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: 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...

Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)

ABoVE: Vulnerability of inland waters and the aquatic carbon cycle to changing permafrost and climate across boreal northwestern North America.

Carbon released from thawing permafrost may fuel terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems or contribute to greenhouse gas emission, leading to a potential warming feedback and further thaw.

Contacts: Rob Striegl, Michelle Walvoord, Burke Minsley, Kimberly Wickland, Brian A Ebel, Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Bruce Wiley, Torre Jorgenson, Dave Butman, Rob Spencer
Date published: April 28, 2017
Status: Active

Boreal Partners in Flight

WELCOME to the Alaska Landbird Resource Information System, the official web site for Boreal Partners in Flight! Thanks for taking the time to learn more about the Boreal Partners in Flight program and our efforts to understand and conserve northern populations of landbirds.

Date published: April 18, 2017
Status: Active

Nome Creek Experimental Watershed

The Nome Creek Experimental Watershed (NCEW) has been the site of multiple studies focused on understanding hydrology, biogeochemistry, and ecosystem changes related to permafrost thaw and fire in the boreal forest.

Date published: April 12, 2017
Status: Active

Hydro-Ecology of Arctic Thawing (HEAT): Hydrology

The Arctic is warming at higher rates than much of the rest of the world. For Alaska, this results in changes in hydrology and ecosystems – permafrost is thawing, changing landscapes and releasing nutrients to soils and streams. 

Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Western Alaska Range Metallogeny and Tectonics

There are many different types of mineral deposits present in the Western Alaska Range: plutonic gold, porphyry copper-gold (Pebble prospect), epithermal gold, tin-silver skarns, sedimentary barite, mafic hosted nickle-platinum-group elements, uranium-thorium rare earth elements, and even a diamond prospect.

Date published: December 1, 2016
Status: Active

Riparian Ecology

Riparian ecologists in the AS Branch study interactions among flow, channel change, and vegetation along rivers across the western United States and worldwide. Our work focuses on issues relevant to the management of water and public lands, including dam operation, climate change, invasive species, and ecological restoration. Investigations take place on a range of scales. For example,...

Date published: November 6, 2016
Status: Active

Seabirds at Sea

Helpful links for Seabirds at Sea

Filter Total Items: 2,409
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Year Published: 2019

Global sea-level contribution from Arctic land ice: 1971 to 2017

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) (AMAP, 2017) identifies the Arctic as the largest regional source of land ice to global sea-level rise in the 2003 to 2014 period. Yet, this contextualization ignores the longer perspective from in-situ records of glacier mass balance. Here, using 18 (> 55 °N latitude) glacier and ice cap mass...

Box, Jason E.; Colgan, William T.; Wouters, Bert; Burgess, David O; O'Neel, Shad; Thomson, Laura; Mernild, Sebastian H

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Year Published: 2019

Interannual snow accumulation variability on glaciers derived from repeat spatially extensive ground-penetrating radar surveys

There is significant uncertainty regarding the spatiotemporal distribution of seasonal snow on glaciers, despite being a fundamental component of glacier mass balance. To address this knowledge gap, we collected repeat, spatially extensive high-frequency ground-penetrating radar (GPR) observations on two glaciers in Alaska for five consecutive...

McGrath, Daniel J; Sass, Louis; O'Neel, Shad; McNeil, Christopher J.; Candela, Salvatore G; Baker, Emily; Marshall, Hans P.

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Year Published: 2019

Density‐dependent and phenological mismatch effects on growth and survival in lesser snow and Ross's goslings

Strong seasonality of high‐latitude environments imposes temporal constraints on forage availability and quality for keystone herbivores in terrestrial arctic ecosystems, including hyper‐abundant colonial geese. Changes in food quality due to intraspecific competition, or food availability relative to the breeding phenology of birds, may have...

Megan V. Ross; Ray T. Alisauskas; Douglas, David C.; Dana K. Kellett; Kiel L. Drake
Ross, M. V., R. T. Alisauskas, D. C. Douglas, D. K. Kellett, and K. L. Drake. Density-dependent and phenological mismatch effects on growth and survival in lesser snow and Ross’s goslings. J. Avian Biology. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jav.01748

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Year Published: 2019

Delayed herbivory by migratory geese increases summer‐long CO2 uptake in coastal western Alaska

The advancement of spring and the differential ability of organisms to respond to changes in plant phenology may lead to ‘phenological mismatches’ as a result of climate change. One potential for considerable mismatch is between migratory birds and food availability in northern breeding ranges and these mismatches may have consequences for...

Leffler, A. Joshua; Beard, Karen H.; Kelsey, Katharine C.; Choi, Ryan T.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Welker, Jeffery M.

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Year Published: 2019

Changing station coverage impacts temperature trends in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Over the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB), temperatures in widely used gridded data products do not warm as much as mean temperatures from a stable set of U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) stations, located at generally lower elevations, in most months of the year. This is contrary to expectations of elevation-dependent warming, which...

McAfee, Stephanie A.; McCabe, Gregory J.; Gray, Stephen; Pederson, Gregory T.

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Year Published: 2019

Development of on-shore behavior among polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea: Inherited or learned?

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are experiencing rapid and substantial changes to their environment due to global climate change. Polar bears of the southern Beaufort Sea (SB) have historically spent most of the year on the sea ice. However, recent reports from Alaska indicate that the proportion of the SB subpopulation observed on-shore during late...

Lillie, K. M.; Gese, E. M.; Atwood, Todd C.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.

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Year Published: 2019

Slope failure and mass transport processes along the Queen Charlotte Fault, southeastern Alaska

The Queen Charlotte Fault defines the Pacific–North America transform plate boundary in western Canada and southeastern Alaska for c. 900 km. The entire length of the fault is submerged along a continental margin dominated by Quaternary glacial processes, yet the geomorphology along the margin has never been systematically examined due to the...

Brothers, Daniel; Andrews, Brian D.; Walton, Maureen A. L.; H. Gary Greene; J. Vaughn Barrie; Miller, Nathaniel C.; ten Brink, Uri S.; East, Amy E.; Haeussler, Peter J.; Kluesner, Jared W.; Conrad, James E.

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Year Published: 2019

Phenotypic plasticity and climate change: Can polar bears respond to longer Arctic summers with an adaptive fast?

Plasticity in the physiological and behavioural responses of animals to prolonged food shortages may determine the persistence of species under climate warming. This is particularly applicable for species that can “adaptively fast” by conserving protein to protect organ function while catabolizing endogenous tissues. Some Ursids, including polar...

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

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Year Published: 2019

Monitoring and conservation of Japanese Murrelets and related seabirds in Japan

Of the 24 species in the Auk (or Alcidae) family of seabirds living in the northern hemisphere, 22 reside within the North Pacific Ocean. These “penguins of the north” use their small wings to “fly” underwater, some to more than 200 meters, where they catch and eat a variety of small fish and invertebrates. In terms of sheer numbers...

Piatt, John F.; Nelson, S Kim; Carter, Harry R

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Year Published: 2019

Size, growth, and density data for shallow-water sea urchins from Mexico to the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, 1956–2016

Size, growth, and density have been studied for North American Pacific coast sea urchins Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, S. droebachiensis, S. polyacanthus, Mesocentrotus (Strongylocentrotus) franciscanus, Lytechinus pictus, Centrostephanus coronatus, and Arbacia stellata by various workers at diverse sites and for varying lengths of time from...

Ebert, Thomas A; Barr, Louis; Bodkin, James L.; Burcham, Dirk; Bureau, Dominique; Carson, Henry; Caruso, Nancy; Caselle, Jennifer E.; Claisse, Jeremy; Clemente, Sabrina; Davis, Kathryn; Detwiler, Paul; Dixon, John; Duggins, David; Engle, John; Estes, James; Groth, Scott; Grupe, Benjamin; Halmay, Peter; Hebert, Kyle; Hernandez, Jose Carlos; Jurgens, Laura J.; Kalvass, Peter; Kenner, Michael C.; Konar, Brenda; Kushner, David; Lee, Lynn; Leighton, David; Montano-Moctezuma, Gabriela; Munk, Eric; Olguin Espinoza, Irma; Weitzman, Ben

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Year Published: 2019

U-Pb and Lu-Hf isotope, age, and trace-element data from zircons at four sites in the western Alaska Range and Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska

This Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) Raw Data File presents U-Pb geochronology and Lu-Hf isotopic compositions, age-dating results, and additional trace-elemental composition of zircons from four granitoids sampled during investigations by DGGS geologists in the western Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. The purpose...

Todd, Erin; Kylander-Clark, Andrew R. C. ; Wypych, Alicja; Twelker, Evan; Sicard, Karri R.
Todd, Erin, Kylander-Clark, Andrew, Wypych, Alicja, Twelker, Evan, and Sicard, K.R., 2017, U-Pb and Lu-Hf isotope, age, and trace-element data from zircons at four sites in the western Alaska Range and Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Raw Data File 2017-2, 7 p. http://doi.org/10.14509/29717

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Year Published: 2018

Population trends of birds wintering in the Central Valley of California

Since the 1970s, the Central Valley of California has seen a large investment in preservation and restoration of wetlands and riparian areas. At the same time, grasslands have been lost to vineyards, orchards, and residential development at an accelerating rate. We analyzed data from 17 Christmas Bird Count circles that were surveyed regularly...

Pandolfino, Edward R; Handel, Colleen M.

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: 987
A field of peatland surrounded by spruce and other understory plants in Alaska. Mountains can be seen in the background.
August 30, 2017

Thawing Peatlands, Alaska

Cores were collected from various areas of thawing permafrost-peatlands in Alaska. Permafrost thaw results in ground subsidence and inundation that kills black spruce and other understory plants living on the permafrost plateau. 

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain
August 30, 2017

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain

Glacier Creek sonar on a bridge
August 29, 2017

Glacier Creek sonar on a bridge

Glacier Creek sonar

A small shorebird walking along the mud
August 25, 2017

Black-bellied Plover on the mud shore of Big Creek near Egegik, Alaska

Black-bellied Plover on the mud shore of Big Creek, Alaska.

A shorebird walking along the shore
August 25, 2017

Pacific Golden-Plover on the shore near Big Creek near Egegik, Alaska

Pacific Golden-Plover on the shore near Big Creek, Alaska.

Common Murres in their colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Adult touching bill to chick.
August 19, 2017

Common Murres in their colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Common Murres in their colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Common Murres in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska in 2017
August 19, 2017

Common Murres in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska in 2017

Common Murres in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska in 2017

Black-legged Kittiwakes sitting on the side of a rock wall in Cook Inlet, Alaska
August 19, 2017

Black-legged Kittiwakes in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Black-legged Kittiwakes in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska. One bird on a nest.

A lot of small fish from a fyke net set near Kaktovik, AK.  Biologists sort through them.
August 7, 2017

The catch from a fyke net set near Kaktovik, Alaska

Biologists identify species, count, measure length, and release thousands of fish each year to understand how fish use nearshore habitats.

Underwater view of fish inside a fyke net
August 5, 2017

Underwater image of fish captured by a fyke net

An underwater image of fish captured by a fyke net near Kaktovik, Alaska, Beaufort Sea, USA. The small silver fish with dark backs are young-of-year (age-0) Arctic cisco (Coregonus autumnalis) and the flatfish are Arctic flounder (Liopsetta glacialis).

A fish trap set in the ocean along the shore near Kaktovik, AK
August 5, 2017

A fyke net set to catch nearshore fish near Kaktovik, Alaska

A fyke net or fish trap used for continuous sampling of nearshore fish in shallow waters. Fish swimming along the beach are stopped by a small-mesh net that guides them in to one of these two underwater fish traps that are set side by side. Researchers visit nets at least once a day to identify, count, and release fish.

Cross-section illustration showing structure beneath the seafloor where sediment layers are deformed by high seismic activity.
July 31, 2017

Multichannel seismic-reflection profile, QCF fault

Multichannel seismic-reflection profile showing deformed sediment layers on the Pacific plate, just seaward of the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault near the south end of the study area. Location of profile shown by yellow line on trackline map, above. km, kilometer; m, meter; s, second.

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 science for a changing world logo
May 16, 2011

Marine biologists are gathering in Alaska this week to kick off a three-week expedition studying sea otters, as part of a joint U.S.-Canadian project to investigate the ecological health of the Pacific coastline.

The "Pacific Nearshore Project" is a multinational, multiagency project investigating sea otters as health indicators of coastal waters and marine resources from California nort

USGS science for a changing world logo
May 4, 2011

The U.S. Geological Survey assessment on the economic recoverability of undiscovered, conventional oil and gas resources within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) and adjacent state waters is now available online.

USGS
December 15, 2010

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Sea-ice habitats essential to polar bears would likely respond positively should more curbs be placed on global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new modeling study published today in the journal, Nature. 

USGS
November 17, 2010

Approximately 13 million metric tons of rare earth elements (REE) exist within known deposits in the United States, according to the first-ever nationwide estimate of these elements by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS
November 8, 2010

ANCHORAGE, Alaska ­– The highest rate of beak abnormalities ever recorded in wild bird populations is being seen in a number of species in the Northwest and Alaska, and scientists to this point have not been able to isolate the cause.

USGS
October 26, 2010

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates 896 million barrels of conventional, undiscovered oil and 53 trillion cubic feet of conventional, undiscovered non-associated gas within NPRA and adjacent state waters.

USGS
August 25, 2010

TACOMA, Wash. — Washington’s only “benchmark” glacier continues to lose mass as a result of changes in climate, according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS
August 25, 2010

Anchorage, Alaska — A secluded island in the Aleutian chain is revealing secrets of how land and marine ecosystems react to and recover from a catastrophic volcanic eruption that appeared at first glance to destroy all life on the island.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 24, 2009

USGS will Grant Universities $5 Million to Beef Up Public Safety Grants totaling $5 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are being awarded to 13 universities nationwide to upgrade critical earthquake monitoring networks and increase public safety.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 16, 2009

Levels of chloride, a component of salt, are elevated in many urban streams and groundwater across the northern U.S., according to a new government study. Chloride levels above the recommended federal criteria set to protect aquatic life were found in more than 40 percent of urban streams tested. The study was released today by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 9, 2009

The winter distribution of Pacific brant, a small, dark sea goose, has shifted northward from low-temperate areas such as Mexico to sub-Arctic areas as Alaska's climate has warmed over the last four decades, according to a just-released article in Arctic.

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.