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A selection of coastal and ocean videos and photographs from across the USGS.

Coastal Change in Arctic Alaska

The Arctic region is warming faster than anywhere else in the nation. Understanding the rates and causes of coastal change in Alaska is needed to identify and mitigate hazards that might affect people and animals that call Alaska home. Watch, or listen to the audio-described version.

Video Transcript

I'll Take My Kittiwake “To Go,” Please!

A bald eagle flies off with a black-legged kittiwake from Gull Island in Kachemak Bay, Alaska. Learn more about USGS bird studies on the Alaska Science Center site.

A Bald Eagle flies off with a Black-legged Kittiwake from Gull Island in Kachemak Bay, Alaska

Let's Go Fly a Helikite

An alternative to uncrewed aerial systems (UAS; commonly known as 'drones'), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists use helikites equipped with cameras to collect imagery of the coastline. The pictures collected by these helium-powered kite-balloons are used to create a 3D digital elevation map of the beach. Here, a USGS researcher prepares to tow a helikite on a beach in Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. These surveys are being conducted as part of the DUring Nearshore Event eXperiment (DUNEX) project. DUNEX is a multi-agency, academic, and non-governmental organization collaborative community experiment designed to study nearshore coastal processes during storm events. USGS' participation in DUNEX will contribute new measurements and models that will increase our understanding of storm impacts to coastal environments, including hazards to humans and infrastructure and changes in landscape and natural habitats. Learn more about the The DUring Nearshore Event eXperiment (DUNEX) project.

A white balloon-shaped kite being held in the air

North Pacific Marine Heatwave

In the winter of 2015, the public noticed thousands of dead seabirds washing ashore across the western coast of the United States and Canada. The USGS linked this massive seabird die-off to the North Pacific Marine Heatwave. A marine heatwave occurs when sea surface temperatures are above normal for an extended period of time. This marine heatwave caused north Pacific Ocean temperatures to increase far above normal from 2013-2016, making it the longest marine heatwave on record for the region.

Video Transcript

Solar-Powered Buoys Track Waves and Water Level

A solar-powered Sofar spotter buoy floats in the water next to the R/V (Research Vessel) Sallenger. (The Sallenger is partly hidden by the wave - not sinking, as it may appear!) This instrument, along with an additional instrument on the seafloor, will deliver high-fidelity, real-time wave, water level, and wind data to scientists at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center. This buoy, along with other instruments further inshore and a camera on the beach, will be used to collect data to track how waves and water level transform as they travel towards the beach. This information is used to test how well our models are working to predict total water levels and explore how we can improve them. These models are used in the Total Water Level and Coastal Change Forecast viewer, which helps inform coastal communities about potential coastal hazards.

A yellow buoy with solar panels floats in the water with a boat in the background

USGS Virtual Science Career Event

This is a recording of the event: "USGS Science Careers in Florida and the Caribbean: Coastal and Marine Panel Discussion," with scientists and staff from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center. Three USGS centers coordinated and hosted the event on January 27, 2022 to inform undergraduate and graduate students and early career scientists about the science career opportunities offered at the USGS, with a focus on Florida and the Caribbean. Attendees learned how to obtain a career with USGS and met scientists from across three different mission areas (Natural Hazards, Water Resources, and Ecosystems). Watch our video below, or listen to the audio-described version. More videos available at the USGS Virtual Science Career Event page.

Video Transcript

You Have an Audience

Jon Plissner (USFWS Biologist) bands a black-footed albatross on Midway Atoll, Northwest Hawaiian Islands. Learn how bird banding helps protect birds, and what the USGS has learned over more than 100 years of bird banding.

A USFWS Biologist holds a set of bird bands and pliers and, finishes banding a Black-footed Albatross while another man crouches to release the bird.

2022 Polar Bear Research Council Masterplan

Scientists continue to study how a warming Arctic will affect polar bear populations. The new 2022 Polar Bear Research Council Masterplan identifies how polar bears in zoos can help fill knowledge gaps that benefit wild populations. By studying the physiology, behavior, and reproduction of bears in zoos, researchers are getting a better idea of understanding changes to the health and welfare of polar bears in the wild. Read the 2022 Polar Bear Research Council Masterplan. Learn more about USGS Polar Bear Research. Read about a new study on polar bear diets in zoos.

Collecting Samples from Estuaries

In 2016, USGS scientists aboard a boat measure an estuarine sediment push core collected in an acrylic barrel. Learn more: Sea-level and Storm Impacts on Estuarine Environments and Shorelines.

USGS scientists aboard a boat measuring an estuarine sediment push core collected in an acrylic barrel.

USGS and NASA: Landsat 9

Since 1972, Landsat data have provided a unique resource for those who work in agricul­ture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global-change research. Landsat images have also proved invaluable to the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters, sup­porting emergency response and disaster relief to save lives. With the addition of Landsat 9, the Landsat program’s record of land imaging will be extended to over half a century. Landsat 9 data is available from the USGS as of February 10, 2022. Learn more about the Landsat Missions.

Landsat 9 image of Anchorage, Alaska
False color image of the Anchorage, Alaska area, as observed by Landsat 9 on November 20, 2021. The image was built using infrared, red, and blue bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. Landsat satellites’ ability to peer beyond visible light make the data acquired with each pass more valuable to the study of Earth's surface changes. Landsat Scene ID LC09_L1TP_069017_20211120_20220123_02_T1
Landsat 9 image of Abacco Island, the Bahamas
Natural color image of Eleuthera Island, the Bahamas, as seen by Landsat 9 on January 18, 2022. Between Landsat 8 and Landsat 9, the Landsat program delivers complete coverage of the Earth’s surface every eight days.  Landsat Scene ID LC09_L1TP_013042_20220118_20220118_02_T1
Landsat 9 image of Bangladesh Coast
Natural color image of the coastline of Bangladesh and the Bengal Bay, as seen by Landsat 9 on February 8, 2022. Between Landsat 8 and Landsat 9, the Landsat program delivers complete coverage of the Earth’s surface every eight days.  Landsat Scene ID LC09_L1TP_137045_20220208_20220208_02_T1

Open Lava Stream Pouring Into Ocean: Kīlauea, January 27, 2017

Kīlauea is the youngest and southeastern most volcano on the Island of Hawai‘i. This video clip shows the open lava stream pouring into the ocean. Frequent littoral explosions throw bits of lava to heights of over 27 m (30 yards). Learn more about Kīlauea, and the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website at


Tufted Guys on the Block

Four tufted puffins on the water, near their breeding colony at Gull Island in Kachemak Bay, Alaska. USGS Alaska Science Center scientists collect data from wildlife tracking devices to determine locations of animals throughout their annual cycles, understand patterns of habitat use, quantify time spent on various behaviors, and identify geographic areas repeatedly used by wildlife that may indicate sites of importance to species and populations. Learn more.

Four Tufted Puffins on the water near their breeding colony at Gull Island in Kachemak Bay, Alaska

Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Narrated presentation that provides a unique, long-term perspective (1950-2050) of the major drivers of nitrogen change up to the present, and forecasts how they may affect nitrogen into the future for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Information is based off of U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1486. Watch the video below, or listen to the audio-described version

Video Transcript


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