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: 172
Date published: October 22, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Science Center Seminar Series

The USGS Alaska Science Center has a monthly seminar series that runs from October through May.  This series highlights the multiple research programs that are taking place across all disciplines at the center.

Contacts: Yvette Gillies
Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Genomic Mechanisms that Underlie Lack of Recovery of Prince William Sound Herring Following the 1990s Collapse

In the decades following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS), it has become increasingly apparent that oil can be toxic at extremely low concentrations to developing fish embryos including herring, where some toxic phenotypes may be apparent during embryogenesis, but some are delayed until later in life. Therefore, acute and lingering oil may act as an insidious selective force within...

Contacts: Paul Hershberger, Ph.D., Jacob Gregg, Ashley MacKenzie, William Richards, Andrew Whitehead, John Incardona, Nat Scholtz
Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Herring Disease Program

Using an approach that involves a combination of field- and laboratory-based studies, we are investigating fish health factors that may be contributing to the failed recovery of Pacific herring populations in Prince William Sound, AK.  Field studies are providing infection and disease prevalence data to inform the population models, serological data that indicate the prior exposure history and...

Date published: October 9, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Seismic Hazard Map

The National Seismic Hazard Maps developed by the USGS show the spatial probability of peak earthquake-driven ground motion levels. Since the last revisions to the map for Alaska in 2007, scientists have made significant advances in understanding active faulting, fault slip rates, and fault behavior.

Date published: October 9, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska-Aleutian Subduction Zone Studies

Our research team is exploring seismic and aseismic slip along the Alaska-Aleutian arc and studying the prehistoric record of megathrust earthquakes and tsunamis along the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone

Seismic and Aseismic Slip: Tectonic tremor and associated slow slip events represent a newly discovered part of the earthquake cycle. This research aims to...

Date published: October 9, 2018
Status: Active

Characterizing the Active Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault System

This research aims to better characterize the earthquake potential of the southern Fairweather Fault in order to provide more accurate fault source data for the USGS National Seismic Hazard Map. Our approach interrogates lidar data and satellite imagery, applies paleoseismological methods to examine earthquake history, and leverages partnerships with USGS scientists from Colorado and...

Date published: September 22, 2018
Status: Active

Monitoring and Research Boreal Partners in Flight Projects

Boreal Partners in Flight has five major regional projects designed to monitor broad-scale trends in populations of landbirds. There are also many projects throughout Alaska that address specific research questions or local monitoring needs.

Date published: September 21, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Landbird Monitoring Survey

Alaska provides breeding habitats for 142 species of landbirds, half of which breed predominantly north of the U.S.-Canada border. The road-based North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) provides some data on population trends in Alaska but most northern species are inadequately monitored because of a paucity of roads. Boreal Partners in Flight thus developed the Alaska Landbird Monitoring...

Date published: September 18, 2018
Status: Active

Festivals Celebrating Birds in Alaska

Here are a few festivals celebrating birds around the state of Alaska.

Date published: September 17, 2018
Status: Active

Meeting and Project Summaries for Boreal Partners in Flight

Information on topics discussed by Boreal Partners in Flight (BPIF) working groups organized by year.

Date published: August 21, 2018
Status: Active

Background of Beak Deformity Research

Large numbers of Black-capped Chickadees with abnormal beaks were reported in south-central Alaska in the late 1990s.  More recently, similar beak deformities have appeared in other species throughout the state. At least 30 Alaskan bird species are affected and the geographic extent of the problem appears to be growing.  In addition to Alaskan observations, we have received increasing numbers...

Date published: August 21, 2018
Status: Active

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Migratory Birds

Migratory birds, and particularly those using habitats close to human settlements, may be infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria.  The USGS is working with public health professionals to understand the role of birds in the maintenance and dispersal of antibiotic resistant bacteria.  Additionally, the USGS is investigating how antibiotic resistant bacteria in birds may relate to public and...

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report
Filter Total Items: 2,526
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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

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.

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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

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

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: 989
Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass washed up in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses on beach in Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Close up of Short-tailed Shearwater carcass in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses and debris on beach in Bristol Bay
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses and debris on beach in Bristol Bay

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on rocky beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019.

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass near beach shoreline in Bristol Bay

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019.

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcass and debris on beach, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019.

ANSEP student Tatiana Korthuis recording data
July 29, 2019

ANSEP student Tatiana Korthuis recording data on USGS research vessel

Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) student Tatiana Korthuis recording fish catch data on board the USGS research vessel Alaskan Gyre in Herring Bay, Alaska. This was part of a USGS study to monitor forage fish and seabirds in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 252
A small bird with distinctive orange-brown feathers around its neck and blue feathers on head, sitting on a small shrub
March 2, 2017

Scientists can now predict which avian species are most sensitive to the increasingly dominant shrub habitat spreading across Alaska, a capability that will be useful for natural resource agencies in Alaska charged with managing these resources.

USGS
February 16, 2017

A new study shows that harlequin ducks in coastal areas of Alaska’s Kodiak and Unalaska islands are exposed to environmental sources of mercury and that mercury concentrations in their blood are associated with their local food source, mainly blue mussels.

Image shows an undersea gas hydrate formation with shellfish on it.
February 9, 2017

A recent interpretive review of scientific literature performed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Rochester sheds light on the interactions of gas hydrates and climate.

Dr. Christian Zimmerman, USGS Alaska Science Center Director
February 1, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.

USGS
January 12, 2017

Water users around the country can now view the past and simulated future of hydrologic processes. 

USGS scientist placing a tracking collar on a caribou.
December 19, 2016

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer and caribou are large, cold-adapted, herding herbivores related to deer, elk and moose.

To learn more about how these arctic antler-bearers spend the other 364 days of the year, we talked to USGS caribou expert Dr. Layne Adams, who has studied these animals for more than 30 years.

Repeat oblique photographs of Gulkana glaciers in Alaska.
September 28, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the longest continuous glacier research efforts in North America.

Scientists setting a trap for gulls at the landfill
September 26, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Some gulls in southcentral Alaska are carriers of antibiotic resistant strains of E. coli, according to a new study co-authored by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Ariel photo of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
September 20, 2016

New research from the U.S. Geological Survey and partners illustrates how climate change is perceived among different generations of indigenous residents in subarctic Alaska. While all subjects agreed climate change is occurring, the older participants observed more overall changes than the younger demographic.

Glacier National Park
September 7, 2016

A team of USGS scientists spent 10 days in the wilderness, exploring one of the fastest-moving faults in 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.

The Regional Office provides active input to a variety of external collaborations by:

Filter Total Items: 55