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Woodroffe, Colin D.

Professor

  • Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
  • School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • GeoQuEST Research Centre

Overview


Colin Woodroffe is a coastal geomorphologist, with an international research focus on the morphology, stratigraphy and sedimentary dynamics of tropical and subtropical coasts, and the application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to the study of processes and change in the coastal zone.

The wide range of his interests is summarised in his comprehensive book Coasts: form process and evolution (2003), as well as his two more recent co-authored books, The Coast of Australia (2009), and Quaternary Sea-level Changes (2014). 

Research Interests / current projects

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • MORPHODYNAMICS OF ESTUARIES AND DELTAS

    Colin Woodroffe has examined the sedimentary history of estuaries and deltas in three regions.

    • Southeastern Australia
    • Northern Australia
    • Southeast Asia
    Estuaries of southeastern Australia

    The estuaries of southeastern Australia are a research focus of the GeoQuEST Research Centre. Colin Woodroffe is part of a team of researchers examining the processes by which coastal lakes and barrier estuaries infill. His particular focus has been on the stratigraphy of mature infilled barrier estuaries such as the Shoalhaven River delta (Woodroffe et al., 2000, Umitsu et al., 2001), and the Minnamurra River plains (Panayotou et al., 2007; Haslett et al., 2010). He is collaborating with Dr Kerrylee Rogers (Future Fellow) to examine the vulnerability of estuaries to environmental change, as part of an ARC Linkage project with researchers from ANSTO, OEH, and Shoalhaven and Bega Councils. Preliminary results include modelling of mangrove and saltmarsh dynamics and sedimentation in the Minnamurra estuary (Oliver et al., 2012) and consideration of carbon storage in these systems (Saintilan et al., 2013).

    References

    Umitsu, M., Buman, M., Kawase, K. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2001) Holocene palaeoecology and formation of the Shoalhaven River deltaic-estuarine plains, southeast Australia. The Holocene 11, 407-418.

    Woodroffe, C.D., Buman, M., Kawase, K. and Umitsu, M. (2000) Estuarine infill and formation of deltaic plains, Shoalhaven River. Wetlands 18, 72-84.

    Panayaotou, K., Woodroffe, C.D., Jones, B.G., Chennall, 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.

    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.

    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. Wetland Ecology and Management, 20: 353-371. 

    Saintilan, N., Rogers, K., Mazumder, D. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2013) Allochthonous and autochthonous contributions to carbon accumulation and carbon store in southeastern Australian coastal wetlands. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 128: 84-92.

    Estuaries of northern Australia

    Colin Woodroffe’s research in northern Australia has led to the development of a three-stage model of estuarine evolution based on the coring, stratigraphy and dating results from the South Alligator River, but with supporting evidence from other adjacent river systems (Woodroffe et al., 1993). The initial stage, commencing around 8000 years ago, was a transgressive stage during which the valleys were flooded as sea level continued to rise. The second stage during the mid-Holocene, termed a big swamp phase, was characterised by widespread mangrove forests occupying much of what is now estuarine plain. This phase peaked around 6000 years ago, when sea level stabilised at or close to its present level. This stage was superseded by the final stage during which the estuary became channelised as vertical sedimentation continued to infill the estuary, and mangroves were replaced by sedge/grassland.

    A particular area of interest in these northern Australian systems is the rapid recent expansion of several of the tidal system, particularly that on the Mary River. Extensive areas of the low-lying plains have undergone saline intrusion, and this appears to be an analogue of the way in which low-lying plains elsewhere might be inundated under conditions of sea-level rise as anticipated as a result of climate change (Mulrennan and Woodroffe, 1998). These systems, together with a tidal creek in NSW, were the focus of research by Gareth Davies for his PhD.

    References

    Woodroffe, C.D., Mulrennan, M.E. and Chappell, J. (1993) Estuarine infill and coastal progradation, southern van Diemen Gulf, northern Australia. Sedimentary Geology 83, 257-275.

    Mulrennan, M.E. and Woodroffe, C.D. (1998) Saltwater intrusion into coastal plains of the Lower Mary River, Northern Territory, Australia. Journal of Environmental Management 54. 169-188.

    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.

    Southeast Asia

    The pattern of development of estuaries identified in northern Australia, with a change from transgression to regression, has been identified throughout much of the southeast Asian region, although many of the larger deltaic systems have filled in more rapidly and their shoreline may have prograded more extensively (Woodroffe, 2000).  Colin is interested in developing the approaches adopted in northern Australia and extending them to the delta systems of southeast Asia (Woodroffe, et al., 2006), and supervised a project on the Bangladesh coast undertaken by Sarwar for a PhD. He is participating in the Blue Carbon Futures project, examining the sequestration of ‘blue carbon’ beneath mangrove forests in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, as part of one of the University’s Global Challenges (see http://globalchallenges.uow.edu.au/sustaining/UOW165071)

    References

    Woodroffe, C.D. (2000) Deltaic and estuarine environments and their Late Quaternary dynamics on the Sunda and Sahul shelves. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 18, 393-413.

    Woodroffe, C.D., Nicholls, R.J., Saito, Y., Chen, Z. and Goodred, S.L. (2006) Landscape variability and the response of Asian megadeltas to environmental change, In Harvey, N. (ed) Global Change and Integrated Coastal Management: The Asia-Pacific Region, Springer, pp. 277-314.

    Sarwar, M.G.M. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2013) Rates of shoreline change along the coast of Bangladesh. Journal of Coastal Conservation. doi 10.1007/s11852-013-0251-6.

Selected Publications


Investigator On


Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Geospatial Assessment of Reef Island Shoreline Dynamics: Mapping, Monitoring and Modelling Adnan, Farrah Anis
    Doctor of Philosophy Surface elevation dynamics across a range of timescales in coastal wetlands of south-eastern Australia Lal, Kirti
    Doctor of Philosophy Responses to past threats to sustainability in the Pacific Islands: creation of artificial islands in Solomon Islands. Heorake, Tony
    Doctor of Philosophy The vulnerability of reef islands in Isabel Province, Solomon Islands Lowe, Meagan
    Doctor of Philosophy Modelling the Response of Coastal Wetlands to Sea-Level Rise Mogensen, Laura
    Doctor of Philosophy Interdecadal El Niño-Southern Oscillation Variability Over the Past Millennium Hunter, Jasmine
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Holocene Coastal Evolution and Relative Sea-Level Changes of the Cilacap and Kebumen Coastal Plains, Indonesia Hidayat, Rahmadi
    Doctor of Philosophy Predicting mangrove and marsh distribution in response to sea-level rise. Kumbier, Kristian
    Master of Research -SMAH Understanding the South Pacific Convergence Zone Through Paleoclimate Records Chapman, Tess
    Doctor of Philosophy Controls on the oxygen isotype ratio of inorganic and biogenic calcium carbonates Devriendt, Laurent
    Doctor of Philosophy Using Foraminifera for Coastal Rehabilitation of Damaged Areas in Tuvalu. Sharma, Ashishika

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • MORPHODYNAMICS OF ESTUARIES AND DELTAS

    Colin Woodroffe has examined the sedimentary history of estuaries and deltas in three regions.

    • Southeastern Australia
    • Northern Australia
    • Southeast Asia
    Estuaries of southeastern Australia

    The estuaries of southeastern Australia are a research focus of the GeoQuEST Research Centre. Colin Woodroffe is part of a team of researchers examining the processes by which coastal lakes and barrier estuaries infill. His particular focus has been on the stratigraphy of mature infilled barrier estuaries such as the Shoalhaven River delta (Woodroffe et al., 2000, Umitsu et al., 2001), and the Minnamurra River plains (Panayotou et al., 2007; Haslett et al., 2010). He is collaborating with Dr Kerrylee Rogers (Future Fellow) to examine the vulnerability of estuaries to environmental change, as part of an ARC Linkage project with researchers from ANSTO, OEH, and Shoalhaven and Bega Councils. Preliminary results include modelling of mangrove and saltmarsh dynamics and sedimentation in the Minnamurra estuary (Oliver et al., 2012) and consideration of carbon storage in these systems (Saintilan et al., 2013).

    References

    Umitsu, M., Buman, M., Kawase, K. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2001) Holocene palaeoecology and formation of the Shoalhaven River deltaic-estuarine plains, southeast Australia. The Holocene 11, 407-418.

    Woodroffe, C.D., Buman, M., Kawase, K. and Umitsu, M. (2000) Estuarine infill and formation of deltaic plains, Shoalhaven River. Wetlands 18, 72-84.

    Panayaotou, K., Woodroffe, C.D., Jones, B.G., Chennall, 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.

    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.

    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. Wetland Ecology and Management, 20: 353-371. 

    Saintilan, N., Rogers, K., Mazumder, D. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2013) Allochthonous and autochthonous contributions to carbon accumulation and carbon store in southeastern Australian coastal wetlands. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 128: 84-92.

    Estuaries of northern Australia

    Colin Woodroffe’s research in northern Australia has led to the development of a three-stage model of estuarine evolution based on the coring, stratigraphy and dating results from the South Alligator River, but with supporting evidence from other adjacent river systems (Woodroffe et al., 1993). The initial stage, commencing around 8000 years ago, was a transgressive stage during which the valleys were flooded as sea level continued to rise. The second stage during the mid-Holocene, termed a big swamp phase, was characterised by widespread mangrove forests occupying much of what is now estuarine plain. This phase peaked around 6000 years ago, when sea level stabilised at or close to its present level. This stage was superseded by the final stage during which the estuary became channelised as vertical sedimentation continued to infill the estuary, and mangroves were replaced by sedge/grassland.

    A particular area of interest in these northern Australian systems is the rapid recent expansion of several of the tidal system, particularly that on the Mary River. Extensive areas of the low-lying plains have undergone saline intrusion, and this appears to be an analogue of the way in which low-lying plains elsewhere might be inundated under conditions of sea-level rise as anticipated as a result of climate change (Mulrennan and Woodroffe, 1998). These systems, together with a tidal creek in NSW, were the focus of research by Gareth Davies for his PhD.

    References

    Woodroffe, C.D., Mulrennan, M.E. and Chappell, J. (1993) Estuarine infill and coastal progradation, southern van Diemen Gulf, northern Australia. Sedimentary Geology 83, 257-275.

    Mulrennan, M.E. and Woodroffe, C.D. (1998) Saltwater intrusion into coastal plains of the Lower Mary River, Northern Territory, Australia. Journal of Environmental Management 54. 169-188.

    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.

    Southeast Asia

    The pattern of development of estuaries identified in northern Australia, with a change from transgression to regression, has been identified throughout much of the southeast Asian region, although many of the larger deltaic systems have filled in more rapidly and their shoreline may have prograded more extensively (Woodroffe, 2000).  Colin is interested in developing the approaches adopted in northern Australia and extending them to the delta systems of southeast Asia (Woodroffe, et al., 2006), and supervised a project on the Bangladesh coast undertaken by Sarwar for a PhD. He is participating in the Blue Carbon Futures project, examining the sequestration of ‘blue carbon’ beneath mangrove forests in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, as part of one of the University’s Global Challenges (see http://globalchallenges.uow.edu.au/sustaining/UOW165071)

    References

    Woodroffe, C.D. (2000) Deltaic and estuarine environments and their Late Quaternary dynamics on the Sunda and Sahul shelves. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 18, 393-413.

    Woodroffe, C.D., Nicholls, R.J., Saito, Y., Chen, Z. and Goodred, S.L. (2006) Landscape variability and the response of Asian megadeltas to environmental change, In Harvey, N. (ed) Global Change and Integrated Coastal Management: The Asia-Pacific Region, Springer, pp. 277-314.

    Sarwar, M.G.M. and Woodroffe, C.D. (2013) Rates of shoreline change along the coast of Bangladesh. Journal of Coastal Conservation. doi 10.1007/s11852-013-0251-6.

Selected Publications


Investigator On


Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Geospatial Assessment of Reef Island Shoreline Dynamics: Mapping, Monitoring and Modelling Adnan, Farrah Anis
    Doctor of Philosophy Surface elevation dynamics across a range of timescales in coastal wetlands of south-eastern Australia Lal, Kirti
    Doctor of Philosophy Responses to past threats to sustainability in the Pacific Islands: creation of artificial islands in Solomon Islands. Heorake, Tony
    Doctor of Philosophy The vulnerability of reef islands in Isabel Province, Solomon Islands Lowe, Meagan
    Doctor of Philosophy Modelling the Response of Coastal Wetlands to Sea-Level Rise Mogensen, Laura
    Doctor of Philosophy Interdecadal El Niño-Southern Oscillation Variability Over the Past Millennium Hunter, Jasmine
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Holocene Coastal Evolution and Relative Sea-Level Changes of the Cilacap and Kebumen Coastal Plains, Indonesia Hidayat, Rahmadi
    Doctor of Philosophy Predicting mangrove and marsh distribution in response to sea-level rise. Kumbier, Kristian
    Master of Research -SMAH Understanding the South Pacific Convergence Zone Through Paleoclimate Records Chapman, Tess
    Doctor of Philosophy Controls on the oxygen isotype ratio of inorganic and biogenic calcium carbonates Devriendt, Laurent
    Doctor of Philosophy Using Foraminifera for Coastal Rehabilitation of Damaged Areas in Tuvalu. Sharma, Ashishika
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