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Dr. Ken Paynter

Captain and Professor

Dr. Paynter is an Associate Professor and Director of the MEES Program at UMD.  He completed his PhD at Iowa State University and his post doc at John’s Hopkins University. He was a research scientist at the John’s Hopkins Chesapeake Bay Institute before working at UMD.  When he is not studying oysters and advising students, Dr. Paynter enjoys hanging out with his family, including three dogs, and fly fishing.

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Drew Needham

Lab Manager

Drew started as an undergraduate researcher in the Paynter Lab in 2010, when he was a freshman at the University of Maryland. While an undergraduate, Drew conducted research on the cardiac response of oysters to environmental stimuli. Drew graduated from UMD in 2013 with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Upon graduation, Drew was hired as a full-time researcher in the lab. Drew took over as the Laboratory Manager in December of 2015. After more than eight years in the Paynter Lab, Drew will be leaving the lab this August to pursue his Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

Email: dneedham@umd.edu

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Audrey McDowell

Assistant Lab Manager

Audrey has been with the Paynter Lab since 2016.  She graduated with a Biology degree from East Carolina University in 2013. She has worked with submerged aquatic vegetation at the Anacostia Watershed Society and stormwater permitting at Maryland Department of the Environment. Audrey looks forward to expanding her career in resource management and her diving experience! While she's not at work, she is seeing as many movies as possible or working on her new house with her husband!

Email: APleva@umd.edu

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Allison Potter

Diving Specialist

Allison has been with the Paynter Lab since 2016 after graduating from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Biology. Allison started diving recreationally in 2008 and it has always been an integral part of her career path. She has persistently worked to advance her diving skills as a professional diver and has been a PADI scuba instructor since 2013. Outside of teaching, she also has used diving in the workforce at the National Aquarium in Baltimore when she was a husbandry/cleaning diver and now with the Paynter Lab. While working with the Paynter Lab, she has earned her USCG OUPV/6-Pack Captain's license. Allison is focused on progressing her research experience in the marine sciences. When she is not in the lab or in the field, she enjoys sailing on the Bay and cooking for her family. 

Email: APotter@umd.edu

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Anna Davis

PhD Student

Anna is a PhD student in the Marine Estuarine Environmental Science program at the University of Maryland College Park. Her research is focused on examining whether oysters from geographically distinct oyster reefs throughout the Chesapeake Bay show differential tolerance to low oxygen conditions. Prior to joining the Paynter lab, Anna worked in the science policy realm, including two years spent with the National Science Foundation’s Chemical Oceanography Program and a year spent as a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow with NOAA’s Marine Debris Program. She received her Bachelor’s in Biology from George Washington University and her Master’s in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston. Outside of the lab, Anna enjoys traveling, gardening, and spending time outdoors with her husband and two dogs.