northeastern university seal

Mark Patterson

Professor,  Marine and Environmental Sciences
Jointly Appointed,  Civil and Environmental Engineering
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Affairs,  College of Science
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

  • 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

  • MantaRay Microplastics Sampler
    • – Co-Principal Investigator, Schmidt Marine Technology Partners, Schmidt Family Foundation
  • Tide Gate Modulation of Wetland Function: Decision Support Through Engineering Best Practices
    • – Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation Environmental Sustainability

Selected Publications

  • 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
  • J. Elliott, M. Patterson, N. Summers, C. Miternique, E. Montocchio, E. Vitry, How Does the Proliferation of the Coral-Killing Sponge Terpios hoshinata Affect Benthic Community Structure on Coral Reefs?, Coral Reefs, 2016, 1-13


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.

May 19, 2015

Mark Patterson advances undersea monitoring

Mark Patterson, Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Understanding, predicting, and ultimately mitigating the impact of climate change on our urban coastlines requires close, continuous monitoring of earth’s oceans, as well as its atmosphere. But manned diving expeditions are expensive and limited in the amount of ocean area they […]

Dec 02, 2013

Researchers ready for historic aquatic ‘Mission’

"Only when he can range wider, stay longer, go deeper, can man learn to uti­lize the incred­ible wealth of the sea." In 1973, those words wel­comed viewers into the unprece­dented on-​​screen adven­ture of The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. Now, 40 years later, North­eastern researchers are teaming up with Cousteau’s grandson, Fabien, to reignite the famous oceanographer’s […]

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