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 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: 171
Date published: August 20, 2018
Status: Active

Species Affected by Beak Deformities

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 of reports from other parts of North America and Europe.

Date published: August 19, 2018
Status: Active

Physical Description of Beak Deformities

The most commonly observed physical abnormalities among Alaskan birds are overgrown or crossed beaks.  The severity of the deformities varies, ranging from a nearly indiscernible “overbite” to beaks that are more than double their normal length.  The upper and lower parts of the beak are also frequently crossed or gapped.

Date published: August 18, 2018
Status: Active

Prevalence, Distribution and Timing of Beak Deformities in Birds

The rates of beak deformities documented in Black-capped Chickadees and Northwestern Crows in Alaska are the highest ever recorded within a wild bird population anywhere.

Date published: August 17, 2018
Status: Active

Beak Deformity's Effects on Birds

Birds with beak deformities often have difficulty foraging and preening, and may not be able to keep themselves warm and well-fed during cold winter months.  Although some birds with beak deformities breed successfully, they typically encounter more challenges than normal birds.

Date published: August 16, 2018
Status: Active

Possible Causes for Beak Deformities

Beak deformities can be caused by a variety of factors, including contaminants, nutritional deficiencies, disease, parasites, blunt trauma, or genetic abnormalities. We recently identified a novel picornavirus (Poecivirus) in Black-capped Chickadees with avian keratin disorder (AKD). Our results suggest that Poecivirus is the most likely factor responsible for beak deformities in Alaskan birds...

Date published: August 15, 2018
Status: Active

Literature Cited for Beak Deformities

Literature Cited in the Beak Deformity web pages

Date published: August 14, 2018
Status: Active

Links Related to Beak Deformity Research

Links, videos and news articles related to beak deformity research

Date published: August 13, 2018
Status: Active

Changing Arctic Ecosystems

The USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative will enhance the long-term science foundation needed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and other partners.

Date published: August 10, 2018
Status: Active

Loon Research

Scientists at the USGS Alaska Science Center have conducted research on Alaska’s three loon species since the late 1970s. Loons rely on freshwater lakes for nesting habitat and fish and invertebrates inhabiting lakes and marine ecosystems for food. All three loon species in Alaska occur within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) on Alaska’s northern coast. Research by the USGS is...

Date published: August 8, 2018
Status: Active

Streambed Scour at Bridges in Alaska

Streambed scour is the leading cause of bridge failure in the United States resulting in over 60 percent of all failures. The Alaska Science Center, in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Alaska Railroad, is researching streambed scour through scour monitoring, hydraulic modeling, and data collection during high flows.  

Date published: August 2, 2018
Status: Active

Detecting Long-term Changes in Forage Fish Populations in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Forage fish are an important node in marine food webs because they link primary and secondary producers with higher trophic levels.

Date published: August 2, 2018
Status: Active

Cook Inlet Seabird and Forage Fish Study

A massive die-off of Common Murres was documented in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) during the fall and winter of 2015-2016 in association with a record-breaking marine heat wave in the GOA.

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: 2,445
Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Tracking the migration of Pacific Golden-Plovers from nonbreeding grounds at Moorea, French Polynesia, using Pinpoint GPS-Argos tags

We used Pinpoint GPS-Argos tags to track migration of Pacific Golden-Plovers Pluvialis fulva in 2017 and 2018 from Moorea Island, at the extreme southeastern edge of the species’ winter range. Of 20 tagged birds, 13 uploaded locations during all or part of their northward migration. The birds departed in mid-April traveling a long (8,250...

Johnson, Oscar W. ; Tibbitts, Lee; Weber, Michael F. ; Bybee, David R. ; Goodwill, Roger H. ; Bruner, Andrea ; Smith, Errika J. ; Buss, Emmalee L.; Waddell, Trinity Q.A. ; Brooks, Daxton ; Smith, Carolyn ; Meyer, Jean-Yves

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Ecology of influenza A viruses in wild birds and wetlands of Alaska

Alaska represents a globally important region for the ecology of avian-origin influenza A viruses (IAVs) given expansive wetlands in this region which serve as habitat for numerous hosts of IAVs that disperse among four continents during the annual cycle. Extensive sampling of wild birds for IAVs in Alaska since 1991 has greatly extended...

Ramey, Andrew M.; Reeves, Andrew B.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Validation of a screening method for the detection of colistin-resistant E. coli containing mcr-1 in feral swine feces

A method was developed and validated for the detection of colistin-resistant Escherichia coli containing mcr-1 in the feces of feral swine. Following optimization of an enrichment method using EC broth supplemented with colistin (1 µg/mL) and vancomycin (8 µg/mL), aliquots derived from 100 feral swine fecal samples were spiked with of one of five...

Chandler, Jeffrey C; Franklin, Alan B.; Bevins, Sarah N.; Bentler, Kevin T; Bonnedahl, Jonas; Ahlstrom, Christina; Bisha, Bledar; Shriner, Susan A.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Gulls as sources of environmental contamination by colistin-resistant bacteria

In 2015, the mcr-1 gene was discovered in Escherichia coli in domestic swine in China that conferred resistance to colistin, an antibiotic of last resort used in treating multi-drug resistant bacterial infections in humans. Since then, mcr-1 was found in other human and animal populations, including wild gulls. Because gulls could disseminate the...

Franklin, Alan B.; Ramey, Andrew M.; Bentler, Kevin T; Barret, Nicole L; McCurdy, Loredana M; Ahlstrom, Christina; Bonnedahl, Jonas; Shriner, Susan A.; Chandler, Jeffrey C

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Post-release monitoring of a stranded and rehabilitated short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) reveals current-assisted travel

A subadult female short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), stranded on the northeastern Gulf of Mexico coast of Florida in June 2017, was rehabilitated for 38 days and then monitored with a satellite-linked, time-depth recording tag for 32 days after being released off the West Florida Shelf. The individual, “Gale,” appeared to...

Tyson Moore, Reny B; Douglas, David C.; Nollens, Hendrik H.; Wells, Randall S.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Storm impacts on phytoplankton community dynamics in lakes

In many regions across the globe, extreme weather events such as storms have increased in frequency, intensity, and duration due to climate change. Ecological theory predicts that such extreme events should have large impacts on ecosystem structure and function. High winds and precipitation associated with storms can affect lakes via short‐term...

Stockwell, Jason D.; Doubek, Jonathan P.; Adrian, Rita; Anneville, Orlane; Carey, Cayelan C.; Carvalho, Laurence; Frassl, Marieke A.; Domis, Lisette N. De Senerpont; Ibelings, Bas W; Grossart, Hans-Peter; Dur, Gaël; Lajeunesse, Marc J.; Lewandowska, Aleksandra M.; Llames , María E.; Matsuzaki, Shin-Ichiro S.; Nodine, Emily; Noges, Peeter; Patil, Vijay P.; Pomati, Francesco; Rinke, Karsten; Rudstam, Lars G.; Rusak, James A.; Salmaso, Nico; Seltmann, Christian T.; Straile, Dietmar; Thackeray, Stephen J.; Thiery, Wim; Urrutia‐Cordero, Pablo; Venail, Patrick; Verburg, Piet; Woolway, R. Iestyn; Zohary, Tamar; Andersen, Mikkel R.; Bhattacharya, Ruchi; Hejzlar, J.; Janatian, Nasime; Kpodonu, Alfred T. N. K. ; Williamson, Tanner J.; Wilson, Harriet

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Regional ocean models indicate changing limits to biological invasions in the Bering Sea

Minimal vessel traffic and cold water temperatures are believed to limit non-indigenous species (NIS) in high-latitude ecosystems. We evaluated whether suitable conditions exist in the Bering Sea for the introduction, survival, and reproduction of NIS. We compiled temperature and salinity thresholds of known NIS and compared these to ocean...

Droghini, Amanda ; Fischbach, Anthony S.; Watson, Jordan ; Reimer, Jesika

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Waterfowl occurrence and residence time as indicators of H5 and H7 avian influenza in North American Poultry

Avian influenza (AI) affects wild aquatic birds and poses hazards to human health, food security, and wildlife conservation globally. Accordingly, there is a recognized need for new methods and tools to help quantify the dynamic interaction between wild bird hosts and commercial poultry. Using satellite-marked waterfowl, we applied Bayesian joint...

Humphreys, John M.; Ramey, Andy; Douglas, David C.; Mullinax, Jennifer M.; Soos, Catherine; Link, Paul T.; Walther, Patrick; Prosser, Diann J.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Cryptic and extensive hybridization between ancient lineages of American crows

Most species and therefore most hybrid zones have historically been defined using phenotypic characters. However, both speciation and hybridization can occur with negligible morphological differentiation. Recently developed genomic tools provide the means to better understand cryptic speciation and hybridization. The Northwestern Crow (Corvus...

Slager, David; Epperly, Kevin; Ha, Renee; Rohwer, Sievert; Woodall, Christopher W.; Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Klicka, John

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Are migratory waterfowl vectors of seagrass pathogens?

Migratory waterfowl vector plant seeds and other tissues, but little attention has focused on the potential of avian vectoring of plant pathogens. Extensive meadows of eelgrass (Zostera marina) in southwest Alaska support hundreds of thousands of waterfowl during fall migration and may be susceptible to plant pathogens. We recovered DNA of...

Menning, Damian M.; Ward, David H.; Wyllie-Echeverria, Sandy; Sage, Kevin; Gravley, Megan C.; Gravley, Hunter; Talbot, Sandra L.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Conservation genomics in a changing arctic

Although logistically challenging to study, the Arctic is a bellwether for global change and is becoming a model for questions pertinent to the persistence of biodiversity. Disruption of Arctic ecosystems is accelerating, with impacts ranging from mixing of biotic communities to individual behavioral responses. Understanding these changes is...

Colella, Jocelyn P.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Brochmann, Christian; Taylor, Eric B.; Hoberg, Eric P.; Cook, Joseph A.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Extending seasonal discharge records for streamgage sites on the North Fork Fortymile and Middle Fork Fortymile Rivers, Alaska, through water year 2019

Daily mean discharge values were estimated for May 20–September 30 for 1976–82 and 2006–18 for the U.S. Geological Survey North Fork Fortymile River and Middle Fork Fortymile River streamgage sites in Alaska. A relation between study streamgage discharge and discharge for an index streamgage on the main-stem Fortymile River for a concurrent period...

Curran, Janet H.
Curran, J.H., 2020, Extending seasonal discharge records for streamgage sites on the North Fork Fortymile and Middle Fork Fortymile Rivers, Alaska, through water year 2019: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5003, 11 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205003.

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: 974
Beaver dam and lodge on the Ahaliknak Creek, Noatak National Preserve
June 9, 2019

Beaver dam and lodge on the Ahaliknak Creek, Noatak National Preserve

Beaver dam and lodge on the Ahaliknak Creek, Noatak National Preserve

Chilkat River bridge
May 30, 2019

Chilkat River bridge

Chilkat River bridge

Chilkat River sonar on a bridge
May 30, 2019

Chilkat River sonar on a bridge

Chilkat River sonar on a bridge

Kashwitna River bridge debris
May 13, 2019

Kashwitna River bridge debris

Kashwitna River bridge debris

Kashwitna River bridge
May 7, 2019

Kashwitna River bridge

Kashwitna River bridge

Minnow trap in icehole
April 27, 2019

Minnow trap in icehole

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Shublik Spring open water
April 27, 2019

Shublik Spring open water

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Canning River with bars
April 27, 2019

Canning River with bars

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Michael Carey and Vanessa von Biela on Canning River
April 27, 2019

Michael Carey and Vanessa von Biela on Canning River

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Hole in the ice from an auger
April 27, 2019

Hole in the ice from an auger on Canning River

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

April 27, 2019

Under Ice Habitat in Canning River Delta

In the Arctic, rivers are often thought to freeze completely during winter. Since fish need liquid water to survive, there are few places where they can live. Fish usually inhabit deep river channels and areas where springwater enters a stream. However, this video shows that winter habitat occurs in places we didn't expect, below the ice in the delta of a shallow river. 

Lowering minnow trap to fish
April 27, 2019

Lowering minnow trap to fish

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 252
Arctic Cod
August 8, 2016

Information relating to fish biology, locations and effects of climate change will help guide future research and management decisions

Female scientist and young girls looking at scientific equipment
August 4, 2016

MEDIA ADVISORY

Twenty middle-school girls from Washington and Oregon are participating in the second annual “GeoGirls” outdoor volcano science program at Mount St. Helens, jointly organized by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mount St. Helens Institute.

vertical columns of volcanic rock at Devils Postpile National Monument
July 13, 2016

A new geologic map of the Long Valley Caldera, Mammoth Mountain, and the Middle Fork canyon of the San Joaquin River including Devils Postpile National Monument, recounts the geologic and volcanic history of the area east of the Sierra Nevada in far greater detail than any previously published report.

USGS
July 7, 2016

Alaska is a major producer of base and precious metals and has a high potential for additional undiscovered mineral resources. However, discovery is hindered by Alaska’s vast size, remoteness and rugged terrain. New methods are needed to overcome these obstacles in order to evaluate Alaska’s geology and mineral resource potential.

Female and her cub-of-the-year
June 29, 2016

“The scenarios predicted by our models are encouraging in that there are clear actions that humans can take to improve the chances that healthy polar bear populations persist in the future.” - Todd Atwood, USGS

Painting - Denali in Midsummer
June 21, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey has produced a new compilation of landscape-scale sediment and soil geochemical data for Alaska. This was last completed nearly 40 years ago in 1978, but the new effort uses modern modeling and analysis techniques to map 68 elements across a newly developed and updated geochemical atlas of Alaska.

USGS study of fires and waterfowl surveys in the western boreal forest of North America. 
June 21, 2016

“These results suggest that waterfowl populations in the western boreal forest are resilient to forest fires and that current policies of limited fire suppression have not been detrimental to waterfowl populations." – Tyler Lewis, U.S. Geological Survey.

Permafrost area, Beaver Creek, Alaska.
June 20, 2016

The thawing of the planet’s permafrost is replumbing arctic environments, creating several hydrologic consequences and possibly some opportunities according to a new study published in Vadose Zone.

Scientist laying cable in a field
June 1, 2016

Fate of Alaska's large carbon reserves could affect greenhouse gas concentration.

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