Sheina MacAllister Marshall, OBE, lived from 20 April 1896 to 7 April 1977. She was a marine biologist. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Sheina Marshall was born in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. She was the daughter of John Marshall, a doctor, and Jean Binnie. She studied at the University of Glasgow, graduating with her first degree in 1919 before undertaking postgraduate research funded by a Carnegie Fellowship until 1922. In 1924 she took up a post as a naturalist with the Scottish Marine Biological Association's research station at Millport, on the island of Great Cumbrae in the Firth of Clyde.
Working closely with a colleague, Andrew Orr, she established Millport as a leading centre for research into plankton and other small aquatic crustaceans, which are essential to the marine food chain and, as a result, vital to the economy of many coastal areas of Scotland. In 1927 Sheina took part in the expedition to study the Great Barrier Reef led by Sir Maurice Yonge. During the Second World War she undertook research into ways of obtaining agar - needed in the production of vaccines - from seaweed natural to Britain's shores.
In 1949, Sheina became one of the first five women admitted to membership of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and she became a member of the Royal Society of London in 1963. She retired in 1964, but continued to work at Millport on an informal basis. She also travelled extensively, especially with her sister Margaret Marshall, who had been Matron at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Sheina died at Millport in 1977. She left her house to the research station in which she had worked. This has since become the University Marine Biological Station Millport, an institute of the University of London, managed in association with the University of Glasgow.
This biography draws on research first published in "The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women".