Alaska Science Center


Our Alaska Science Center priority is to continue the important work of the Department of the Interior and the USGS, while also maintaining the health and safety of our employees and community.  Based on guidance from the White House, the CDC, and state and local authorities, we are shifting our operations to a virtual mode and have minimal staffing within our offices. If you need additional assistance, please contact Chris Zimmerman.

Learn more about our science

In the Spotlight

In the Spotlight

A new USGS fact sheet describes assessments on focal species and important topic areas in the Arctic. The USGS and collaborators provide information about Arctic ecosystems that are used by Arctic residents, management agencies, and industry.

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Current Water Conditions

Current Water Conditions

Explore real-time Alaska streamflow, groundwater, and water-quality conditions and access data with our new interactive map application.

Current Conditions


Date published: May 25, 2021

May is Wildfire Awareness Month

Learn how USGS scientists provide information, work with partners, and develop tools to help make decisions before, during, and after wildfires in desert, grassland, tundra, wetland, and forest ecosystems across the United States.

Date published: April 7, 2021

National Park Service Feature Story on Pacific Marine Heatwave

Marine heatwaves are global phenomena that can have major impacts on the structure and function of coastal ecosystems. The 2014-2016 northeast Pacific marine heatwave in the Gulf of Alaska was the longest lasting heatwave globally over the past decade.   

Date published: March 25, 2021

Publication on Ecosystem Response to an Unprecedented Marine Heatwave in the Gulf of Alaska

The 2014-2016 northeast Pacific marine heatwave in the Gulf of Alaska was the longest lasting heatwave globally over the past decade. A new study led by NOAA Fisheries scientists and partners, including four USGS Alaska Science Center scientists, provides an ecosystem-wide look at immediate and lingering effects of the eastern Pacific marine heatwave in the Gulf of Alaska.


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Year Published: 2021

Physiomorphic transformation in extreme endurance migrants: Revisiting the case of bar-tailed godwits preparing for trans-pacific flights

In a 1998 paper entitled “Guts don’t fly: small digestive organs in obese bar-tailed godwits,” Piersma and Gill (1998) showed that the digestive organs were tiny and the fat loads huge in individuals suspected of embarking on a non-stop flight from Alaska to New Zealand. It was suggested that prior to migratory departure, these godwits...

Piersma, Theunis; Gill, Robert E.; Ruthrauff, Daniel R.

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Year Published: 2021

Diet composition and body condition of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in relation to sea ice habitat in the Canadian High Arctic

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) rely on sea ice for hunting marine mammal prey. Declining sea ice conditions associated with climate warming have negatively affected polar bears, especially in the southern portion of their range. At higher latitudes, the transition from multi-year ice to thinner annual ice has been hypothesized to increase...

Florko, Katie R. N.; Thiemann, Gregory W.; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.; Richardson, Evan S.

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Year Published: 2021

Diverse patterns of migratory timing, site use, and site fidelity by Alaska-breeding Whimbrels

Birds that conduct long-distance migrations exhibit varied patterns of consistency in migratory timing and site use. Understanding variation in these traits among populations can help uncover mechanisms driving migratory behaviors and identify potential population threats. Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus) are long-distance migratory shorebirds with a...

Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Harwood, Christopher M.; Tibbitts, Lee; Warnock, Nils; Gill, Robert E.