Dr. Ken Paynter

Principal Investigator and Captain

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.


Audrey McDowell

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


Allison Potter

Captain and Field Manager

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


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. 


Jake Schlenoff

Undergraduate Intern

Jake is a Senior at the University of Maryland CP majoring in Biology with a specialty in Ecology and Evolution. He has been a certified diver since 2016 and has been diving in the Caribbean and Australia.  After graduating, he hopes to study sharks feeding and mating patterns. He joined the Paynter Lab in the summer of 2018 and looks forward to gaining his scientific diving certificate.