Robert Selbie Clark was born in Aberdeen in 1882. He was educated at the University of Aberdeen, graduating with an MA in 1908, a BSc. in 1911 and a DSc. in 1925. In 1911, he was appointed zoologist at the Scottish Oceanographical Laboratory in Edinburgh, working with William Speirs Bruce on biological material from the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, 1902-1904. In 1913, he was appointed naturalist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and the following year joined the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea Party], 1914-1916 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton), as biologist in Endurance. The marine collections and notes he amassed were lost after Endurance was crushed in the Weddell Sea.
During the First World War, Clark served in HM minesweepers, resuming his post at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory after the war ended. In 1923, he returned to Aberdeen as senior naturalist to the Fishery Board Research Station, Torry, and in 1934, was appointed Superintendent of Scientific Investigators under the Scottish Fishery Board. Clark retired in 1948 as director of the Torry Marine Research Laboratory, and was appointed chairman of the Northern North Sea Committee of the International Council. He died on 29 September 1950.
Published material 'Scotia collection of the Antarctic fishes' by Robert Selbie Clark in Scottish National Antarctic Expedition. Report on the scientific results of the voyage of S.Y. Scotia during the years 1902, 1903 and 1904, under the leadership of William S. Bruce, Volume 5, Zoology, edited by William Speirs Bruce, Scottish Oceanographical Laboratory Edinburgh (1915) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1902-1904 Bruce]