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: 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 the northern end of several 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 Alaska’s abundant food resources and breeding habitat, making Alaska a global resource for shorebirds...

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...

Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Alaska Streamflow Statistics

The USGS conducts various studies of streamflow statistics for data collected at streamflow-gaging stations. Streamflow statistics for gaged streams and methods for estimating those statistics for ungaged streams are used by water resource planners and managers for designing infrastructure, managing floodplains, and protecting life, property, and aquatic resources. The most recent USGS studies...

Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Arctic – Boreal Catchment Studies

Catchment hydrology focuses on the movement of water and solutes from landscapes to waterbodies. Our research addresses questions such as: Where is the stream water coming from? How long did it take to get here? What solutes, nutrients, and/or contaminants did the water pick up along the way? Because streams and lakes gather water and solutes, we can learn about the entire watershed by...

Contacts: Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Ylva Sjöberg
Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Wolverine Glacier Ecosystem Studies

This project is an extension of the long-term Wolverine Glacier Benchmark Glacier project and is improving our understanding of solutes and nutrients in glacier basins, and how they fuel downstream ecosystems.

Contacts: Shad O'Neel, Ph.D., Louis Sass, III, Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Sara Sawicki, Jennifer Witter, Jason Geck
Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Wetland Modeling

This project aims to improve our understanding of the role of wetlands in controlling streamflow in southcentral Alaska using a groundwater – surface water flow model that can recreate the dynamic interactions between streams and wetlands.

Contacts: Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Ty Ferre, Mike Gracz, Frankie Barker
Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Arctic Coastal Plain Studies

The Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) is a large region of low-lying, lake-rich land on the North Slope of Alaska. This region is underlain by thick ground ice, which is susceptible to erosion and thaw. These physical changes are likely to alter ecosystems by changing the availability of habitats and food resources upon which wildlife depends. Our studies on the ACP aim to understand the link between...

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

Wildfire-initiated talik development exceeds current thaw projections: Observations and models from Alaska's continuous permafrost zone

As the Arctic warms and wildfire occurrence increases, talik formation in permafrost regions is projected to expand and affect the cycling of water and carbon. Yet, few unified field and modeling studies have examined this process in detail, particularly in areas of continuous permafrost. We address this gap by presenting multimethod,...

Rey, David; Walvoord, Michelle A.; Minsley, Burke J.; Ebel, Brian A.; Voss, Clifford I.; Singha, Kamini

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Year Published: 2020

Fish growth rates and lake sulphate explain variation in mercury levels in ninespine stickleback (Pungitius pungitius) on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska

Mercury concentrations in freshwater food webs are governed by complex biogeochemical and ecological interactions that spatially vary and are often mediated by climate. The Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska (ACP) is a heterogeneous, lake-rich landscape where variability in mercury accumulation is poorly understood. Earlier research indicated that the...

Burke, Samantha M.; Zimmerman, Christian E.; Laske, Sarah M.; Koch, Joshua C.; Derry, Allison M.; Guernon, Stephanie; Branfireun, Brian A.; Swanson, Heidi K.

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Year Published: 2020

After-hatch and hatch year Buff-breasted Sandpipers (Calidris subruficollis) can be sexed accurately using morphometric measures

Determining the sex of birds quickly in the field can help in studies of behavior and distribution, and when selecting particular sexes for deploying tracking devices or collecting samples. However, discerning males from females is difficult in species that are plumage monomorphic and have overlapping sexual-size dimorphism, as in Buff-breasted...

Almeida, Juliana B.; Lopes, Iara F.; Oring, Lewis; Tibbitts, Lee; Pajot, Lisa M.; Lanctot, Richard B.

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Year Published: 2020

Mate fidelity improves survival and breeding propensity of a long‐lived bird

Evolutionary and behavioural ecologists have long been interested in factors shaping the variation in mating behaviour observed in nature. Although much of the research on this topic has focused on the consequences of mate choice and mate change on annual reproductive success, studies of a potential positive link between mate fidelity and adult...

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

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Year Published: 2020

Mitochondrial genome diversity and population mitogenomics of Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) and Arctic dwelling gadoids

High-latitude fish typically exhibit a narrow thermal tolerance window, which may pose challenges when coping with temperatures that shift outside of a species’ range of tolerance. Due to its role in aerobic metabolism and energy balance, the mitochondrial genome is likely critical for the acclimation and adaptation to differing temperature...

Wilson, Robert E.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Sme, Noel; Gharrett, Anthony J.; Majewski, Andrew; Wedemeyer, Kate; Nelson, R. John; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2020

Sample-size considerations for a study of shorebird nest survival in the 1002 Area, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Authorization of lease sales for oil development in the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has highlighted gaps in information about biological communities in the area. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is planning a study to evaluate spatial variation in the nest survival of tundra-breeding shorebirds to identify hotspots...

Weiser, Emily L.
Weiser, E., 2020, Sample-size considerations for a study of shorebird nest survival in the 1002 Area, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1066, 18 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201066

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Year Published: 2020

Dietary fat concentrations influence fatty acid assimilation patterns in Atlantic pollock (Pollachius virens)

A key aspect in the use of fatty acids (FA) to estimate predator diets using Quantitative FA Signature Analysis (QFASA) is the ability to account for FA assimilation through the use of calibration coefficients (CC). Here, we tested the assumption that CC are independent of dietary fat concentrations by feeding Atlantic pollock (Pollachius virens)...

Budge, Suzanne M.; Townsend, Katherine; Lall, Santosh P; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.

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Year Published: 2020

Annual adult survival drives trends in Arctic-breeding shorebirds but knowledge gaps in other vital rates remain

Conservation status and management priorities are often informed by population trends. Trend estimates can be derived from population surveys or models, but both methods are associated with sources of uncertainty. Many Arctic-breeding shorebirds are thought to be declining based on migration and/or overwintering population surveys, but data are...

Weiser, Emily L.; Lanctot, Richard B.; Brown, Stephen C.; Gates, H. River; Bety, Joel; Boldenow, Megan L.; Brook, Rodney W.; Brown, Glen S.; English, Willow B.; Flemming, Scott A.; Franks, Samantha E.; Gilchrist, H. Grant; Giroux, Marie-Andree; Johnson, Andrew; Kendall, Steve; Kennedy, Lisa V.; Koloski, Laura; Kwon, Eunbi; Lamarre, Jean-Francois; Lank, David B.; Latty, Christopher J.; Lecomte, Nicolas; Liebezeit, Joseph R.; McGuire, Rebecca L; McKinnon, Laura; Nol, Erica; Payer, David C.; Perz, Johanna; Rausch, Jennie; Robards, Martin D.; Saalfeld, Sarah T.; Senner, Nathan R.; Smith, Paul A.; Soloviev, Mikhail; Solovyeva, Diana V; Ward, David H.; Woodard, Paul F.; Sandercock, Brett K.

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Year Published: 2020

Selected geologic maps of the Kodiak batholith and other Paleocene intrusive rocks, Kodiak Island, Alaska

Kodiak Island in southern Alaska is one of the premier examples globally for the study of forearc magmatism. This location contains two Paleocene intrusive belts that formed due to the subduction of a migrating spreading ridge and slab-window: the Kodiak batholith and the trenchward magmatic belt. These magmatic rocks are part of the Sanak-Baranof...

Farris, David W.; Haeussler, Peter J.
Farris, D.W., and Haeussler, P.J., 2020, Selected geologic maps of the Kodiak batholith and other Paleocene intrusive rocks, Kodiak Island, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3441, pamphlet 10 p., scale 1:50,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3441.

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Year Published: 2020

Geochronologic and Hf-isotope framework of Proterozoic rocks from central New Mexico, USA: Formation of the Mazatzal crustal province in an extended continental margin arc

The growth of southern Laurentia has been attributed to the accretion of juvenile arc terranes during the successive 1.74-1.68 Ga Yavapai and 1.65-1.60 Ga Mazatzal orogenies. However, in light of the increasing importance of the ca. 1.49-1.40 Ga Mesoproterozoic Picuris orogeny, the tectonic setting in which the Mazatzal crustal province and its...

Holland, Mark E.; Grambling, Tyler A.; Karlstrom, Karl E.; Jones, James V.; Nagotko, Kimberly N.; Daniel, Christopher G.

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Year Published: 2020

Submarine landslide kinematics derived from high-resolution imaging in Port Valdez, Alaska

Submarine landslides caused by strong ground shaking during the M9.2 1964 Great Alaska earthquake generated a tsunami that destroyed much of the old town of Valdez, Alaska, and was responsible for 32 deaths at that location. We explore structural details of the 1964 landslide deposit, as well as landslide deposits from earlier events, in order to...

Roland, Emily; Haeussler, Peter; Parsons, Thomas E.; Hart, Patrick E.

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Year Published: 2020

Observations on the structure of Surtsey

Comparison of investigations of the 1979 and 2017 cored boreholes coupled with continued observations of the dynamic surface of Surtsey has modified our concepts of the subsurface structure of the volcano. A geometrical analysis of the 2017 vertical and inclined cores indicates that near-surface layering dips westerly, indicating that the...

Moore, James G.; Jackson, Marie D.

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
Image shows a river winding through a green landscape
December 31, 2017

Fish Creek Watershed in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Fish Creek wanders through 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.

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.

Emperor geese standing near the shoreline on Kodiak Island
December 31, 2017

Emperor geese near Kodiak.

Emperor geese gathered near the shoreline on Kodiak Island.

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 

...
Glacier off Sargent Icefield
December 31, 2017

Glacier off Sargent Icefield

Landscape view of an un-named glacier off the Sargent Icefield, directly across from Wolverine Glacier, above the Nellie Juan River, in Alaska. Taken during a visit to a wolverine glacier field site as part of a study to examine how alpine areas are changing as temperatures rise in Alaska. 

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 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

Saffron cod captured near Kaktovik Alaska
August 31, 2017

Saffron cod captured near Kaktovik Alaska

Saffron cod (Eleginus gracilis) captured near Kaktovik Alaska

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.

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 255
Photo of Santa Fe, New Mexico 2013 United States Topo map
January 22, 2014

The USGS, in cooperation with other Federal agencies, has posted new Idaho US Topo quadrangles (1,193) and New Mexico quads (1,980 maps) which include Public Land Survey System (PLSS). These are added to the growing list of states west of the Mississippi River to have PLSS data added to US Topo maps.

Image: Black Brant Geese
January 21, 2014

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey report that warming temperatures are leading to the creation of high quality habitats for geese along the Arctic coast of Alaska. This scientific finding is contrary to the deleterious effects that warming global temperatures are having on habitats of sea ice-dependent animals, such as polar bear and walrus.

A view of snow-covered Akutan Volcano.
January 9, 2014

Akutan Island, in Alaska’s east-central Aleutian Islands, hosts the City of Akutan and is home to the largest seafood production facility in North America. It also hosts Akutan Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the U.S.

Image: Banding Together to Learn and Preserve
November 21, 2013

25 Years of Goose Banding and Conservation through Federal and Tribal Partnership on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in Western Alaska

USGS
July 1, 2013

Wilderness pilots, hikers, boaters and people in Alaskan communities can now report online to authorities if they witness falling ash or an ash cloud from an erupting volcano. The  Alaska Volcano Observatory has developed a new online tool for reporting visible volcanic ash. 

USGS
May 30, 2013

Multiple sources of Alaskan geochemical information have united into one online resource. 

USGS
May 27, 2013

USGS releases more than 400 updated US Topo maps of Alaska

USGS
April 1, 2013

Twenty-five years of monitoring and studying Alaska's volcanoes by the Alaska Volcano Observatory have improved global understanding of how volcanoes work and how to live safely with volcanic eruptions. Timely warnings from AVO throughout its 25-year history have helped reduce the impact of erupting volcanoes, protecting lives, property, and economic well-being.

USGS
January 30, 2013

The upper Cook Inlet is the world's coldest site that regularly supports wintering shorebirds.  The rock sandpiper is the only shorebird found in this region during winter and is a species that is uniquely adapted to survive the winter chill, according to new research by biologists with the USGS Alaska Science Center.  

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. 

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.