My time in Madrid

¡Hola a todos!

I just got home for the first time since January after finishing my internship in Madrid, Spain! I spent the last few weeks working at the Herbarium in the Botany department at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. The Herbarium at the Universidad serves as the vehicle for storing archival information about the different plants professors and students have studied over the years. I worked closely with two professors and the Herbarium technician, learning all the steps of introducing a new entry and then using it to corroborate other current research.

My daily work consisted of taking plants that had already been pressed, dried, and identified and mounting them onto sheets in the institution’s standardized style. I then registered each document into a book with its most important identifying features, including the name of the species and the name of the person or people who determined it, the date and location of its collection, and a number that corresponds plant to book. I also helped out with the computerization of the registration book, transferring the same details into a database engineered by Spanish botanists.

One of the types of the herbarium, the first recorded individual of this specimen in the world.

I also accompanied a few field visits done by the professor who headed the fern systematics lab and some of his students who were working on both undergraduate and graduate degrees. We went to a few countryside sites, collected different species, and brought them back to the Herbarium to either confirm their identity or add them to the collection.

The Sierra of Madrid, the location for one of our field trips to gather plants.

I absolutely loved my time in Madrid! It was nice to be in a big city after spending the spring semester in Córdoba, and every time I went exploring I found new places to visit. My favorite spots in the city were the Real Jardín Botánico, which was gigantic and beautifully taken care of, and the neighborhood Malasaña, where there were never many cars on the street and tons of cute shops and restaurants.

An angle of the Real Jardín Botánico.

I look forward to being back on campus in the fall and using this experience and the research I’ve done while here in the writing of my SIP!

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