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Jillian K. Decker PhD

Jillian K. Decker, PhD

Jillian K. Decker, PhD

Assistant Professor, Biology

Academic II, Room 2305


Jillian Decker holds a PhD in biology from Fordham University and relishes applying her field experience in microbiology to her teaching. She uses a variety teaching methods that incorporate active student learning. She is “committed to getting students involved in hands-on learning experiences” in biology and environmental sciences. At Passaic County CC, she developed an exercise where students learned how to utilize public databases to assess water quality in their local waterways. At RCC, she envisions developing similar course material and encouraging student participation in exercises outside the classroom.

Dr. Decker has eight years of teaching experience as an adjunct science instructor at RCC (2005-2006, 2012-2013) and as a graduate instructor at Fordham (2005–2011) and Stony Brook University, SUNY (2003-2004). From 2006 to 2011 she assisted in mentoring diverse groups of undergraduates at Fordham’s biological field station as part of a summer program promoting science research education. Dr. Decker holds an MS in Marine and Atmospheric Sciences from Stony Brook and a BS in Marine Biology from the University of Rhode Island.



  • PhD Biology, Fordham University, 2012
  • MS Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, 2005
  • BS Marine Biology, University of Rhode Island, 2002



  • Alumni Dissertation Fellow, Fordham University, 2011-2012
  • Clare Boothe Luce Fellow, Fordham University, 2008-2009
  • Alpha Award: Recognition for Outstanding Accomplishments in Biology, University of Rhode Island, 2002



  • Smith (Decker), J.K., Lonsdale, D.J., Gobler, C.J., and D.A. Caron, article in Journal of Plankton Research, Volume 30, pp. 937-950, 2008. Summary: Feeding behavior and growth of microscopic grazers on the harmful alga, Aureococcus anophagefferens, which is responsible for the periodic discoloration or “coffee-like” appearance of bays surrounding Long Island.
  • Decker, J.K., Wehr, J.D., Houser, J.N., and W. B. Richardson. 2015 (online). Spatiotemporal phytoplankton patterns in the Upper Mississippi River in response to seasonal variation in discharge and other environmental factors. River Systems.  DOI:10.1127/rs/2015/0103 Summary: Phytoplankton, or floating microscopic algae, are important primary producers (they photosynthesize like plants!). Some species are better for the ecosystem than others and it is important to identify the environmental factors that drive species composition.