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Current Projects

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Joe Capping Tubes
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Cape Abilities worker Joe Sattler tapes caps onto archived sample tubes whose caps had fallen off. This is one of the several jobs Cape Abilities workers perform in the Coastal Research Lab. (Nick Waldo)

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Cape Abilities worker Joe Sattler, and Project Manager Charlotte Wiman crushing sediment in preparation for use in the gamma counter.  (Stephanie Madsen)

Current Projects

     Ongoing work as of January 2016 involves the lab of Jeff Donnelly in the Coastal Systems Group. Cape Abilities crews work with the project manager to extract and crush sediment from sediment cores from around the world. This sediment is carefully weighed before being passed on to WHOI scientists working in the Coastal Systems Group.

     The Coastal Systems Group uses gamma radiation to identify the isotope composition of the sediment grains. This data can be used to determine how long ago the sediment was deposited. Jeff Donnelly and his colleagues compare those ages to the size of sand and silt grains and the dates of historic storms to determine what size of historic hurricanes it takes to create certain storm deposits. This information can then be used to determine frequency of pre-historic hurricanes, which can be used to better establish correlations between climate and hurricane frequency and intensity, which is important information in planning for the future. 

Because elemental content is being measured, the Cape Abilities work crews have to pay attention to contamination of the samples, and great care is taken to prevent even a single particle of sediment being transported into the wrong sample. Best laboratory practices are followed and all containers and tools must be washed with deionized water between samples.

Cape Abilities workers also perform other tasks as needed around the lab, such as re-taping the caps onto archived samples that have fallen into disrepair and assisting in labeling. 

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Barnstable High School group posing outside of the WHOI Exhibit Center after their tour. (Photo by Elaine Sinni)

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The group deep in discussion about the adventures of the WHOI shark cam. (Photo by Elaine Sinni)

Special Education High School Programs

Beginning in September 2015, WHOI and Cape Abilities partnered up with the support of the Tower Foundation to introduce high school special education students to the world of oceanography. We aim to provide an educational experience involving oceanography, science and technology while demonstrating opportunities for people with disabilities at WHOI. 

Last updated: January 25, 2016

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