Professor, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences,
University of Wollongong,

Wollongong, NSW 2522,


  • BA, (1974, Cambridge)
  • MA, (1978, Cambridge)
  • PhD (1980, Cambridge)
  • MApplSci – Geographical Information Systems (1998, UNSW)
  • ScD (2007, Cambridge)

Previous Positions:

  • Associate-Professor, School of Geosciences, University of Wollongong (1993-2004)
  • Senior Lecturer, and Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Wollongong (1988-1993)
  • Senior Research Fellow, North Australia Research Unit, The Australian National University (1988)
  • Associate Professor, Department of Geography & Anthropology, Louisiana State University (1986-1987)
  • Research Fellow, North Australia Research Unit, The Australian National University (1983-1987)
  • Visiting Scientist, Laboratory for Wetland Soils and Sediments, Louisiana State University (Jan-May 1985)
  • Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Auckland (1980-1983)
  • Junior Research Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield (1977-1980)
  • PhD - 'Morphology and development of Mangrove Swamps, Cayman Islands, West Indies' - University of Cambridge, Department of Geography; supervisor - Dr David R. Stoddart; awarded 1980.

Colin Woodroffe is a coastal geomorphologist in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Wollongong. He has a PhD and ScD from the University of Cambridge, and was a lead author on the coastal chapter in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment report. He has studied the stratigraphy and development of coasts in Australia and New Zealand, as well as on islands in the West Indies, and Indian and Pacific Oceans. He has written a comprehensive book on Coasts, form, process and evolution, and recently co-authored a book on The Coast of Australia.

Recent publications

a) Scholarly books
  • Short, A.D. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2009) The Coast of Australia. Cambridge University Press, ISBN-13: 9780521873987, 288pp.
b) Scholarly book chapters
  • Woodroffe, C.D. and Saito, Y. (2011) River-Dominated Coasts. In: Wolanski, E. and McLusky, D.S. (eds.) Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science, Waltham: Academic Press, Vol 3, pp. 117–135.
  • Nicholls, R.J., Woodroffe, C.D., Burkett, V., Hay, J., Wong, P.P. and Nurse, L. (2011) Scenarios for Coastal Vulnerability Assessment. In: Wolanski, E. and McLusky, D.S. (eds.) Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science, Waltham: Academic Press, Vol 12, pp. 289–303.
  • Woodroffe, C.D. (2011) The Australian margin: ocean and coastal processes. Chapter 2 in Gullett, W., Schofield, C. and Vince, J. (eds.) Marine Resources Management, Lexis Nexis Butterworths, pp. 9-21.
  • Woodroffe, C.D. and Biribo, N. (2011) Atolls, in Hopley, D. (ed.) 2011. Encyclopedia of Modern Coral Reefs. Springer, pp 51-71.
  • Woodroffe, C.D., Cowell, P.J. and Dickson, M.E. (2011) Coastal Environments, in Gregory, K.J. and Goudie, A.S. (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Geomorphology, Sage, Los Angeles. pp. 412-429.
  • Lambeck, K., Woodroffe, C.D., Antonioli, F., Anzidei, M., Gehrels, W.R., Laborel, J., Wright, A.J. (2010) Paleoenvironmental records, geophysical modeling, and reconstruction of sea-level trends and variability on centennial and longer timescales.  In: Church J, Woodworth PL, Aarup T, Wilson WS. eds. Understanding Sea-Level Rise and Variability Wiley Interscience,  pp. 61-121.
  • Dickson, M.E., Cowell, P.J. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2010) Geomorphological models and their role in coastal management. In Green, D.R. (ed.) Coastal Zone Management. London, Thomas Telford Ltd, pp. 157-184.
  • Abuodha, P.A. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2010) Vulnerability assessment. In Green, D.R. (ed.) Coastal Zone Management. London, Thomas Telford Ltd, pp. 262-290.
  • Woodroffe, C.D. (2010) Assessing the vulnerability of Asian megadeltas to climate change using GIS. In Green, D.R. (ed.) Coastal and Marine Geospatial Technologies, Springer, pp. 379-391.
  • Woodroffe, C.D. and Leon, J. (2010) The coastal zone and its classification for geospatial analysis. In Maanan, M. and Rodin, M. (eds.) Geomatic solutions for coastal environments, Nova Science, pp. 1-32.
  • Woodroffe, C.D. and Davies, G. (2009) The Morphology and Development of Tropical Coastal Wetlands. In Perillo, G., Wolanski, E., Cahoon, D. and Brinson, M. (eds) Coastal Wetlands: an integrated ecosystem approach, Elsevier, pp. 65-88.
  • Burkett, V., Fernandez, L., Nicholls, R. and Woodroffe, C. (2009) Climate change impacts on coastal biodiversity, In Fenech, A., MacIver, D. and Dallmeier, F. (eds.) Climate Change and Biodiversity in the Americas. Environment Canada, Toronto, Ontario, pp. 167-193.
  • Nicholls, R.J., Woodroffe, C.D. and Burkett, V. (2009) Coastline degradation as an indicator of global change, In Lecher, T.M., ed. Climate Change: Observed Impacts on Planet Earth, Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 409-424.
  • Woodroffe, C.D. (2007) Sea Level studies: coral records. In Elias, S.A. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science, Elsevier, pp. 3006-3014.
  • Woodroffe, C.D. (2007)  The natural resilience of coastal systems: primary concepts.  In McFadden, L., Penning-Rowsell, E. and Nicholls, R.J. (eds) Managing coastal vulnerability, Elsevier, 45-60.
  • Smithers, S.G., Harvey, N., Hopley, D. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2007) Vulnerability of geomorphological features in the Great Barrier Reef to climate change. In J.E. Johnson and P.A. Marshall (Editors) Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Australian Greenhouse Office, Australia, pp. 667-716.
  • Nicholls R.J., Wong P.P., Burkett V.R., Codignotto J.O., Hay J.E., McLean R.F., Ragoonaden, S. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2007) Coastal systems and low-lying areas. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Parry ML,. Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE, Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 315-356.

c) Journal articles

  • Woodroffe, C.D. and Murray-Wallace, C.V. (2012) Sea-level rise and coastal change: the past as a guide to the future. Quaternary Science Reviews, doi 10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.05.009.
  • Woodroffe, C.D., McGregor, H.V., Lambeck, K., Smithers, S.G. and Fink, D. Mid-Pacific microatolls record sea-level stability over the past 5000 years. Geology, in press.
  • Oliver, T.S.N., Rogers, K., Chafer, C.J. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2012) Measuring, mapping and modelling: an integrated approach to the management of mangrove and saltmarsh in the Minnamurra River estuary, southeast Australia. Wetlands Ecology and Management, doi 10.1007/s11273-012-9258-2.
  • Kennedy, D.M., Marsters, H., Woods, J. and Woodroffe C.D. (2012) Shore platform development on an uplifting limestone island over multiple sea level cycles, Niue, South Pacific. Geomorphology, 141-142: 170-182.
  • McGregor, H.V., Hellstrom, J., Fink, D., Hua, Q. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2011) Rapid U-series dating of young fossil corals by laser ablation MC-ICPMS. Quaternary Geochronology, 6, 195-206.
  • Kennedy, D.M., Brooke, B.P., Woodroffe, C.D., Jones, B.G., Waikari, C. and Nichol, S. (2011) The geomorphology of the flanks of the Lord Howe Island volcano, Tasman Sea, Australia. Deep-Sea Research II, 58, 899-908.
  • McGregor, H.V., Fishcer, M.J., Gagan, M.K., Fink, D. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2011) Environmental control of the oxygen isotope composition of Porites coral microatolls. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75, 3930-3944.
  • Leon, J. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2011) Improving the synoptic mapping of coral reef geomorphology using object-based image analysis. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 25, 949-969.
  • Davies, G. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2010) Tidal estuary width convergence: theory and form in North Australian estuaries. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 35, 737-749.
  • Abuodha, P.A. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2010) Assessing vulnerability to sea-level rise using a coastal sensitivity index: a case study from southeast Australia. Journal of Coastal Conservation Planning and Management, 14, 189-205, doi 10.1007/s11852-010-0097-0.
  • Woodroffe, C.D., Brooke, B.P., Linklater, M., Kennedy, D.M., Jones, B.G., Buchanan, C., Mleczko, R., Hua, Q. and Zhao, J.  (2010), Response of coral reefs to climate change: Expansion and demise of the southernmost Pacific coral reef, Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L15602, doi:10.1029/2010GL044067
  • Haslett, S.K., Davies-Burrows, R., Panayotou, K., Jones, B.G. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2010) Holocene evolution of the Minnamurra River estuary, southeast Australia: foraminiferal evidence. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie, 54, Suppl. 3, 79-98.
  • Morrison, R.J. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2009) The soils of Kiritimati (Christmas) Island, Kiribati, central Pacific: new information and comparison with previous studies. Pacific Science, 63, 397-411.
  • Woodroffe, C.D. (2008) Reef-island topography and the vulnerability of atolls to sea-level rise. Global and Planetary Change, 62, 77-96.
  • Harvey, N. and Woodroffe, C.D., (2008) Australian approaches to coastal vulnerability assessment. Sustainability Science, 3, 67-87, doi 10.1007/s11625-008-0041-5.
  • Nicholls, R.J., Wong, P.P., Burkett, V., Woodroffe, C.D. and Hay, J., (2008) Climate change and coastal vulnerability assessment: scenarios for integrated assessment. Sustainability Science, 3, 89-102, doi 10.1007/s11625-008-0050-4.
  • Simms, A.D., Woodroffe, C.D., Jones, B.G., Heijnis, H., Mann, R.A. and Harrison, J. (2008) Use of  210Pb and 137Cs to simultaneously constrain ages and sources of post-dam sediments in the Cordeaux reservoir, Sydney, Australia. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 99, 1111-1120.
  • Samosorn, B. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2008) Nearshore wave environments around a sandy cay on a platform reef, Torres Strait, Australia. Continental Shelf Research, 28, 2257-2274.
  • Simms, A.D., Woodroffe, C.D., Jones, B.G., Heijnis, H., Harrison, J. and Mann, R. (2008). Assessing Soil Remobilisation in Catchments using a Cs-sediment Hillslope Model. Australian Geographer, 39, 445-465.
  • Barry, S.J., Cowell, P.J. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2008) Growth-limited size of atoll-islets: morphodynamics in nature. Marine Geology, 247, 159-177.
  • Woodroffe, C.D., Samosorn, B. Hua, Q. and Hart, D.E. (2007) Incremental accretion of a sandy reef island over the past 3000 years indicated by component-specific radiocarbon dating, Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L03602, doi:10.1029/2006GL028875.
  • Barry, S.J., Cowell, P.J. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2007) A morphodynamic model of reef-island development on atolls. Sedimentary Geology, 197, 47-63.
  • Kennedy D.M., Woodroffe C.D. and Zhao, J-X. (2007) Reef development at high-latitudes during multiple interglacial cycles: new evidence from Lord Howe Island, southwestern Pacific. Carbonates and Evaporites, 22, 24 – 33.
  • Woodroffe, C.D. (2007) Critical thresholds and the vulnerability of Australian tropical coastal ecosystems to the impacts of climate change. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, 50, 469-473.
  • Panayotou, K., Woodroffe, C.D., Jones, B.G., Chenhall, B., McLean, E. and Heijnis, H. (2007) Patterns and rates of sedimentary infill in the Minnamurra River Estuary, southeastern Australia. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, 50, 688-692.
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