Mark Patterson

Professor,  Marine and Environmental Sciences
Jointly Appointed,  Civil and Environmental Engineering
Chief Technology Officer,  Global Resilience Institute


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  • 781.581.7370 x313

Research Focus

Development of autonomous underwater robots for civil infrastructure and marine sensing; decision support tools for gray/green infrastructure like tide gates; environmental fluid mechanics; biomechanics and mass transfer in living systems


  • Ph.D., Biology, Harvard University, 1985
  • A.M., Biology, Harvard University, 1982
  • A.B., magna cum laude with highest honors in Biology, Harvard College, 1979

Honors & Awards

  • Explorers Club Flag Award – Fabien Cousteau’s Mission 31
  • Member of the Year Award, Association of Unmanned Vehicles Systems International, 2011
  • Outstanding Faculty Award, Commonwealth of Virginia, 2010
  • Lockheed Martin Award for Excellence in Ocean Science & Engineering, 2008
  • Antarctic Service Medal, National Science Foundation, 2006
  • Phi Beta Kappa Award for the Advancement of Scholarship, 1996

Professional Affiliations

  • Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Oceanic Engineering Society
  • Marine Technology Society
  • Editorial Board, Coral Reefs
  • Salem Sound Coastwatch science advisory board

Research Overview

Development of autonomous underwater robots for civil infrastructure and marine sensing; decision support tools for gray/green infrastructure like tide gates; environmental fluid mechanics; biomechanics and mass transfer in living systems

Selected Research Projects

Selected Publications

  • S.D. Williams, M.R. Patterson, Resistance and Robustness of the Global Coral-Symbiont Network, Ecology, 101(5), 2020, e02990
  • N. Relles, M. Patterson, D. Jones, Change Detection in a Marine Protected Area (MPA) over Three Decades on Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean, Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 2018, 1-10
  • A.C. Trembanis, A.L. Forrest, B.M. Keller, M.R. Patterson Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems: A Geoacoustically Derived Proxy for Habitat and Relative Diversity for the Leeward Shelf of Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean, Frontiers in Marine Science, 4(51), 2017
  • R.H. Certner, A.M. Dwyer, M.R. Patterson, S.V. Vollmer Zooplankton as a Potential Vector for White Band Disease Transmission in the Endangered Coral, Acropora Cervicornis, Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences, 5, 2017, e3502


Feb 26, 2024

Northeastern Among Top 100 Universities for Utility Patents

Northeastern University, recognized for its excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship, has once again been named one of the top 100 universities worldwide for securing utility patents by the National Academy of Inventors.


Sep 28, 2023

Developing a Robotic Aquaculture System

BioE/ECE Affiliated Faculty Joseph Ayers, MES/CEE Professor Mark Patterson, CEE Chair Jerome Hajjar, ECE Professor Milica Stojanovic, and CEE/MES Associate Professor Amy Mueller were awarded a patent for “Robotic aquaculture system and methods.”


May 22, 2023

Coming soon: A Co-op Experience Living Under the Ocean in the World’s Largest Undersea Science Station

MES/CEE Professor Mark Patterson and CEE Affiliated Faculty Brian Helmuth serve as chief science advisors for the Proteus project, which involves the development of an underwater habitat observatory and lab off the coast of Curacao to research marine science and train for extreme environments like outer space.

Mark Patteron holds the Trident ROV robot.


Jul 22, 2021

Patterson Receives Fulbright Award to Chart Kelp Forests

MES/CEE Professor Mark Patterson was selected for a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award where he will be mapping uncharted kelp forests at the Université Laval in Quebec City.


Jul 24, 2017

Patterson, Fernandez, & Helmuth Awarded $300K NSF Grant

COS/CEE Professor Mark Patterson, CEE/COS Assistant Professor Loretta Fernandez, and CEE affiliated Professor Brian Helmuth were awarded a $300K NSF grant for "Tide gate modulation of wetland function: decision support through engineering best practices".


Jun 26, 2017

3D Printing in the Classroom

CAMD/COE Assistant Teaching Professor Mark Sivak and FYELC Associate Academic Specialist Jennifer Love demonstrated their use of 3D printing at TEXPO, Information Technology Services’ third annual Teaching and Technology Expo.


Mar 23, 2017

FY18 TIER 1 Award Recipients

21 COE faculty and affiliates were recipients of FY18 TIER 1 Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grants for 12 different projects representing $600K dollars of investment in research.

May 19, 2016

Inventing Marine Robots

Professors Hanumant Singh (ECE), Mark Patterson (CEE & MES), and Joseph Ayers (MES) are inventing new and improved robots to explore parts of the ocean that humans cannot.


Sep 24, 2015

Research Fair a Big Success

The COE Undergraduate Research Lab fair gathered hundreds of students eager to learn about the research opportunities available to them.

Jul 13, 2015

Attending Comic-Con to Raise Awareness

CEE & COS Professor Mark Patterson attended Comic-Con dressed as a Coral Polyp to raise awareness about the dangers of microplastics in the ocean.

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