top of page




I am a PhD student in the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) studying Interdisciplinary Ecology. My current research project is based out of the Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach, Florida where I collaborate directly with the Florida Aquarium to develop commercial scale methods for Diadema sea urchin aquaculture and restoration.  Before joining the Patterson lab, I was an Aquarist at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland for three years and was responsible for maintaining the institution’s live coral reef exhibits. While there I fostered a strong interest in life support design for closed system aquariums. I have additional research experience in coral reef ecology and fisheries science at both the New England Aquarium and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, respectively. I am also a certified PADI open water scuba diver instructor.



  • B.S. Biology and Environmental Studies, Tufts University, Medford, MA


  • Best Young Investigator Oral Presentation, 2019 International Symposium on Stock Enhancement and Sea Ranching

  • Marine Aquarium Societies of North America (MASNA), 2020 Graduate Student Scholarship

  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant, 2021, UF School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences

  • Best Talk - Student Spotlight Competition, 2021 Aquaculture America Meeting, San Antonio, TX

  • Best Student Abstract Award, 2021 Aquaculture America Meeting, San Antonio, TX



Pilnick A, O’Neil K, Moe M, and Patterson J. 2021. A novel system for Diadema antillarum propagation as a step towards population enhancement. Scientific Reports 11: 11244.

Henry J, O’Neil K, Pilnick A, and Patterson J. 2021. Strategies for integrating sexually propagated corals into Caribbean reef restoration: experimental results and considerations. Coral Reefs 40: 1667-1677.

Pechenik, JA, Chaparro, OR, Pilnick A, Karp M, Acquafredda M, and Burns R. 2016. Effects of embryonic exposure to salinity stress or hypoxia on

     post-metamorphic growth and survival of the Polychaete Capitella teleta. Biological Bulletin 231:103–112.

bottom of page