National Academy of Sciences
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Election Year: 2000
Scientific Discipline: Plant Biology
Membership Type: Foreign Associate
Australian scientist Shirley Jeffrey was a pioneer in oceanographic research, identifying the then-theoretical chlorophyll c, and was the worldwide leader in advancing understanding of phyloplankton as the foundation of the oceanic food supply. Her research largely paved the way for the successful introduction of aquaculture around the world.
Jeffrey earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Sydney University, majoring in microbiology and biochemistry, followed by a Ph.D. from the King’s College London Hospital Medical School. Returning to Sydney, she was hired by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to research chlorophyll c. Following this successful effort, she became a research fellow at the University of California-Berkeley from 1962 to 1964. She then became affiliated with the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research. After a 1973 sabbatical at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, she returned to CSIRO, where she spent the rest of her career.