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: 170
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...

Contacts: Brian Uher-Koch
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.

Date published: August 1, 2018
Status: Active

Terrestrial Influence on Glacial-Marine Food Webs

Where glaciers meet the sea in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), they create unique and productive marine habitats. Ringed by the continent’s tallest coastal mountains, 20% of the GOA coastal watershed is covered by glacial ice and the annual freshwater discharge into the GOA from glacial melt is comparable to that of the Mississippi river.

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: 2,528
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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

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.

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Year Published: 2020

Source model for Sabancaya volcano constrained by DInSAR and GNSS surface deformation observation

Sabancaya is the most active volcano of the Ampato-Sabancaya Volcanic Complex (ASVC) in southern Perú and has been erupting since 2016. The analysis of ascending and descending Sentinel-1 orbits (DInSAR) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) datasets from 2014 to 2019 imaged a radially symmetric inflating area, uplifting at a rate of 35 to...

Boixart, Gregorio; Cruz, Luis; Miranda, Rafael; Euillades, Pablo; Euillades, Leonardo; Battaglia, Maurizio

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Year Published: 2020

U-Pb Zircon ages from bedrock samples collected in the Tanacross D-1, and parts of the D-2, C-1, and C-2 quadrangles, Alaska

This Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) Preliminary Interpretive Report presents U-Pb ages of zircons from 14 sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous samples collected during 2017 and 2018 field investigations in the northeastern Tanacross Quadrangle, Alaska. The DGGS Northeast Tanacross project is a part of multi-year...

Wypych, Alicja; Jones, James V.; O'Sullivan, Paul B.

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Year Published: 2020

Erratum: Seismic survey design and effects on maternal polar bear dens

Since the publication of this manuscript, readers have noted two errors in our analysis. The first is that we inadvertently stated that the forward looking infrared (FLIR) survey simulations only represented a single FLIR survey. In reality, the analysis assumed two independent FLIR surveys occurred prior to simulated seismic activity occurring...

Wilson, Ryan R.; Durner, George M.

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Year Published: 2020

Deglacierization of a marginal basin and implications for outburst floods, Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

Suicide Basin is a partly glacierized marginal basin of Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, that has released glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) annually since 2011. The floods cause inundation and erosion in the Mendenhall Valley, impacting homes and other infrastructure. Here, we utilize in-situ and remote sensing data to assess the recent...

Kienholz, Christian; Pierce, Jamie; Hood, Eran; Amundson, Jason M.; Wolken, Gabriel; Jacobs, Aaron; Hart, Skye; Wikstrom-Jones, Katreen; Abdel-Fattah, Dina; Johnson, Crane; Conaway, Jeffrey S.

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Year Published: 2020

Evaluation of the analytical methods used to determine the elemental concentrations found in the stream geochemical dataset compiled for Alaska

A recent U.S. Geological Survey data compilation of stream-sediment geochemistry for Alaska contains decades of analyses collected under numerous Federal and State programs. The compiled data were determined by various analytical methods. Some samples were reanalyzed by a different analytical method than the original, resulting in some elements...

Wang, Bronwen; Ellefsen, Karl J.; Granitto, Matthew; Kelley, Karen D.; Karl, Susan M.; Case, George N.D.; Kreiner, Douglas C.; Amundson, Courtney L.
Wang, B, Ellefsen, K.J., Granitto, M., Kelley, K.D., Karl, S.M., Case, G.N.D., Kreiner, D.C., and Amundson, C.L., 2020, Evaluation of the analytical methods used to determine the elemental concentrations found in the stream geochemical dataset compiled for Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1038, 66 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201038.

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: 988
Canada goose (Branta canadensis), Anchorage, AK
July 27, 2019

Canada goose (Branta canadensis), Anchorage, AK

Canada goose (Branta canadensis), Anchorage, AK

Common Murre on the water in Kachemak Bay, Alaska
July 25, 2019

A Common Murre on the water near its colony in Kachemak Bay, Alaska

Northern Fulmars, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and Common Murres have all been tested for and contained harmful algal bloom (HAB) toxins in Alaska. Since 2015, the USGS has worked with a variety of stakeholders to develop testing methods and research projects to better understand the geographic extent, timing and impacts of algal toxins in Alaska marine ecosystems. For more

...
ANSEP student holds a red-throated loon
July 13, 2019

ANSEP student Jakob Sipary holds a red-throated loon, Alaska

Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) student Jakob Sipary holds a red-throated loon on the Canning River Delta, Alaska, July 2019 as part of a USGS study on loon marine habitat use areas. Jakob was an intern for the summer with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Taku Glacier, Alaska retreat
July 9, 2019

Taku Glacier, Alaska retreat

2019 Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) students during a four day and 83 kilometers ski traverse across Taku Glacier, carrying all their food, water, clothing, tents, and science gear as they help measure the mass balance along the way.

Kasilof River sonar on a bridge
June 28, 2019

Kasilof River sonar on a bridge

Kasilof River sonar on a bridge

Tazlina River bridge
June 28, 2019

Tazlina River bridge

Tazlina River bridge

A Common Murre holds a Pacific sand lance near Gull Island, Alaska
June 19, 2019

A Common Murre holds a Pacific sand lance near Gull Island in Alaska

Northern Fulmars, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and Common Murres have all been tested for and contained harmful algal bloom (HAB) toxins. Since 2015, the USGS has worked with a variety of stakeholders to develop testing methods and research projects to better understand the geographic extent, timing and impacts of algal toxins in Alaska marine ecosystems.

Beaver lodge and drained impoundment in tributary of the Noatak River, Noatak National Preserve
June 12, 2019

Beaver lodge and drained impoundment in tributary of the Noatak River

Beaver lodge and drained impoundment in tributary of the Noatak River, Noatak National Preserve

Impounded water above beaver dam on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve
June 12, 2019

Impounded water above beaver dam on the Wrench Creek

Impounded water above beaver dam on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve

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

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