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

Regions L2 Landing Page Tabs

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: 2,641
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Year Published: 2018

Fuelling conditions at staging sites can mitigate Arctic warming effects in a migratory bird

Under climate warming, migratory birds should align reproduction dates with advancing plant and arthropod phenology. To arrive on the breeding grounds earlier, migrants may speed up spring migration by curtailing the time spent en route, possibly at the cost of decreased survival rates. Based on a decades-long series of observations along an...

Rakhimberdiev, Eldar; Duijns, Sjoerd; Karagicheva, Julia; Camphuysen, Cornelis J.; Dekinga, Anne; Dekker, Rob; Gavrilov, Anatoly; ten Horn, Job; Jukema, Joop; Saveliev, Anatoly; Soloviev, Mikhail; Tibbitts, Lee; van Gils, Jan A.; Piersma, Theunis; Castricum, VRS
Rakhimberdiev, Eldar, Duijns, S., Karagicheva, J., Camphuysen, C.J., Dekinga, A., Dekker, R., Gavrilov, A., ten Horn, J., Jukema, J., Saveliev, A., Soloviev, M., Tibbitts, T.L., van Gils, J.A., Piersma, T., van Loon, A., Wijker, A., Keijl, G., Levering, H., Jan V., Heemskerk, L., Knijnsberg, L., van Roomen, M., Ruiters, P., Admiraal, P., Veldt, P., Reijnders, R., Beentjes, W., VRS Castricum., 2018, Fuelling conditions at staging sites can mitigate Arctic warming effects in a migratory bird., Nature Communications, 9(1): 4263, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-06673-5

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Year Published: 2018

Trends and traditions: Overview and synthesis

This paper provides an overview by the editors of a collection of 25 papers for the Studies of Western Birds, to be published in a single volume by Western Field Ornithologists. The title of the volume is: "Trends and traditions: Avifaunal change in western North America."

Shuford, W David; Gill, Robert E.; Handel, Colleen M.

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Year Published: 2018

A decade of remotely sensed observations highlight complex processes linked to coastal permafrost bluff erosion in the Arctic

Eroding permafrost coasts are indicators and integrators of changes in the Arctic System as they are susceptible to the combined effects of declining sea ice extent, increases in open water duration, more frequent and impactful storms, sea-level rise, and warming permafrost. However, few observation sites in the Arctic have yet to link decadal-...

Jones, Benjamin M.; Farquharson, Louise M.; Baughman, Carson; Buzard, Richard M.; Arp, Christopher D.; Grosse, Guido; Bull, Diana L.; Günther, Frank; Nitze, Ingmar; Urban, Frank; Kasper, Jeremy L.; Frederick, Jennifer M.; Thomas, Matthew A.; Jones, Craig; Mota, Alejandro; Dallimore, Scott; Tweedie, Craig E.; Maio, Christopher V.; Mann, Daniel H.; Richmond, Bruce M.; Gibbs, Ann E.; Xiao, Ming; Sachs, Torsten; Iwahana, Go; Kanevskiy, Mikhail Z.; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.
Benjamin M. Jones et al 2018 Environ. Res. Lett. in press https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aae471

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Year Published: 2018

Unusual foraging observations associated with seabird die-offs in Alaska

We report the first documentation of off-water foraging by the Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma furcata and Short-tailed Shearwater Ardenna tenuirostris, a behavior not previously documented in any member of the families Hydrobatidae or Procellariidae. Over a two-week period in September 2016, we regularly observed individuals of these species...

Robinson, Bryce; DeCicco, Lucas H.; Johnson, James A.; Ruthrauff, Daniel R.

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Year Published: 2018

Shorebirds adjust spring arrival schedules with variable environmental conditions: Four decades of assessment on the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska

Arctic summers are brief, and there has been strong selection for migratory birds to arrive in Arctic nesting areas as early as possible to time breeding with peak food availability and complete reproduction. The timing of emergence of nesting habitat in spring is, however, extremely variable in the Arctic, and few long-term studies have examined...

Shuford, W. David; Gill, Robert E.; Handel, Colleen M.; Ely, Craig R.; McCaffery, Brian; Gill, Robert E.

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Year Published: 2018

Submarine deposition of a subaerial landslide in Taan Fiord, Alaska

A large subaerial landslide entered Taan Fiord, Alaska, on 17 October 2015 producing a tsunami with runup to 193 m. We use LiDAR data to show the slide volume to be 76 + 3/−4 million cubic meters and that 51,000,000 m3 entered Taan Fiord. In 2016, we mapped the fjord with multibeam bathymetry and high‐resolution seismic...

Haeussler, Peter; Gulick, S.P.S; McCall, N.; Walton, Maureen A. L.; Reece, R.; Larson, C.; Shugar, D.H.; Geertsema, M.; Venditti, J.G.; Labay, Keith A.

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Year Published: 2018

Survey-based assessment of the frequency and potential impacts of recreation on polar bears

Conservation plans for polar bears (Ursus maritimus) typically cannot prescribe management actions to address their primary threat: sea ice loss associated with climate warming. However, there may be other stressors that compound the negative effects of sea ice loss which can be mitigated. For example, Arctic tourism has...

Rode, Karyn D.; Fortin, Jennifer K.; Garshelis, Dave; Dyck, Markus; Sahanatien, Vicki; Atwood, Todd C.; Belikov, Stanislav; Laidre, Kristin L.; Miller, Susanne; Obbard, Martyn E.; Vongraven, Dag; Ware, Jasmine V.; Wilder, James
Rode, K. D., J. K. Fortin-Noreus, D. L. Garshelis, M. Dyck, V. Sahanatien, T. C. Atwood, S. E. Belikov, K. L. Laidre, S. Miller, M. E. Obbard, D. Vongraven, J. V. Ware, and J. Wilder. 2018. Survey-based assessment of the frequency and potential impacts of recreation on polar bears. Biological Conservation 227:121-132. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2018.09.008

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Year Published: 2018

Use of landscape simulation modeling to quantify resilience for ecological applications

Goals of fostering ecological resilience are increasingly used to guide U.S. public land management in the context of anthropogenic climate change and increasing landscape disturbances. There are, however, few operational means of assessing the resilience of a landscape or ecosystem. We present a method to evaluate resilience using simulation...

Keane, Robert; Loehman, Rachel A.; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Falk, Donald A.; Higuera, Phil E; Hood, Sharon; Hessburg, Paul F.

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Year Published: 2018

Movements and dive patterns of pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata) released in the Gulf of Mexico following rehabilitation

The habits and habitats of pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata) in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) are poorly known outside of strandings and line-transect surveys. Two adult male pygmy killer whales were found live-stranded in the state of Mississippi (USA) on 1 September 2015 and were subsequently rehabilitated and returned to the offshore waters of...

Pulis, Eric; Wells, Randall S.; Schorr, Gregory S.; Douglas, David C.; Samuelson, Mystera M.; Solangi, Moby
Pulis, E.E., Wells, R.S., Schorr, G.S., Douglas, D.C., Samuelson, M.M., and Solangi, M., 2018, Movements and dive patterns of pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata) released in the Gulf of Mexico following rehabilitation: Aquatic Mammals vol. 44, no. 5 p. 555-567. doi: 10.1578/AM.44.5.2018.555

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Year Published: 2018

Spring temperature, migration chronology, and nutrient allocation to eggs in three species of arctic‐nesting geese: Implications for resilience to climate warming

The macronutrients that Arctic herbivores invest in their offspring are derived from endogenous reserves of fat and protein (capital) that females build prior to the period of investment or from foods they consume concurrently with investment (income). The relative contribution from each source can be influenced by temporal and environmental...

Hupp, Jerry W.; Ward, David H.; Soto, David X.; Hobson, Keith A.
Hupp, J.W., Ward, D.H., Soto, D.X.and Hobson, K. A., 2018, Spring temperature, migration chronology, and nutrient allocation to eggs in three species of arctic‐nesting geese: Implications for resilience to climate warming: Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14418

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Year Published: 2018

Genetic evidence supports sporadic and independent introductions of subtype H5 low pathogenic avian influenza A viruses from wild birds to domestic poultry in North America

Wild bird–origin influenza A viruses (IAVs or avian influenza) have led to sporadic outbreaks among domestic poultry in the United States (US) and Canada, resulting in economic losses through the implementation of costly containment practices and destruction of birds. We used evolutionary analyses of virus sequence data to determine that 78 H5 low...

Li, Lei; Bowman, Andrew S.; DeLiberto, Thomas J.; Killian, Mary L.; Krauss, Scott; Nolting, Jacqueline M.; Torchetti, Mia Kim; Ramey, Andrew M.; Reeves, Andrew B.; Stallknecht, David E.; Webby, Richard J.; Wan, Xiu-Feng

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Year Published: 2018

Introduction of Eurasian-origin H8N4 influenza A virus into North America via migratory birds

We identified a Eurasian-origin influenza A(H8N4) virus in North America by sampling wild birds in western Alaska, USA. Evidence for repeated introductions of influenza A viruses into North America by migratory birds suggests that intercontinental dispersal might not be exceedingly rare and that our understanding of viral establishment is...

Ramey, Andrew M.; Reeves, Andrew B.; Donnelly, Tyrone F.; Poulson, Rebecca L.; Stallknecht, David E.
Ramey, A. M., Reeves, A. B., Donnelly, T., Poulson, R. L., and Stallknecht, D. E., 2018, Introduction of Eurasian-origin H8N4 influenza A virus into North America via migratory birds: Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 24, no. 10, p. . doi:10.3201/eid2410.180447.

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: 984
1,500 walruses resting on shore
April 4, 2016

1,500 walruses resting on shore

More than 1,500 walruses resting on shore at Cape Grieg in southeastern Bristol Bay.

A Boreal Chickadee with a slightly longer upper beak than the lower beak
March 31, 2016

Boreal Chickadee with a mildly deformed beak

A Boreal Chickadee with a mildly deformed beak.

March 30, 2016

Shaking in the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska

This video presents a visualization of how the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska, shook during the M7.1 January 24, 2016, Iniskin, Alaska, earthquake. The building was instrumented by U.S. Geological Survey to obtain data to study its behavior and performance during strong shaking. Such data is useful to make decisions for improving the building's performance.

Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
Image: Imagery Provides Clues to 2005 Alaskan Landslide
March 14, 2016

Imagery Provides Clues to 2005 Alaskan Landslide

New imagery provides evidence that meltwater played a significant role in producing the Sept. 14, 2005 massive landslide that originated from just below the summit of the 10,616 feet high Mount Steller, Alaska. The slide was one of the largest, non-earthquake generated Alaskan landslides ever observed. The imagery confirms the existence of a channel system within nearby

...
A Male Spectacled Eider in Alaska
March 14, 2016

A Male Spectacled Eider in Alaska

A male spectacled eider following implantation of a satellite transmitter in the Colville River delta in June 2009. After breeding numbers of spectacled eiders, a large sea duck, declined by 96 percent at a primary breeding area in Alaska, the species was listed as threatened. Potential risks to eiders include being subjected to increased exposure during storms in winter,

...
Photo looking up at a man wearing safety gear and cold weather clothing holding a big drill with puffy white clouds in the sky.
January 31, 2016

Drilling into permafrost on Alaska's Arctic coast

On remote Barter Island, Alaska, Bruce Richmond (right) and Cordell Johnson drill into 500-foot-thick permafrost using a handheld drill with a 2-inch drill bit—a challenging task! It can take 3 hours to drill nearly 20 feet down. They collect samples of the frozen ground to better understand 

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Severely emaciated Common Murre carcass
January 13, 2016

Severely emaciated Common Murre carcass

A severely emaciated Common Murre carcass collected to determine the cause of death following a massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016.  Prince William Sound

Biologists walk the beach counting Common Murre carcasses
January 12, 2016

Biologists walk the beach counting Common Murre carcasses

Biologists walk the beach counting Common Murre carcasses following a massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016. Prince William Sound.

Freshly deceased Common Murre carcass recovered
January 10, 2016

Freshly deceased Common Murre carcass recovered

A freshly deceased Common Murre carcass recovered following the massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016.  Cochrane Bay, Prince William Sound.

Four dead birds washed up on the beach
January 10, 2016

Dead Common Murres found on the beach in Cochrane Bay, Prince William

Dead Common Murres found on the beach in Cochrane Bay, Prince William Sound on Jan 10, 2016. These birds were part of the large die-off of Common Murres across the Gulf of Alaska in 2015-2016.

Freshly deceased Common Murre carcass
January 10, 2016

Freshly deceased Common Murre carcass

A freshly deceased Common Murre carcass recovered following the massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016. Cochrane Bay, Prince William Sound

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.