Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips
Adjunct Professor



With a BSc in Civil Engineering, an MSc in Environmental Conservation Management and a PhD in Coastal Processes and Geomorphology Professor Phillips research expertise includes coastal processes, morphological change and adaptation to climate change and sea level rise.

He has been an invited speaker and presenter at many major international conferences and evaluator for various international coastal research projects. Consultancy includes beach replenishment issues and developing techniques to monitor underwater sediment movement to inform beach management.

He is widely published and organised a session on Coastal Tourism and Climate Change at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris as part of his role as a member of the Climate Change Working Group of the UNEP Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands.

Research input includes being; an Expert Advisor to the UNESCO Cymru Wales Committee; an international scientific advisory board member of MARUM (the German Centre of Excellence for Marine Environmental Sciences); and an expert international advisor to the Portuguese FCT for the Adaptaria (coastal adaptation to climate change) and Smartparks (planning marine conservation areas) projects.

Contributions to coastal and ocean policies include: the Rio +20 World Summit, Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands, and UNESCO; EU Maritime Spatial Planning; and Welsh Government Policy on Marine Aggregate Dredging. Engagements with research agendas include the German Cluster of Excellence in Marine Environmental Sciences, the Portuguese Department of Science and Technology and the US Coastal Education and Research Foundation, amongst others. 


Major research interests include shoreline morphological responses to climate change and sea level rise, public perception, stakeholder engagement, scenic evaluation and consequences of persistent marine debris. Early research assessed processes and strategies for management of the Penarth coast (evaluation and management of morphological change in response to natural forcing agents and anthropogenic pressures, including the Cardiff Bay Barrage).

Research funding has been generated from various sources, including governments and research grants, while published work includes a book, book chapters, and international refereed journal and conference papers. These have considered sediment dynamics, coastal science, sea level rise, storms and coastal management in response to physical processes and anthropogenic use and activities.  For an overview of this research and policy area, please see Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Global Ocean Forum at Rio+20 2002-2012 in which Professor Phillips' contributions are noted (p51)

With >100 contributions to the academic literature, a significant number in the top quartile ranked journals in geoscience, environmental science and geography, major work includes:

2006: Highlighting potential impacts of climate change on coastal tourism. Subsequently, this has influenced policy and research agendas at World level;

2007: Demonstrated for the first time the relationship between the seaward (Depth of Closure) and landward (Mean High Water) limits of the active beach profile. This work has informed sediment studies worldwide and underpinned a £611,000 Technology Strategy Board project;

2007: Showed how a beach responds to a total exclusion barrage (Cardiff Bay). If the Severn Barrage construction proceeds, this work will inform its development processes and design;

2008: Proved marine aggregate dredging was not responsible for South Wales beach erosion. Findings were even accepted by opponents of marine aggregate dredging on the UK east coast (MARINET). The work influenced Welsh Government policy, while the Crown Estate congratulated and thanked the University for its Research.

2010, 2011 and 2013: Established relationships between sea levels, wind speeds and directions, and the North Atlantic Oscillation, showing how these interact to cause morphological change. Sea level predictions have been adopted for Severn Estuary flood risk and scenario management to 2050, while the work on storminess, trends and time-lagged coastal response are predicted by experts to make a lasting contribution to shoreline management strategies. 

2012: Highlighted for the first time that desalination processes increase chlorites in the marine environment. These are harmful to both human and marine ecosystem health and it is expected that this work will be important for future environmental monitoring. 


Books and chapters:

Jones, A.L. and Phillips, M.R. (eds) (2011). Disappearing destinations: climate change and future challenges for coastal tourism. CABI, Wallingford, Oxford. 296pp.

Blott, S., Duck, R.W., Phillips, M.R., Pontee, N., Pye, K. and Williams, A.T. (2013). Great Britain. In (eds) Pranzini, E and Williams, A.T.Coastal Erosion and Protection in Europe. Earthscan, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon.173-208.

Phillips, M.R. (2012). Shoreline stabilisation: lessons from South Wales. In (eds) Cooper, J.A.G. and Pilkey, O. Pitfalls of Shoreline Stabilisation: Selected Case Studies, Coastal Research Library 3, Springer Science + Business Media, Dordrecht. 283-302.

Phillips, M.R. (2009) Beach consequences of an industrial heritage. In: Williams, A.T. and Micallef, A. Beach Management: Principles and Practice. Earthscan, Case Study 12: 353-362.

Jones, A. L. and Phillips, M.R. (2008). Tourism development in the coastal zone: managing natural and cultural change. In: Krishnamurthy, R. R., Glavovic, B. C., Kanne, A., Green, D. R., Ramanathan, A. L., Han, Z., Tinti, S., and Agardy, T. Integrated Coastal Zone Management - Current Global Scenario. RPS Publishing, Singapore. 375-389.

Williams, A. T., Phillips, M.R. and Banfield, K. (2008). Coastal Erosion Management, Swansea Bay, Wales, UK: the Application of Function Analysis and Strategic Environmental Assessment. In: Krishnamurthy, R. R., Glavovic, B. C., Kanne, A., Green, D. R., Ramanathan, A. L., Han, Z., Tinti, S., and Agardy, T. Integrated Coastal Zone Management - Current Global Scenario. RPS Publishing, Singapore. 305-325.

Williams, A.T. and Phillips, M.R. (2000).  Gravel beach swash zone dynamics.  In: Rodriguez, G.R., Brebbia C.A., & Pérez-Martell, E. (eds). Environmental Coastal Regions III. WIT Press, Southampton. 65-75. 

Refereed journal papers:

Thomas, T., Phillips, M.R. and Lock, G. (2015). An analysis of subaerial beach rotation and influences of environmental forcing adjacent to the proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. Applied Geography. Vol 62: 276-293.

Ng, K., Thomas, T., Phillips M.R., Borges, P., Calado, H. and Veloso-Gomes, F. (2015). Multifunctional artificial reefs for small islands: An evaluation of amenity and opportunity for São Miguel Island, the Azores. Progress in Physical Geography. Vol. 39(2): 220-257.

Thomas, T., Lynch, S.K., Phillips, M.R., Williams, A.T. (2014). Long-term evolution of a sand spit, physical forcing and links to coastal flooding. Applied Geography, 53: 187-201.

Thomas, T., Lynch, S.K., Phillips, M.R., Williams, A.T. and Duck, R.W. (2014). Relationships between sand spit evolution, environmental forcing and inland inundation Journal of Coastal Research. SI 70: 72-79.

Rangel-Buitrago, N., Anfuso, G., Phillips, M.R., Thomas, T., Alvarez, O. and Forero, M. (2014). Characterisation of wave climate and extreme events on the SW Spanish and Welsh coasts as a first step to define their wave energy potential. Journal of Coastal Research. SI 70: 314-319.

Dias, J.M., Lopes, C., Coelho, C., Pereira, C., Alves, F.L., Sousa, L.P., Antunes, I.C., Luz Fernandes, M. and Phillips, M.R. (2014). Influence of climate change on Ria de Aveiro littoral: adaptation strategies for flooding events and shoreline retreat. Journal of Coastal Research. SI 70: 320-325.

Borges, P., Phillips, M.R., Ng, K., Medeiros, A. and Calado, H. (2014). Preliminary coastal vulnerability assessment for Pico Island (Azores). Journal of Coastal Research. SI 70: 385-388.

Fonseca, C., Pereira da Silva, C., Calado, H., Moniz, F., Bragagnolo, C., Gil, A., Phillips, M.R., Pereira, M. and Moreira, M. (2014). Coastal and marine protected areas as key elements for tourism in small islands Journal of Coastal Research. SI 70: 461-466.

Kantamaneni, K., Phillips, M.R., Jenkins, R.E., Alharbi, O. and Alrashed, I. (2014) Monetary Assessment of Damage to Residential and Commercial Properties during Flooding in the United Kingdom. Research Journal of Recent Sciences (In Press).

Ng, K., Phillips, M.R. and Veloso-Gomes, F. (2014). Exploring Multifunctional Artificial Reef for beach management at Sao Roque Beach, Sao Miguel Island (Azores). Coastal Climate Change: Adaptive management of beaches and coastal waters. Coastal and Marine. Vol 23(1): 7.

Alrashed, I., Phillips, M.R. and Kantamaneni, K. (2014). Implementing Multi-Dimensional CAD Models to Reduce the Project Cost Estimations Gap between the Financial Ministry and Other Government Ministries in Saudi Arabia. Journal of Advanced Management Science. Vol. 2(3) (In Press).

Ng, K., Phillips M.R.,Borges, P., Thomas, T., August, P., Calado, H. and Veloso- Gomes, F. (2014). Maintaining a Way of Life for São Miguel Island (the Azores Archipelago, Portugal): an assessment of environmental forcing and coastal protection. Science of the Total Environment. Vol. 481C: 142-156.

Goble, B.J., Lewis, M., Hill, T.R. and Phillips, M.R. (2014). Coastal management in South Africa: Historical perspectives and setting the stage of a new era. Ocean and Coastal Management. Vol 91: 32-40.

Thomas, T., Phillips, M.R., Williams, A.T. and Jenkins, R.E. (2014). Links between wave forcing, offshore islands and a macro-tidal headland-bound bay beach. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. Vol 39: 143-155.

Ng, K., Phillips, M.R., Calado, H.M., Borges, P. and Veloso-Gomes, F. (2013). Seeking Harmony in Coastal Development for Small Islands: Exploring Multifunctional Artificial Reefs for São Miguel Island, the Azores. Applied Geography. Vol 44: 99-111.

Alves F.L., Sousa,L.P. Almodovar,M. and Phillips M.R. (2013). Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM): a review of progress in Portuguese implementation. Regional Environmental Change. Vol 13: 1031-1042.

Alrashed, I.A., Phillips, M.R., MacRae, I. and Francis, T. (2013). Project cost estimating methods: a comparison of tools and techniques used in construction projects. Academic Journal of Science. Vol 2(1): 147-156.

Thomas, T., Phillips, M.R. and Williams, A.T. (2013). A historical record of beach rotation. Journal of Coastal Research. SI 65: 594-599.

Cenci, L., Disperati, L., Sousa, L.P., Phillips, M.R. and Alves, F.L. (2013). Geomatics for Integrated Coastal Zone Management: multi-temporal shoreline analysis and future regional perspectives for the Portuguese Central Region. Journal of Coastal Research. SI 65: 1349-1354.

Phillips, M.R., Rees, E.F. and Thomas, T. (2013). Winds, sea levels and NAO influences: An evaluation. Global and Planetary Change. Vol 100: 145-152.

Thomas, T., Phillips, M.R., Williams, A.T. and Jenkins, R.E. (2012). Rotation on two open coast macrotidal beaches. Applied Geography, Vol 35: 363-376.

Alharbi, O.A., Phillips, M.R., Williams, A.T., Gheith, A.M., Bantan, R.A. and Rasul, N.M. (2012). Desalination impacts on the coastal environment: Ash Shuqayq, Saudi Arabia. Science of the Total Environment. Vol 421–422: 163–172.

Thomas, T., Phillips, M.R., Williams, A.T. and Jenkins, R.E. (2012). Medium time-scale behaviour of adjacent embayed beaches: influence of low energy external forcing. Applied Geography, Vol 32(2): 265-280.

Calado, H., Bentz, J., Ng, K., Zivian, A., Schaefer, N., Pringle, C., Johnson, D. and

Phillips, M.R. (2012). NGO involvement in marine spatial planning: a way forward? Marine Policy. Vol 36: 382-388.

House, C. and Phillips, M.R. (2012). Integrating science and education into coastal policy: a Mediterranean and Black Sea case study. Marine Policy. Vol 36: 495-501.

Thomas, T., Phillips, M.R., Williams, A.T. and Jenkins, R.E. (2011). Medium timescale beach rotation; gale climate and offshore island influences. Geomorphology. Vol. 135: 97-107.

Phillips, M.R., Rosser, G., Jenkins, R.E. and Cullis, M.J. (2011). Beach management strategies: a comparative stakeholder assessment, Gower, South Wales, UK. Journal of Coastal Research. SI 64: 1396-1400.

Williams, A.T., Duck, R.W. and Phillips, M.R. (2011). Coastal dune vulnerability among selected Scottish systems. Journal of Coastal Research, SI 64: 1263-1267.

House, C., Williams, J.L., Cullis, M.J. and Phillips, M.R. (2011). Coastal sustainability: a comparative socio-economic lifestyle assessment, South Wales, UK. Journal of Coastal Research, SI 64: 1233-1237.

Thomas, T., Phillips, M.R. and Williams, A.T. (2011). Sheltering effects of an offshore Island: short-term morphological response of a macro-tidal beach. Journal of Coastal Research, SI 64: 1204-1208.

Thomas, T., Phillips, M.R., Williams, A.T. and Jenkins, R.E. (2011). Short-term beach rotation, wave climate and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Progress in Physical Geography, Vol 35(3) 333–352.

Thomas, T., Phillips, M.R., Williams, A.T. and Jenkins, R.E. (2011). A multi-century record of linked nearshore and coastal change.Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol 36: 995-1006.

Calado, H.M., Borges, P., Phillips, M.R., Ng, K. and Alves, F. (2011) The Azores Archipelago, Portugal: Improved Understanding of Small Island Coastal Hazards and Mitigation Measures. Natural Hazards, Vol 58: 427-444.

Phillips, M.R. and Crisp, S. (2010). Sea level trends and NAO influences: the Bristol Channel/Severn Estuary. Global and Planetary Change, Vol 73(3-4): 211-218.

Thomas, T., Phillips, M.R. and Williams, A.T. (2010). Mesoscale evolution of a headland bay: beach rotation processes.Geomorphology,Vol 123: 129-141.

Calado, H., Ng, K., Johnson, D.E., Sousa, L., Phillips, M.R. and Alves, F. (2010). Maritime Spatial Planning: Lessons Learned from the Portuguese Debate. Marine Policy, Vol 34: 1341-1349. 

Phillips, M.R., Edwards, A. and Williams, A.T. (2010). An incremental scenic assessment of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, UK. The Geographical Journal, Vol 176(4): 291-303.

Phillips, M.R., Powell, V.A. and Duck, R.W. (2009). Coastal regeneration at Llanelli, South Wales, UK: lessons not learned. Journal of Coastal Research. SI 56: 1276-1280.

Duck, R.W., Phillips, M.R., Williams, A.T. and Wadham, T.A. (2009). Is beach scenic quality a function of habitat diversity? Journal of Coastal Research. SI 56: 415-418.

Jenkins, R.E., Brown, R.D.H. and Phillips, M.R. (2009). Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) conservation management: a dimensional approach. Marine Policy, 33(5): 744-749.

Vaz, B., Williams, A.T., Pereira da Silva, C. and Phillips, M.R. (2009). The importance of user’s perceptions for beach management.Journal of Coastal Research. SI 56: 1164-1168.

Wells, I., Phillips, M.R., Rhodes, M. and Crowther, I. (2009). Automated Sensing Technologies for Coastal Monitoring (ASTEC).International Oceans Systems Mar/Apr 2009. 3pp.

Phillips, M.R. and House, C. (2009). An evaluation of priorities for beach tourism: case studies from South Wales, UK. Tourism Management. Vol 30(2): 176-183.

Phillips M.R. (2008). Beach erosion and marine aggregate dredging: a question of evidence? The Geographical Journal. Vol 174(4): 332-343.

Phillips, M.R. (2008). Discussion of Beach Response to a total exclusion barrage: Cardiff Bay, South Wales, UK. Journal of Coastal Research. Vol 24(5):1353-1354.

Phillips, M.R. (2008). Consequences of short term changes in coastal processes: a case study. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. Vol 33(13): 2094-2107.

Phillips, M.R., Abraham, E. J., Williams, A. T. and House, C. (2007). Function analysis as a coastal management tool: the South Wales coastline UK. Journal of Coastal Conservation. Vol. 11(3): 159-170.

Phillips, M.R. (2007). Beach response to a total exclusion barrage: Cardiff Bay, South Wales, UK. Journal of Coastal Research. Vol. 23(3): 794-805.

Phillips, M.R. and Williams, A. T. (2007). Depth of Closure and Shoreline Indicators – Empirical Formulae for Beach Management.Journal of Coastal Research. Vol. 23(2): 487-500.

Williams, A. T., Sellers, V. E. and Phillips, M.R. (2007). An assessment of South Wales (UK) Heritage Coasts: J. A. Steers revisited.Journal of Coastal Research. SI 50: 453-458.

Phillips, M.R. and Jones, A.L. (2006). Erosion and tourism infrastructure in the coastal zone: problems, consequences and management. Tourism Management. Vol. 27(3): 517-524.

Williams, A. T., Ergin, A., Micallef, A. and Phillips, M.R. (2005). Public Perception of Coastal Structures at Groyned beaches.Zeitschrift fur Geomorphologie. Vol. 141: 111-122.