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Selby Gardens Welcomes New Orchid Research Botanist

Accomplished Scientist Tatiana Arias Brings Expertise in Tropical Plant Biology and Conservation

Sarasota, Fla, December 2, 2021 – Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has added another world-class scientist to its diverse botany team.

Award-winning botanist Dr. Tatiana Arias joined the staff of Selby Gardens in November as an orchid researcher. An innovative scientist who earned her PhD at the University of Missouri, Arias comes to Sarasota from her native Colombia, where she has been leading an eponymous research lab for the past several years focused on orchid genomics, horticulture, and conservation.

“Dr. Arias is a classically trained botanist who has kept up with modern methods,” said Bruce Holst, vice president for botany at Selby Gardens. “Her interest in pursuing novel approaches to science is refreshing. Tatiana brings to us a passion for orchids as well as broad connections to the botanical world and to the Andes, where the greatest region of orchid diversity is found.”

Arias has over 15 years of experience working in plant sciences, particularly in the understanding and conservation of plants. She earned recognition and awards from the World Academy of Sciences and The Colombian Academy of Sciences, among other professional achievements. In Colombia, she developed her own scientific research program that focuses on orchid genomics, horticulture, and conservation. She also has taught and mentored young scientists from Colombia and beyond.

“Bringing on a scientist of Dr. Arias’ caliber will further Selby Gardens’ ability to participate in scientific collaborations that expand the reach of our mission,” said Jennifer Rominiecki, president & CEO of Selby Gardens. “Her work here will inform conservation efforts worldwide and enhance Selby Gardens’ position as an international authority on epiphytes.”

Arias pointed to Selby Gardens’ leadership in broadening and strengthening botanical research efforts by appointing scientists from around the world as one of the attractions to her new role. “As a Latin-American woman, I am passionate about and committed to diversity in academia,” said Arias. “This position presents an exciting opportunity to do top-notch orchid science research in an environment of other accomplished scholars.”

Arias joins a botany team that in recent years also added Dr. Sally Chambers, an expert on ferns.

About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens provides 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history. Established by forward thinking women of their time, Selby Gardens is composed of the 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus and the 30-acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County, Florida. The Downtown Campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. There is a significant focus on botany, horticulture, education, historical preservation, and the environment. The Historic Spanish Point campus is located less than 10 miles south along Little Sarasota Bay. One of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants that is interpreted for and open to the public, it celebrates an archaeological record that encompasses approximately 5,000 years of Florida history. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is also accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. For more information visit