: 50 years of research on chlorophyll c', Phycologia, 51 (2012), 123-5. Details
  • Wright, Simon W., Hallegraeff, Gustaaf M. and Mantoura, R. Fauzi C., 'Shirley Winifred Jeffrey 1930 - 2014', Historical Records of Australian Science, 27 (1) (2016), 81-91, Details


Resource Sections

Ailie Smith