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Biographical Memoirs: Volume 79
RICHARD C. STARR
August 24, 1924–February 3, 1998
BY ANNETTE W. COLEMAN AND JEFFREY A. ZEIKUS
RICHARD STARR WAS THE outstanding freshwater phycologist of the last half century. He early recognized the value of pure cultures of algae, not just to study life histories but for biochemical, physiological, and genetic work as well. The importance of clones of documented usage led him to establish the Culture Collection of Algae in America, which became the premier collection in the world and the foundation of modern research on algae. While shepherding the collection through its first 47 years and teaching courses both winter and summer, Richard Starr conducted an active research program that yielded significant insights into life history events of algae, including isolation and identification of several plant sexual hormones. His professional contributions—and collaborations and associations that arose from them—were worldwide, earning him major prizes and awards, all richly deserved. His research continued until the day of his death, only a few months after his full retirement from teaching.
Richard Cawthorn Starr was born in Greensboro, Georgia, on August 24, 1924. The Great Depression and the early death of his father left the family in straitened circumstances, and his mother had to take a job to help support young Richard and his sister. Perhaps this influenced his lifelong