Carl E. Lewis, Ph. D.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156
Phone: 305-667-1651, ext. 3333
Fax: 305.667.6930


Ph.D. in Systematic Botany, L. H. Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University, 2001.

B.A. with honors in Botany, minor concentration in Chemistry, Connecticut College, 1995.


December 2008 to present: Director, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Adjunct faculty at the University of Miami and Florida International University. Providing leadership and long-term vision. Building and implementing a strategic plan for Horticulture, Education, and Research programs to carry out the mission of the institution. Providing direction for new buildings and infrastructure. Developing and implementing budgets, policies, and administrative procedures. Ensuring that the horticultural exhibits, collections, and interpretation are maintained at the highest standard.

March 2005 to December 2008: Researcher, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Center for Tropical Plant Conservation, Specialized in horticultural science, plant exploration, systematics, and conservation.

November 2004 to March 2005: Acting Director of Horticulture, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Managed a staff of 22, including curators, plant records technicians, exhibit managers, and gardeners. Helped staff adopt and implement a new institution-wide strategic plan.  Supervised recruitment of a new department head. Administered department budgets, accounts, and grant reporting. Managed departmental facilities, including nurseries, conservatories, and irrigation systems.

2001 to 2004: R. H. Simons Senior Curator of Horticulture, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Head scientist for Fairchild’s living plant collection. Managed staff of three plant curators, two nursery managers, and a conservation horticulturist. Initiated projects and acquired funding to evaluate and improve the diversity and conservation value of Fairchild’s collection. Collected plants in southern Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean.

2000 to 2001: Postdoctoral Researcher, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Used DNA techniques to study the taxonomy and evolutionary biology of palms in Fairchild’s living collection.

1995 to 2000: Teaching Assistant, Cornell University, Included undergraduate courses in evolutionary biology, plant taxonomy, and systematic botany.


Andrus, N., A. Tye, G. Nesom, D. Bogler, C. Lewis, R. Noyes, P. Jaramillo, and J. Francisco-Ortega. Phylogenetics of Darwiniothamnus (Asteraceae: Astereae) – Molecular evidence for multiple origins of the endemic flora of the Galapagos Islands. Journal of Biogeography, in press.

Dransfield, J., N. Uhl, W. J. Baker, C. B. Asmussen, M. Harley, and C. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum: The Evolution and Classification of Palms. Kew Publishing, UK.

Lewis, C. E., and S. Zona. 2008. Leucothrinax morrisii, a new name for a familiar Caribbean palm. PALMS 52: 84-88.

Roncal, J., S. Zona, and C. E. Lewis. 2008. Molecular phylogenetic studies of West Indian Palms (Arecaceae) and their relationships to biogeography and conservation. The Botanical Review 74: 78-102.

Thornton, H., J. Roncal, C. Lewis, J. Maschinski, and J. Francisco-Ortega. 2008. Conservation genetics of Jacquemontia reclinata (Convolvulaceae), an endangered species from southern Florida: Implications for restoration management. Biotropica 40: 507-514.

Cariaga, K., R. Oviedo, A. Anderberg, J. Pruski, C. Lewis, and J. Francisco-Ortega. Systematic position of Feddea (Asteraceae: Feddeeae): A taxonomically enigmatic and critically endangered genus endemic to Cuba. Systematic Botany 33: 193-202.

Francisco-Ortega, J., E. Santiago-Valentín, P. Acevedo-Rodríguez, C. Lewis, J. Pipoly, A. W. Meerow, and M. Maunder. 2007. Seed plant genera endemic to the Caribbean Island biodiversity hotspot: A review and a molecular phylogenetic perspective. The Botanical Review 73: 183-234.

Zona, S., C. Lewis, A. Leiva-Sanchez, and R. Verdecia-Perez. 2007. Conservation Status of West Indian Palms. Oryx 41: 300-305.

Namoff, S., H. E. B. Thornton, C. E. Lewis, R. Oviedo, and J. Francisco-Ortega. 2007. Molecular evidence for taxonomic relationships of Jacquemontia reclinata House (Convolvulaceae): a critically endangered species from South Florida. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 154: 443-454.

Roncal, J., J. Francisco-Ortega, and C. E. Lewis. 2007. An evaluation of the taxonomic distinctness of two Geonoma macrostachys (Arecaceae) varieties based on intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) variation. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 153: 381-392.

Davis, A., C. Lewis, J. Francisco-Ortega, and S. Zona. 2007. Differentiation among insular and continental populations of Coccothrinax argentata (Arecaceae): evidence from DNA markers and a common garden experiment. Taxon 56: 103-111.

Dransfield, J., N. W. Uhl, C. B. Asmussen, W. J. Baker, M. M. Harley, and C. E. Lewis. 2005. A New Phylogenetic Classification Of The Palm Family, Arecaceae. Kew Bulletin, 60: 559-569.

Baker, W. J., S. Zona, C. D. Heatubun, C. E. Lewis, R. A. Maturbongs and M. V. Norup. 2006. Dransfieldia (Arecaceae) – A New Palm Genus From Western New Guinea. Systematic Botany 31: 61-69.

Roncal, J., S. Zona and C. E. Lewis. 2005. Calyptrogyne plumeriana, A New Taxonomic Combination. Palms 49: 149-150.

Roncal, J., J. Francisco-Ortega, C. B. Asmussen, and C. E. Lewis. 2005. Molecular phylogenetics of tribe Geonomeae (Arecaceae) using nuclear DNA sequences of phosphoribulokinase and RNA polymerase II. Systematic Botany 30: 275-283.

Cariaga, K. A., C. E. Lewis, J. Maschinski, S. J. Wright, and J. Francisco-Ortega 2005. Patterns Of Genetic Diversity In The Critically Endangered Florida Key Endemic Consolea corallicola Small (Cactaceae): Evidence From Inter Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSRs) DNA Polymorphisms. Caribbean Journal Of Science 41: 225-233.

Lewis, C. E. and Jeff J. Doyle. 2002. A phylogenetic analysis of palm tribe Areceae using two low-copy nuclear genes. Plant Systematics and Evolution 236: 1-17.

Lewis, C. E. 2002. A phylogenetic study of palm subtribe Oncospermatinae based on morphological characters. Brittonia 54: 78-91.

Lewis, C. E. and Jeff J. Doyle. 2001. Phylogenetic utility of the nuclear gene malate synthase in the palm family (Arecaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 19: 409-420.

Lewis, C. E., C. B. Asmussen, and W. J. Baker. 2000. DNA and Palm Evolution. Palms 44: 19-24.

Lewis, C. E. and N. Martinez. 2000. Identity of the Hyophorbe palms at the Botanical Garden of Cienfuegos, Cuba. Palms 44: 93-97.

Lewis, C. E. and S. Zona. 2000. A survey of cyanogenesis in palms. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 28: 219-228.

Recent presentations to scientific conferences:

American Society of Plant Taxonomists/Botanical Society of America Meeting. Vancouver, BC, Jul. 2008.

  • Namoff, S., M. P. Griffith, C. Lewis, J. Francisco-Ortega, and L. R. Noblick. “Ex situ conservation collection efficacy: a study of Thrinax morrisii.