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: 174
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...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Polar Bear Research

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are one of 4 marine mammal species managed by the U.S. Department of Interior. The USGS Alaska Science Center leads long–term research on polar bears to inform local, state, national and international policy makers regarding conservation of the species and its habitat. Our studies, ongoing since 1985, are focused on population dynamics, health and...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Shorebird Research

With its vast size and geographic position at one end of numerous migration pathways, Alaska is a critically important site for the world’s shorebirds. Thirty-seven shorebird species regularly breed in Alaska. Most of these species conduct epically long migrations to take advantage of abundant food resources, making Alaska a global resource for shorebirds. Shorebird research at the USGS Alaska...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Terrestrial Mammal Ecology Research

Understanding the population dynamics, predator/prey relationships and habitat ecology of terrestrial mammals, such as caribou and muskoxen, is critical for the management of these species and their habitats in Alaska.

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Walrus Research

The Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) is one of 4 marine mammal species managed by the U.S. Department of Interior. The USGS Alaska Science Center conducts long–term research on Pacific walruses to inform local, state, national and international policy makers regarding conservation of the species and its habitat. The goal of our current research efforts is to refine and...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Nearshore Marine Ecosystem Research

Nearshore ecosystems include many resources that are of high ecological, recreational, subsistence, and economic value. They also are subject to influences from a wide variety of natural and human-caused perturbations, which can originate in terrestrial or oceanic environments. Our research is designed to evaluate sources of variation in the nearshore and how they influence resources of high...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Habitat Dynamics

The Habitat Dynamics Project examines how short and long-term changes in the environment affect the distribution and survival of wildlife populations. 

Contacts: David Douglas
Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Avian Influenza Research

Since 2006, the USGS Alaska Science Center has been part of the State and Federal interagency team for the detection and response to highly pathogenic (HPAI) viruses in North America. Avian influenza or "bird flu" is a viral disease that primarily infects domestic poultry and wild birds. Avian influenza viruses are naturally occurring in wild birds such as ducks, geese, swans, and gulls. These...

Filter Total Items: 2,412
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Year Published: 2019

Measurement of long-term channel change through repeated cross-section surveys at bridge crossings in Alaska

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been working with Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) since 1993 to provide hydraulic assessments of scour for bridges throughout Alaska. The purpose of the program is to evaluate, monitor, and study streambed scour at bridges in Alaska; this includes surveying streambed...

Dworsky, Karenth L.; Conaway, Jeffrey S.
Dworsky, K.L., and Conaway, J.S., 2019, Measurement of long-term channel change through repeated cross-section surveys at bridge crossings in Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019-1028, 118 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191028.

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Year Published: 2019

Extreme reduction in nutritional value of a key forage fish during the Pacific marine heatwave of 2014–2016

Pacific sand lance Ammodytes personatus are a key forage fish in the North Pacific for many species of salmon, groundfish, seabirds, and marine mammals and have historically been important to predators in relatively warm years. However, extreme declines in the nutritional value of sand lance in Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA, during...

von Biela, Vanessa R.; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Piatt, John F.; Heflin, Brielle; Schoen, Sarah K.; Trowbridge, Jannelle; Clawson, Chelsea

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Year Published: 2019

Migratory goose arrival time plays a larger role in influencing forage quality than advancing springs in an Arctic coastal wetland

With warmer springs, herbivores migrating to Arctic breeding grounds may experience phenological mismatches between their energy demands and the availability of high quality forage. However, the timing of high quality forage relative to the timing of grazing is often unknown. In coastal western Alaska, approximately one million migratory geese...

Beard, Karen H.; Choi, Ryan T.; Leffer, A. Joshua; Carlson, Lindsay; Kelsey, Katharine C.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Welker, Jeffrey

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Year Published: 2019

Influenza A prevalence and subtype diversity in migrating teal sampled along the United States Gulf Coast

Wild birds in the order Anseriformes are important reservoirs for influenza A viruses (IAV); however, IAV prevalence and subtype diversity may vary by season, even at the same location. To better understand the ecology of IAV during waterfowl migration through the Gulf Coast of the United States (Louisiana and Texas), surveillance of blue-winged (...

Carter, Deborah; Link, Paul T.; Walther, Patrick; Ramey, Andrew M.; Stallknecht, David E.; Poulson, Rebecca L.

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Year Published: 2019

The black brant population is declining based on mark recapture

Annual survival and recruitment in black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) have declined since the 1990s, yet aerial surveys of the global population have been stable or even increasing over the past decade. We used a combination of a Lincoln estimator based on harvest information and band recoveries, and marked‐unmarked ratios in bag checks in 1...

Sedinger, James S.; Riecke, Thomas V.; Leach, Alan G.; Ward, David H.

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Year Published: 2019

Flexible timing of annual movements across consistently used sites by Marbled Godwits breeding in Alaska

The study of avian movement has detailed a spectrum of strategies for the timing and use of sites throughout the annual cycle, from near randomness to complete consistency. New tracking devices now permit the repeated tracking of individual animals throughout the annual cycle, detailing previously unappreciated levels of variation within migratory...

Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Tibbitts, Lee; Gill, Robert E.

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Year Published: 2019

Spatial distribution of band recoveries of black brant

On average, band recovery rates of adult black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) more than doubled between the 2000s and 2010s. However, the spatial distribution of band recoveries of black brant has not been reported. Our objective was to describe the spatial distribution of band recoveries of black brant since 1990. We found that Alaska,...

Leach, Alan G.; Ward, David H.; Sedinger, James S.; Riecke, Thomas V.; Hupp, Jerry W.; Ritchie, Robert J.

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Year Published: 2019

Wasting disease and static environmental variables drive sea star assemblages in the northern Gulf of Alaska

Sea stars are ecologically important in rocky intertidal habitats where they can play an apex predator role, completely restructuring communities. The recent sea star die-off throughout the eastern Pacific, known as Sea Star Wasting Disease, has prompted a need to understand spatial and temporal patterns of sea star assemblages and the...

Konar, Brenda; Mitchell, Timothy J.; Iken, K.; Dean, Thomas; Esler, Daniel N.; Lindeberg, Mandy; Pister, Benjamin; Weitzman, Ben P.

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Year Published: 2019

Micro-geographic population genetic structure within Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) in Beaufort Sea of Alaska

Many marine organisms show significant levels of genetic heterogeneity on local spatial scales despite exhibiting limited genetic structure at large geographic scales which can be produced through a variety of mechanisms. The Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) is a circumpolar species and is a vital species in Arctic food webs. To examine population...

Wilson, Robert E.; Sage, George K.; Wedemeyer, Kate; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Menning, Damian M.; Gravley, Megan C.; Nelson, R. John; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2019

Heightened immune system function in polar bears using terrestrial habitats

Climate change is altering the distribution of some wildlife species while warming temperatures are facilitating the northward expansion of pathogens, potentially increasing disease risk. Melting of Arctic sea ice is causing polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the Southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) to increasingly spend summer on land, where they may...

Whiteman, John P.; Harlow, Henry J.; Durner, George M.; Regehr, Eric V.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Ben-David, Merav

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Year Published: 2019

Brood size affects future reproduction in a long-lived bird with precocial young

Estimation of trade-offs between current reproduction and future survival and fecundity of long-lived vertebrates is essential to understanding factors that shape optimal reproductive investment. Black brant geese (Branta bernicla nigricans) fledge more goslings, on average, when their broods are experimentally enlarged to be greater than the most...

Alan Leach; James Sedinger; Thomas Riecke; Amanda Van Dellen; Ward, David H.; Sean Boyd

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Year Published: 2019

Seasonal distribution of Dall's porpoise in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Dall's porpoise, Phocoenoides dalli, are a conspicuous predator in the Prince William Sound ecosystem, yet there has been little effort directed towards monitoring this species since the 1980s, prior to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. We used vessel-based surveys to examine the seasonal distribution of Dall's porpoise in the waters of Prince William...

J.R. Moran; O'Dell, M.B.; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Straley, Jan M; Dickson, D.M.S.

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: 988
Image shows squares of permafrost
December 31, 2017

Permafrost in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Permafrost forms a grid-like pattern in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 22.8 million acre region managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Alaska's North Slope. USGS has periodically assessed oil and gas resource potential there. These assessments can be found here.

Map of coastline showing lines that ships followed, collecting data along the way, near labeled sites of earthquakes.
December 31, 2017

Research vessel tracklines offshore of southeast Alaska

Tracklines along which R/V Ocean Starr (2017, red lines) and R/V Norseman (2016, black lines) conducted seismic-reflection surveys, overlaid on high-resolution bathymetry (color background). Yellow stars represent earthquakes of magnitude (M) 7 and greater since 1900. Short yellow lines are locations of seismic-reflection profiles (shown below) along 

...
November 20, 2017

Return to the Alaska Wilderness

A team of USGS scientists spent two weeks in the isolated Glacier Bay National Park, exploring one of the fastest-moving faults in North America.
 

3 men leaning over big yellow metal grab bucket on the deck of a ship. Dark sediment is visible inside bucket
September 28, 2017

Examining bucket of seafloor sediment collected off southeast Alaska

USGS research geophysicist Danny Brothers (right) and colleagues examine the surface of a sediment grab sample just pulled onto the deck of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully. The sample was collected from the top of a mud volcano north of the border between southeast Alaska and British Columbia. Expedition scientists are investigating the Queen Charlotte

...
Two women stand at a table having a discussion while looking at long cores of sediment samples.
September 17, 2017

Sampling pore fluids from sediment cores

Mary McGann (left, USGS) and Rachel Lauer (University of Calgary) sample pore fluids from sediment cores collected aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault offshore of southeast Alaska. Expedition scientists will use their findings to better understand the history of the fault and the hazards it poses to

...
Two women stand at plywood table on which rest three long plastic tubes full of dark seafloor sediment.
September 17, 2017

Sampling core fluid from sediment cores collected off southeast Alaska

Mary McGann (left, USGS) and Rachel Lauer (University of Calgary) sample pore fluids from sediment cores collected aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault offshore of southeast Alaska. Expedition scientists will use their findings to better understand the history of the fault and the hazards it poses to

...
Salcha River sonar near Salchaket
September 13, 2017

Salcha River sonar near Salchaket

Salcha River sonar near Salchaket

Tazlina River sonar
September 13, 2017

Tazlina River sonar

Tazlina River sonar

Scientist walking up the Imelyak River
August 31, 2017

Sampling the Imelyak River in the Brooks Range

Sampling the Imelyak River in the Boreal-Arctic transition of the Brooks Range in Noatak National Park and Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

Sampling a stream in the mist in the Akilik River drainage
August 31, 2017

Sampling a stream from the Akilik River drainage

Sampling a stream from the Akilik River drainage in the Boreal-Arctic transition of the Brooks Range in Noatak National Park and Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

Scientist walking up the Akilik River with a minnow trap to catch fish
August 31, 2017

Akilik River stream sampling

Hiking up a stream from the Akilik River drainage to set minnow traps for fish sampling. This is a stream type at the Boreal-Arctic transition of the Brooks Range, Noatak National Park and Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park.

A small arctic grayling near the bottom of the Imelyak River
August 31, 2017

Small arctic grayling in the Imelyak River, Brooks Range

Small arctic grayling hugging the bottom in the Imelyak River in the Brooks Range. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 248
USGS
January 23, 2013

Invasive northern pike in southcentral Alaska are opportunistic and adaptable predators that feed on multiple native fish species when their preferred prey, native salmonids, are no longer abundant, according to a new study released in Ecology of Freshwater Fish. 

USGS
June 26, 2012

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Shrews are among a diverse group of small mammals that have rapidly evolved in response to climate change, according to a new study released this month.

USGS
January 23, 2012

ANCHORAGE — A new report maps out erosion history and hazards for 74 miles of the Matanuska River, a braided river in Southcentral Alaska that has damaged and threatened houses, roads and public facilities for decades. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 25, 2011

Thawing permafrost in the Yukon River watershed may be a source of naturally occurring mercury being conveyed by rivers into the environment, according to USGS research scientists.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 13, 2011

Dr. David Shelly, a research seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, was named one of President Obama's recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 7, 2011

Stephen Gray has been selected as the center director of the Department of the Interior’s Alaska Climate Science Center, located at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, in Anchorage.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 13, 2011

Personal interviews with Alaska Natives in the Yukon River Basin provide unique insights on climate change and its impacts, helping develop adaptation strategies for these local communities.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 13, 2011

The USGS Alaska Science Center has released new high-resolution video of Pacific walruses hauling out near Point Lay, Alaska, in late August, 2011. 

Also available on the USGS Alaska Science Center walrus website are animations of the walruses’ movements as tracked by radio transmitters, and FAQs on the ongoing walrus studies.

USGS science for a changing world logo
August 16, 2011

USGS Alaska Science Center researchers, in cooperation with the Native Village of Point Lay, will attempt to attach 35 satellite radio-tags to walruses on the northwestern Alaska coast in August as part of their ongoing study of how the Pacific walrus are responding to reduced sea ice conditions in late summer and fall.

USGS science for a changing world logo
August 1, 2011

Marine biologists are setting up camp in Forks this week, and sea otters will be their quarry on a three-week expedition. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Seattle Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium and other institutions are studying the health of local sea otters to assess the condition of Washington’s nearshore ecosystem. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
July 20, 2011

The U.S. Geological Survey is conducting a study that analyzes movements of 62 satellite-collared female polar bears over a 6-year period (2004-2009), providing a first description of swimming events within a population of polar bears. The results of the study have not yet been published, but  are already generating significant attention.

USGS science for a changing world logo
June 28, 2011

The Cook Inlet Region of Alaska contains an estimated mean of 19 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, about 600 million barrels of oil, and 46 million barrels of natural gas liquids, according to a new assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). This estimate is of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources, and includes both unconventional and conventional resources.

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.