Unified Interior Regions

Region 11: Alaska

Alaska Science Center

Alaska Science Center

4210 University Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: (907) 786-7000

View Center Website

Volcano Science Center

Volcano Science Center

4230 University Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: (907) 786-7497

View Center Website

Climate Adaptation Science Center

Climate Adaptation Science Center

4230 University Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: 907-301-7830

View Center Website

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USGS in Alaska engages approximately 400 scientists and support staff working across 3 major centers with a combined annual science budget of about $65 million. In just the last 5 years, USGS in Alaska has produced scientific benefits resulting from over 1000 publications and about 250 Technical Reports.

USGS publications for Alaska

Alaska Science Portal

AK CASC Projects

Alaska Volcano Observatory  

Filter Total Items: 169
Date published: November 29, 2017
Status: Active

USGS Transboundary River Monitoring in Southeast Alaska

The USGS Alaska Science Center operates super gages on the Alsek, Taku, Stikine, Unuk and Salmon Rivers. Discrete water quality, sediment, and biological sampling are also collected at each gage location. Discrete water quality samples are also collected annually at the Canada-Alaska border crossings of the Taku, Stikine, and Unuk Rivers. Water quality data collection began in 2018 on the Unuk...

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Completed

Geologic Map of Alaska

In January 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey released the first ever digital geologic map of Alaska. This map reflects more than a century of work and provides a visual context for the abundant mineral and energy resources found throughout the state. The map also is available to use in three different formats: a professional GIS database, a public interactive version via a web browser, and an...

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Pacific Nearshore Project

Sea otters are crucial indicators of the health of our nearshore waters and coastal resources, from kelp forests to fisheries. What clues does the sea otter's decline hold for our knowledge of ecosystem and global change? WERC's sea otter team and U.S. and Canadian researchers have teamed together to investigate. 

Relevance to USGS Missions:

This research project has direct...

Date published: September 5, 2017
Status: Active

Alaska Science Center Data Policy

The Data Policy for ASC staff and contractors requires that research data, computational models, software and scripts, web-based tools, and information products (collectively “data”) adhere to the following policy statements.

Date published: August 22, 2017
Status: Active

Beak Deformities in Landbirds

Over the past 20 years, Alaskans have witnessed a startling increase of beak deformities among Black-capped Chickadees and other species of resident birds. This disease, called avian keratin disorder (AKD), is characterized by debilitating beak overgrowth and other abnormalities of keratinized tissues. Affected birds have difficulty feeding and preening, and may suffer high rates of mortality...

Date published: August 10, 2017
Status: Active

Publication Briefs by the Alaska Science Center

These publication briefs feature research that informs partners and resource managers to make decisions relative to species habitat and status, natural resources, ecosystems, and human activities.

Contacts: Yvette Gillies
Date published: July 27, 2017
Status: Active

Goose Research

The USGS Alaska Science Center has had a focus on addressing science questions related to geese in Alaska for decades.  Information on these species is critical because all are important resources for subsistence and sport hunters in the state and outside of Alaska where these birds spend the winter.  The large majority of goose populations in Alaska breed on national wildlife refuges (managed...

Date published: July 27, 2017
Status: Active

Dabbling and Diving Duck Research

Dabbling and diving ducks, such as mallards, pintails and scaup, are widespread species throughout North America.  Additionally, their migratory flyways pass through Asia and North America overlap in Alaska.  Population trends of these species are closely tracked through aerial surveys by management agencies.  Results from these and other surveys are then used to formulate management actions...

Date published: July 27, 2017
Status: Active

Sea Duck Research

USGS research on sea ducks is designed to anticipate and address priority information needs of management agencies.  Additionally, work is focused on individual species biology, migration and population status and trends because until just recently, very little was known about sea ducks in Alaska.  

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Wildlife Disease and Environmental Health in Alaska

Environmental health is defined by connections between the physical environment, ecological health, and human health. Current research within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recognizes the importance of this integrated research philosophy, which includes study of disease and pollutants as they pertain to both wildlife and humans. Due to its key geographic location and significant wildlife...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Landbird Research in Alaska

On this page, learn about USGS work on Beak Deformities and Boreal Partners in Flight.

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Waterfowl Research

Scientists at the USGS Alaska Science Center have conducted research on waterfowl species (ducks, geese, and swans) in Alaska since the 1970s. Because Alaska is an international crossroads of migratory bird flyways, with millions of birds from Asia and North America breeding in Alaska each summer, USGS research has also taken place in adjacent countries (Russia, Japan, Canada, Mexico) and in...

USGS research activities relevant to Alaska have yielded more than 9400 historical publications. This page features some of the most recent newsworthy research findings.

Search USGS publications for Alaska

Arctic Science for Decision Maker

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report
Filter Total Items: 2,661
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Year Published: 2020

Microbiomes from biorepositories? 16S rRNA bacterial amplicon sequencing of archived and contemporary intestinal samples of wild mammals (Eulipotyphla: Soricidae)

Interest in gut microbial community composition has exploded recently as a result of the increasing ability to characterize these organisms and a growing understanding of their role in host fitness. New technologies, such as next generation amplicon (16S rRNA) sequencing, have enabled identification of bacterial communities from samples of diverse...

Greiman, Stephen E.; Cook, Joseph A.; Odem, Timothy; Cranmer, Katelyn; Liphardt, Schuyler W; Menning, Damian M.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2020

Influenza A viruses remain infectious for more than seven months in northern wetlands of North America

In this investigation, we used a combination of field- and laboratory-based approaches to assess if influenza A viruses (IAVs) shed by ducks could remain viable for extended periods in surface water within three wetland complexes of North America. In a field experiment, replicate filtered surface water samples inoculated with duck swabs were...

Ramey, Andrew M.; Reeves, Andrew B.; Drexler, Judith Z.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; De La Cruz, Susan E. W.; Lang, Andrew S.; Leyson, Christina; Link, Paul T.; Prosser, Diann; Robertson, Gregory J.; Wight, Jordan; Youk, Sungsu; Spackman, Erica; Pantin-Jackwood, Mary; Poulson, Rebecca L.; Stallknecht, David E.

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Year Published: 2020

Drivers and consequences of apex predator diet composition in the Canadian Beaufort Sea

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) rely on annual sea ice as their primary habitat for hunting marine mammal prey. Given their long lifespan, wide geographic distribution, and position at the top of the Arctic marine food web, the diet composition of polar bears can provide insights into temporal and spatial ecosystem dynamics related to climate-...

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

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Year Published: 2020

Evidence of prevalent heat stress in Yukon River Chinook salmon

Migrating adult Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) are sensitive to warm water (>18 °C), with a range of consequences from decreased spawning success to early mortality. We examined the proportion of Yukon River Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) exhibiting evidence of heat stress to assess the potential that high temperatures contribute to...

von Biela, Vanessa R.; Bowen, Lizabeth; McCormick, Stephen D.; Carey, Michael P.; Donnelly, Daniel S.; Waters, Shannon C.; Regish, Amy M.; Laske, Sarah M.; Brown, Randy J; Larson, Sean; Zuray, Stan; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2020

Identifying reliable indicators of fitness in polar bears

Animal structural body size and condition are often measured to evaluate individual health, identify responses to environmental change and food availability, and relate food availability to effects on reproduction and survival. A variety of condition metrics have been developed but relationships between these metrics and vital rates are rarely...

Rode, Karyn D.; Atwood, Todd C.; Thiemann, Gregory; St. Martin, Michelle; Wilson, Ryan R.; Durner, George M.; Regehr, Eric V.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Sage, Kevin; Pagano, Anthony M.; Simac, Kristin S.

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Year Published: 2020

The Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment

The Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment (AACSE) is a shoreline‐crossing passive‐ and active‐source seismic experiment that took place from May 2018 through August 2019 along an ∼700  km">∼700  km∼700  km long section of the Aleutian subduction zone spanning Kodiak Island and the Alaska...

Barcheck, C. Grace; Abers, Geoffrey A.; Adams, Aubreya N.; Bécel, Anne; Collins, John A.; Gaherty, James B.; Haeussler, Peter; Li, Zongshan; Moore, Ginevra; Onyango, Evans; Roland, Emily C.; Sampson, Daniel E; Schwartz, Susan Y.; Sheehan, Anne F; Shillington, Donna J.; Shore, Patrick J; Webb, Spahr; Wiens, Douglas A; Worthington, Lindsay L

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Year Published: 2020

Bioclimatic modeling of potential vegetation types as an alternative to species distribution models for projecting plant species shifts under changing climates

Land managers need new tools for planning novel futures due to climate change. Species distribution modeling (SDM) has been used extensively to predict future distributions of species under different climates, but their map products are often too coarse for fine-scale operational use. In this study we developed a flexible, efficient, and robust...

Keane, Robert; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Loehman, Rachel A.

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Year Published: 2020

Hydrology and geomorphology of the Taiya River near the West Creek Tributary, southeast Alaska

The Taiya River flows through the Chilkoot Trail Unit of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in southeast Alaska, which was founded to preserve cultural and historical resources and further understanding of natural processes active in the surrounding coastal-to-subarctic basin. Riverine processes exert an important influence on...

Curran, Janet H.
Curran, J.H., 2020, Hydrology and geomorphology of the Taiya River near the West Creek Tributary, southeast Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5059, 57 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205059.

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Year Published: 2020

A synthesis of ten years of chemical contaminant monitoring data in National Park Service - Southeast and southwest Alaska networks

With the exception of PAHs and trace metals, which were detected at 100% of the sites, all of the other contaminants were detected at varying frequencies. PBBs, Mirex and Endosulfans were not detected in any of the samples and Chlorpyrifos was only detected in five samples across four sites. Chlordanes were present at 79% of the sites while...

Rider, Mary; Apeti, Dennis; Jacob, Annie; Kimbrough, Kimani L.; Davenport, Erik; Bower, Michael R.; Colletti, Heather A; Esler, Daniel N.

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Year Published: 2020

Citizen science collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska

Citizen science is science undertaken by the public, usually in collaboration with professional scientific institutions. It encourages citizens to tackle real-world scientific problems and augments traditional science by expanding the coverage of data collection and by reducing costs of fieldwork in remote locations. Information collected by...

Powers, Elizabeth; Williams, Dee
Powers, E.M., and Williams, D.M., 2020, Citizen science collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2020-3026, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20203026.

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Year Published: 2020

DNA metabarcoding of feces to infer summer diet of Pacific walruses

Environmental conditions in the Chukchi Sea are changing rapidly and may alter the abundance and distribution of marine species and their benthic prey. We used a metabarcoding approach to identify potentially important prey taxa from Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) fecal samples (n = 87). Bivalvia was the most dominant class of...

Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Jay, Chadwick V.; Cornman, Robert S.; Fischbach, Anthony S.; Grebmeier, Jacqueline M.; Talbot, Sandra L.

Browse a selection of videos, audio clips, images, and more from a wide range of science topics covered by USGS!

"Science for a Changing World" - watch the short film here!

Documentary on walruses here!

Watch the first-ever footage of a polar bear on Arctic sea ice!

Join USGS geologists as they collect lava samples from Kilauea Volcano.

Watch researchers in the Arctic!

Filter Total Items: 976
View of muddy, eroding coastal bluffs with a visible permafrost layer and a tumbling tundra layer on top.
July 3, 2018

Eroding bluffs in Kaktovik

View looking east of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, which is located on the northern coast of Alaska.

Two people stand atop a coastal cliff where the grassy edges are beginning to fall off onto the beach below.
July 3, 2018

Barter Island coastal bluff studies

Scientists Cordell Johnson, left, and Li Erikson stand atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska, a coastal area that is experiencing very high rates of erosion.

Two birds grabbing fish out of the ocean
June 28, 2018

Black-legged Kittiwakes forage on Pacific sand lance and capelin

Black-legged Kittiwakes forage on Pacific sand lance and capelin near their colony on Gull Island, Cook Inlet on June 28, 2018. 

A female McKay's Bunting songbird standing on the ground
June 17, 2018

Female McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

Female McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island.

A male McKay's Bunting songbird sitting on a rock
June 14, 2018

Male McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

Male McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

Fog on Yukon River
May 29, 2018

Fog on Yukon River

Fog along the Yukon River showing a Black Spruce dominated forest in the foreground, which is prone to wildfire.  Photo by Bruce Wylie, USGS

Large instruments waiting to loaded on a boat
May 7, 2018

Loading ocean bottom seismometers for deployment in the Gulf of Alaska

Ocean bottom seismometers being loaded onto the R/V Sikuliaq to be deployed on the sea floor in the Gulf of Alaska.

Man pointing to ground
May 2, 2018

Stratigraphic contact marking 1964 uplift of Montague Island, Alaska

Stratigraphic contact marking uplift of Montague Island, caused by slip on the Patton Bay fault system during the 1964 M9.2 Great ALaska Earthquake. 

Hot springs and hot muddy pools (Alaska) caused by geothermal activity underground.
March 8, 2018

Hot springs (Alaska) caused by geothermal activity underground.

Hot springs can occur in many parts of the world. The water is hot not due to climate, but rather due to geothermal activity underground, such as volcanic activity or active hydrothermal heating from hot material in the ground. Hot springs result from water heated by underground geothermal activity finding its way to the land surface. 

This hot spring is located in

Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
March 5, 2018

Polar Bear Collar Cam B-Roll 2014, 2015, 2016

Exciting polar bear cam b-roll footage from the bear’s perspective from 2014, 2015, and 2016. The USGS Alaska Science Center Polar Bear Research Project conducts long-term research on polar bears to inform, local, state, national and international policy makers regarding conservation and management of the species and its habitat. The USGS’s studies are primarily focused on

Four people around a table
February 19, 2018

Sampling sea floor sediment cores from along the Queen Charlotte Fault

USGS and Geological Survey of Canada scientists sample sediment cores collected from the sea floor along the Queen Charlotte Fault. This was taken while they were working with (or in) the Geological Survey of Canada. The researchers are, from left to right: Amy East, Research Geologist, USGS Pacific Coastal Marine Science Center (PCMSC); Tom Lorenson, Physical Scientist,

A repeating animated GIF showing a walrus scratching it's side.
February 14, 2018

Walrus Itch

An animated GIF showing a Pacific Walrus scratching/rubbing themselves on their side with their "eye" rolling. The animation repeats in a reverse-motion.

Attribution: Region 11: Alaska

Browse a collection of stories about prominent USGS scientists and projects in Alaska news.

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 255
Lidar image showing the upper parts of the landslide that occurred in northwest Washington on March 22, 2014.
May 14, 2014

Want to know how elevation will benefit your state? The USGS National Geospatial Program is advancing the 3D Elevation Program, known as 3DEP, in response to the growing need for high-quality three-dimensional representations of the Nation’s natural and constructed features.

USGS science for a changing world logo
April 30, 2014

The coastal geology of Simeonof Island, the southeastern-most island in the Shumagin archipelago of the Aleutian Islands, suggests the region has not experienced a great megathrust earthquake in at least the past 3,400 years.

US Topo map of the Cass, West Virginia quadrangle, March 2014.
April 24, 2014

US Topo maps now have a crisper, cleaner design - enhancing readability of maps for online and printed use. Map symbols are easier to read over the digital aerial photograph layer whether the imagery is turned on or off. Improvements to symbol definitions (color, line thickness, line symbols, area fills), layer order, and annotation fonts are additional features of this supplemental release.

March 27, 2014

Ever since the great magnitude 9.2 earthquake shook Alaska 50 years ago today, scientists have suspected that the quake's rupture halted at the southwestern tip of Kodiak Island due to a natural barrier.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 20, 2014

Why does the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake Matter 50 Years Later? Scientific experts will talk about a half-century of scientific and monitoring advances triggered by the 1964 events.

Houses damaged in the 1964 earthquake
March 19, 2014

The U.S. Geological Survey has released two new videos about the Great Alaska Earthquake of March 27, 1964 to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the largest earthquake ever recorded in the United States. The videos include rare vintage film footage and photos of the earthquake damage, combined with modern interviews with some of the same scientists who first investig

Uplifted sea floor at Cape Cleare on Montague Island in Prince William Sound.
March 18, 2014

To commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the largest earthquake ever recorded in the United States, the U.S. Geological Survey has reissued a series of landmark reports covering the results of investigations of the Great Alaska Earthquake of March 27, 1964.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 11, 2014

A recent U.S. Geological Survey-led study of the bar-tailed godwit, a shorebird known famously as the ultimate marathon champion of bird flight, suggests that these birds can sense broad weather patterns and optimally time their long, nonstop, transoceanic migrations to destinations thousands of miles away. 

Sea otter in kelp
February 28, 2014

Nearly 25 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill injured wildlife off the coast of Alaska, a new report issued today by the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that sea otters have returned to pre-spill numbers within the most heavily oiled areas of Prince William Sound.

1964 Great Alaska Earthquake flyer thumbnail
February 24, 2014

On March 27th, 1964, the second largest instrumentally recorded earthquake worldwide rocked southern Alaska for 4 to 5 minutes. In addition to the earthquake, the event triggered a major tsunami that caused casualties and damage from the Kodiak Islands to northern California.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 20, 2014

It's 1964 in Alaska. Imagine 4.5 minutes of powerful ground shaking underneath you from a magnitude 9.2 earthquake. You and your loved ones are then faced with resulting landslides and a devastating tsunami. You just experienced the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America. 

Stay up-to-date with what is happening in the Alaska Region by checking out our different social media accounts. You can also contact Alaska Regional Office staff or Center Directors for more information.