David J. Coughlin
College of Arts & Sciences

Biology Professor Receives Cynthia H. Sarnoski Faculty Fellowship to Continue Climate Change Research

Biology Professor David Coughlin has been awarded the Cynthia H. Sarnoski Faculty Fellowship award to support his research focused on climate change and wild brook trout. This is the second time Coughlin has been the recipient of this award, which will run from July 2023 through June 2025.

“The future of biological systems, upon which humans depend, is imperiled by climate change. My laboratory uses multiple experimental approaches to examine how changes in the environment affect the physiological performance of a given organism,” Coughlin explained.

Coughlin works together with Widener students to examine the impact of rising temperatures due to climate change on muscle function in brook trout. Working in the lab, the team has found a strong physiological response to a warming environment in a controlled setting. In the past year, Coughlin has begun analyzing wild, native brook trout populations across the state of Pennsylvania. 

“This study aims to bring data together from throughout the year to determine how wild trout are responding to changing environmental temperatures,” says Coughlin. “We hope to gain insights that will contribute to management of threatened brook trout populations.”

The Sarnoski Fellowship supports science faculty through a generous gift made by Cynthia H. Sarnoski, who serves as vice chair of Widener’s Board of Trustees. Sarnoski graduated from Widener in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. She is a retired senior vice president for Global Compliance and Quality Systems for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. 

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