In October 2013 the partnership started having Cape Abillities work crews assist with various tasks in the Coastal Research Lab. This project involves having Cape Abilities workers work with scientific samples for the first time. Work crews worked with the project manager to extract sediment from cores taken in the field, then dry and powder the sediment. 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 invaluable information in planning for the future.
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.