Dr Mike Shepherd

Dune field, estuary, karst and volcanic coasts and paleo investigations


Dr Shepherd received his Bachelor od Science (hons) Degree in Geology from the University of London and his PhD in the geomorphology of the Myall Lakes area in New South Wales from the University of Sydney.  After working as a sedimentologist for Shell he was a Senior Lecturer/Researcher in Physical Geography at Massey University.


Dr Shepherd is an internationally recognized expert in coastal evolution and has substantially contributed to the understanding of the development of sand plains, spits, beaches, foredunes, transgressive dune fields, and also karst (limestone) coasts. He has carried out detailed studies of several Pleistocene-Holocene sand barrier systems around the New Zealand coast and authored numerous associated papers and books.


Dr Shepherd became a coastal practitioner at Coastal Systems in 2009 and has carried out environmental impact assessments on a range of proposed developments within coastal dune fields and estuaries.    A selection of CSL reports are listed on the “Our Services” page.


 Selected coastal science publications


  • Shepherd M.J. 1991: Relict and contemporary foredunes as indicators of coastal processes. In Brierley, G. and Chappell J. (eds.), Applied Quaternary Studies. Papers presented to a workshop at the Australia National University, July 2-3, 1990.
  • Shepherd M.J. 1994: Explaining spatial variations in coastal processes and landforms in New Zealand and Southern Australia. New Zealand Geographical Society Conference Series 16, 692-696.
  • Shepherd M.J. 1994: Higher energy coastal environments in Viti Levu, Fiji – location and landform development. New Zealand Geographical Society Conference Series 16, 697-700.
  • Shepherd M. J. and Eliot I. G. 1995: Major phases of coastal erosion ca. 6700-6000 and ca. 3000 2000 years B.P. between Cervantes and Dongara, Western Australia.Quaternary International 27, 125-130.
  • Shepherd M.J. 1997: Formation, landforms, and palaeoenvironment of Matakana Island, Bay of Plenty, and implications for archaeology. Department of Conservation Science and Research Series 102, 100pp.
  • Shand, R.D., Bailey, D. and Shepherd, M., 1999. Characteristics of bar switching on the Wanganui Coast. New Zealand Geographical Society Conference, July 8, Massey University, Palmerston North, NZ.
  • Shand, R.D., Bailey, D.G. Shepherd, M.J., 1999. An inter-site comparison of net offshore bar migration characteristics and environmental conditions. Journal of Coastal Research, 15 (3), 750-765.
  • Shepherd M. J. 2000: Coasts – the Edge of the Land. Pp 34-39 in Saunders B.G.R. (ed.)The South of the North – Manawatu and its Neighbours. School of Global Studies, Massey University.
  • Shepherd M.J., Betts H.D., McFadgen B.G. & Sutton D.G. 2000 : Geomorphological evidence for a Pleistocene barrier at Matakana Island, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics43, 579-58.
  • Shand, R.D., Bailey, D.G. Shepherd, M.J., 2001. Longshore realignment of nearshore parallel sand-bars at Wanganui, New Zealand. Marine Geology 179 147-161.
  • Shepherd M. J. & Hesp P. A. 2003: Sandy Barriers and Coastal Dunes. Chapter 8 in Rouse H, Goff J. and Nichol S. (eds.) The New Zealand Coast: Te Tai O Aotearoa.Dunmore Press.
  • Shand, R.D.; Hesp, P.A., Bailey, D.G., and Shepherd, M.J., 2003. A conceptual beach-state model for the inner bar of a storm-dominate, low to moderate tidal range coast at Wanganui, New Zealand. Proceedings of Coastal Sediments 2003.
  • Shand, R.D., Hesp, P.A., and Shepherd, M, J., 2004. Beach cut in relation to net offshore bar migration. International Coastal Symposium 2004, Brazil.