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Dr Carl Boardman

Dr Carl P Boardman

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Professional biography

Lecturer in Energy and Environmental Sciences at The Open University; researching the environmental impact of waste management processes and end-of-life materials. Background in biogeochemistry (PhD) with expertise in carbon cycling and natural ecosystems. I teach on the MSc in Environmental Management (F65) qualification and undertake the Post Graduate Research Tutor role (PhD administration) for the School of Engineering and Innovation.

I am a member of the Integrated Waste Systems (IWS) research group at The Open University, which aims to  promote sustainable ways to manage waste and resources through a better understanding of analytical and social sciences in the area;


I am a multidisciplinary scientist therefore my research activities span a number of disciplines and additional research groups at the OU. I am affiliated with the Smart Materials research group and Materials Engineering research group;


Research interests

Main focus is on understanding how plastic products breakdown within different environments (e.g. composting, anaerobic digestion, terrestrial soils and the world’s oceans) and the impact their presence may have on the health of ecosystems. Other research interests include quantifying greenhouse gas emission from natural ecosystem and using satellite technology to investigate natural global phenomenon (e.g. pollution in the oceans and deforestation)

Summary of research interests and activities include:

  1. The quantification and breakdown of plastic materials within natural and managed environments;
  2. Greenhouse emissions from waste management processes;
  3. The use of satellites for earth observation

Lastest research paper (see publication tab for full list):



Biodegradability standards for carrier bags and plastic films in aquatic environments: a critical review (2018)
Harrison, Jesse P.; Boardman, Carl; O'Callaghan, Kenneth; Delort, Anne-Marie and Song, Jim. Royal Society Open Science, 5, Article 171792




PhD opportunities:

Microplastic Contamination: Environmental Impact in Terrestrial Ecosystems

Plastics in the Air: Quantifying sources with novel detection methods


Current PhD students:

Ahmed Nawaz - Microbiology degradation of plastics in aquatic environments.

This project aims to determine the interaction of various plastics with marine microbial communities, with a focus on isolation and characterisation of microbial degraders. Different analytical tools are being applied to meet the project goals, including incubation experiments in the environment and under controlled laboratory conditions to assess the longevity, fate and microbial plastic degradation in the marine realm

Supervisors: Karen Olsson-Francis (OU), Toni Gladding (OU) and Carl Boardman (OU)  

Javier Ruiz-Ramos - Monitoring deforestation worldwide using radar satellite data -

This project aims to highlight the capabilities of Synthetic Aperture Radar - SAR satellite sensors for detecting disturbances in the world's forests; with a focus on the investigation of forest transformations associated with human socio-economic activities (e.g. logging, windthrows, flood, wildfires). This research combines different datasets acquired by multiple space-borne and airborne sensors (Lidar, radar, optical) together with ground measurements acquired by the Forestry Commission, in order to perform a thorough investigation of the multitemporal changes occurred in forests.

Supevisors: Armando Marino (Stirling), Vincent Gauci (OU) and Carl Boardman (OU)

Alice Fraser-McDonald - Landfill site trees: Potential source of sink of greenhouse gases?

This project is focused on investigating the potential role of trees in the exchange of greenhouse gases from closed landfill sites to the atmosphere, with a particular focus on methane. Aim is to discover whether planting trees on closed landfill sites will help to mitigate the effects of greenhouse gases from landfills on the global carbon cycle, or amplify the effect by channelling emissions from the waste directly to the atmosphere.

Supevisors: Vincent Gauci (OU), Toni Gladding and Carl Boardman (OU)

Contract research and consultancy

Biodegradability testing


Aerobic - Dynamic respiration tests (DR4); biodegradability plastic testing (EN 13432); PAS100 stability test; real-world simulations - terrestrial soils and aquatic environments.​



Anaerobic - Biochemical and residual methane potential test (BMc - RBP); real-world simulations, e.g. anoxic soils, landfill simulations and oceanic sedmiments. 


Teaching interests

Managing for Environmental Sustainability (Chair - 2016 onwards)

This modules increases students understanding of delivering and supporting sustainability management. It takes a multidisciplinary perspective on resources, sustainability and health and safety management, through a greater understanding of strategy, policy, data collection and knowledge management.

Environmental Monitoring and Protection

This module teaches different environmental monitoring techniques for water, noise, air, and wastes; how to model and interpret the impacts of pollutants; and the techniques available to eliminate the pollutants.

Impact and engagement


Blue Planet LIVE (2019). Academic Consultant.


Biodegradable film experiments:


2015 - Technology advisory board on biodegradability standards (single-use carrier bag levy).

Advertising Standards Authority


Continuous Forest Monitoring Using Cumulative Sums of Sentinel-1 Timeseries (2020)
Ruiz-Ramos, Javier; Marino, Armando; Boardman, Carl and Suarez, Juan
Remote Sensing, 12(18) (e3061)

Biodegradability standards for carrier bags and plastic films in aquatic environments: a critical review (2018)
Harrison, Jesse P.; Boardman, Carl; O'Callaghan, Kenneth; Delort, Anne-Marie and Song, Jim
Royal Society Open Science, 5, Article 171792

A culture-independent and culture-dependent study of the bacteria community from the bedrock soil interface (2015-12-15)
Olsson-Francis, Karen; Pearson, Victoria; Boardman, Carl; Schofield, Paul; Oliver, Anna and Summers, Stephen
Advances in Microbiology, 5(13) (pp. 842-857)

A mesocosm study of the effect of restoration on methane (CH4) emissions from blanket peat (2014-10-12)
Green, Sophie; Baird, Andy J.; Boardman, Carl P. and Gauci, Vincent
Wetlands Ecology and Management, 22(5) (pp. 523-537)

Reduction of the temperature sensitivity of minerotrophic fen methane emissions by simulated glacial atmospheric carbon dioxide starvation (2013-04-10)
Boardman, Carl P.; Gauci, Vincent; Fox, Andrew; Blake, Stephen and Beerling, David J.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 118(2) (pp. 462-470)

Contrasting wetland CH4 emission responses to simulated glacial atmospheric CO2 in temperate bogs and fens (2011-12)
Boardman, Carl P.; Gauci, Vincent; Watson, Jonathan S.; Blake, Stephen and Beerling, David J.
New Phytologist, 192(4) (pp. 898-911)

Aerosol evolution from a busy road in North-West England (2009-02)
Davison, Brian; Whyatt, Duncan and Boardman, Carl
Meteorologische Zeitschrift, 18(1) (pp. 55-60)

Greenhouse gas emissions from trees planted on closed landfill sites (2021-10-12)
Fraser-Mcdonald, Alice; Boardman, Carl; Gladding, Toni; Burnley, Stephen and Gauci, Vincent
In : Sardinia Symposium 2021 (11-15 Oct 2021, Online)

Tree stem greenhouse gas emissions from forested closed landfill sites (2021-04-29)
Fraser-McDonald, Alice; Boardman, Carl; Gladding, Toni; Burnley, Stephen and Gauci, Vincent
In : EGU General Assembly 2021 (19-30 Apr 2021, Online)

Detecting microplastics pollution in world oceans using SAR remote sensing (2018-05-14)
Davaasuren, Narangerel; Marino, Armando; Ackermann, Nicolas; Alparone, Matteo; Nunziata, Ferdinando and Boardman, Carl
In : IGARSS 2018: IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (22-27 Jul 2018, Valencia, Spain)

Exploring The Use Of SAR Remote Sensing To Detect Microplastics Pollution In The Oceans (2018-05-01)
Davaasuren, Narangerel; Marino, Armando; Boardman, Carl; Ackermann, Nicolas; Alparone, Matteo and Nunziata, Ferdinando
In : 5th Advances in SAR Oceanography Workshop (SeaSAR 2018) (7-11 May 2018, Frascati, Italy)

Polarimetry SAR detectors for monitoring Mediterranean forest fires events (2018-03-13)
Ruiz-Ramos, Javier; Marino, Armando and Boardman, Carl P.
In : Wavelength conference 2018 (12-14 Mar 2018, University of Sheffield)

Using Sentinel 1-SAR for Monitoring Long Term Variation in Burnt Forest Areas (2018)
Ruiz-Ramos, Javier; Marino, Armando and Boardman, Carl P.
In : IGARSS 2018 - 2018 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (22-27 Jul 2018, Valencia, Spain) (pp. 4901-4904)

Plastic Microbial Acclimation and Optimisation of Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Processes may Improve Degradation Times (2017-10-02)
Boardman, C. P.; Summers, S. S.; Olsson-Francis, K. and Gladding, T.
In : 16th International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium (Sardinia 2017) (2-6 Oct 2017, S. Margherita di Pula, Sardinia, Italy,)

The Use Of Dynamic Life Cycle Assessment To Evaluate The Long Term Climate Change Impacts Of Waste Management Processes (2017-10-02)
Burnley, Stephen and Boardman, Carl
In : 16th International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium (Sardinia 2017) (2-6 Oct 2017, S. Margherita di Pula, Sardinia, Italy,)

Greenhouse gas emissions from non-recyclable residual household waste within domestic wheeled bins (2015-10-05)
Boardman, C.; Burnley, S.; Gauci, V. and Gladding, T.
In : 15th International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium (Sardinia 2015) (5-9 Oct 2015, S. Margherita di Pula, Sardinia, Italy)

Wetland methane emission response to last glacial maximum atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (2008-12)
Boardman, C.; Gauci, V. and Beerling, D.
In : American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2008 (15-18 Dec 2008, San Francisco, USA)

Review of standards for biodegradable plastic bags. (2015-12-17)
O'Callaghan, K.; Boardman, Carl; Murphy, Richard; Harrison, Jesse; Kosior, Ed; Song, Jim and Delort, Anne-Marie
Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, London.

Evidence: Biofilter performance and operation as related to commercial composting (2013-04)
Frederickson, J.; Boardman, C. P.; Gladding, T. L.; Simpson, A. E.; Howell, G. and Sgouridis, F.
Environment Agency, Bristol.

Investigation of peatland restoration (grip blocking) techniques to achieve best outcomes for methane and greenhouse gas emissions/balance. Controlled Environment (Mesocosm) Experiment. Final Report to Defra. Project code SP1202 (2011)
Green, S; Boardman, Carl; Baird, A and Gauci, Vincent