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: 175
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 habitat for >140 regularly occurring 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 by that continental program because of a paucity of roads. Boreal Partners in...

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: September 14, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Law of the Sea

The USGS Law of the Sea project helps identify the submerged extent of the U.S. land territory beyond 200 nautical miles. This land area, called the extended continental shelf (ECS), is an important maritime zone with resources and marine habitats. Its size may exceed one million square kilometers, encompassing areas in the Arctic, Atlantic, Bering Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific west coast....

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...

Date published: August 20, 2018
Status: Active

Wetlands in the Quaternary Project

Wetlands accumulate organic-rich sediment or peat stratigraphically, making them great archives of past environmental change. Wetlands also act as hydrologic buffers on the landscape and are important to global biogeochemical cycling. This project uses wetland archives from a range of environments to better understand how vegetation, hydrology, and hydroclimate has changed on decadal to multi-...

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.

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: 2,693
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Year Published: 2021

Using next generation sequencing of alpine plants to improve fecal metabarcoding diet analysis for Dall’s sheep

ObjectivesDall’s sheep (Ovis dalli dalli) are important herbivores in the mountainous ecosystems of northwestern North America, and recent declines in some populations have sparked concern. Our aim was to improve capabilities for fecal metabarcoding diet analysis of Dall’s sheep and other herbivores by contributing new sequence data for arctic and...

Williams, Kelly E.; Menning, Damian M.; Wald, Eric J.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Rattenbury, Kumi L.; Prugh, Laura R.

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Year Published: 2021

Measuring adrenal and reproductive hormones in hair from southern Beaufort Sea polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) use sea ice to access marine mammal prey. In Alaska’s Southern Beaufort Sea, the declining availability of sea ice habitat in summer and fall has reduced opportunities for polar bears to routinely hunt on the ice for seals, their primary prey. This reduced access to prey may result in physiological stress with...

Van der Walt, Marilize; Neuman-Lee, Lorin; Terletzky, Patricia; Atwood, Todd C.; Gese, Eric; French, Susannah

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Year Published: 2021

When a typical jumper skips: Itineraries and staging habitats used by Red Knots (Calidris canutus piersmai) migrating between northwest Australia and the New Siberian Islands

The ecological reasons for variation in avian migration, with some populations migrating across thousands of kilometres between breeding and non-breeding areas with one or few refuelling stops, in contrast to others that stop more often, remain to be pinned down. Red Knots Calidris canutus are a textbook example of a shorebird species...

Piersma, Theunis; Kok, Eva; Hassell, Chris J.; Verkuil, Yvonne I.; Lei, Guangchun; Peng, He-Bo; Rakhimberdiev, Eldar; Howey, Paul; Chan, Ying-Chi; Tibbitts, Lee; Karagicheva, Julia

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Year Published: 2021

Polar bear foraging behavior

Polar bears forage in the marine environment, primarily on the sea ice over the shallow waters of the continental shelf. They are solitary, ambush hunters that catch ringed and bearded seals when they surface to breathe in ice holes or haul out on the ice to rest and molt. In most parts of their range, polar bears experience dramatic seasonal...

Pagano, Anthony M.

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Year Published: 2021

Sea otter predator avoidance behavior

Predators directly affect their prey as a source of mortality, and prey respond by employing antipredator strategies. Sea otters are a keystone predator within the nearshore community, but higher trophic level avian, terrestrial, and pelagic predators (e.g., bald eagles, brown bears, wolves, white sharks, and killer whales) prey on them. Three...

Monson, Daniel

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Year Published: 2021

U.S. Geological Survey wildland fire science strategic plan, 2021–26

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Wildland Fire Science Strategic Plan defines critical, core fire science capabilities for understanding fire-related and fire-responsive earth system processes and patterns, and informing management decision making. Developed by USGS fire scientists and executive leadership, and informed by conversations with...

Steblein, Paul F.; Loehman, Rachel A.; Miller, Mark P.; Holomuzki, Joseph R.; Soileau, Suzanna C.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Drane-Maury, Mia; Hamilton, Hannah M.; Kean, Jason W.; Keeley, Jon E.; Mason, Robert R.; McKerrow, Alexa J.; Meldrum, James R.; Molder, Edmund B.; Murphy, Sheila F.; Peterson, Birgit; Plumlee, Geoffrey S.; Shinneman, Douglas J.; van Mantgem, Phillip J.; York, Alison
Steblein, P.F., Loehman, R.A., Miller, M.P., Holomuzki, J.R., Soileau, S.C., Brooks, M.L., Drane-Maury, M., Hamilton, H.M., Kean, J.W., Keeley, J.E., Mason, R.R., Jr., McKerrow, A., Meldrum, J.R., Molder, E.B., Murphy, S.F., Peterson, B., Plumlee, G.S., Shinneman, D.J., van Mantgem, P.J., and York, A., 2021, U.S. Geological Survey wildland fire science strategic plan, 2021–26: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1471, 30 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1471.

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Year Published: 2021

Arctic insect emergence timing and composition differs across thaw ponds of varying morphology

Freshwater ponds provide habitats for aquatic insects that emerge and subsidize consumers in terrestrial ecosystems. In the Arctic, insects provide an important seasonal source of energy to birds that breed and rear young on the tundra. The abundance and timing of insect emergence from arctic thaw ponds is poorly understood, but understanding...

Laske, Sarah M.; Gurney, Kirsty E. B.; Koch, Joshua C.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Wipfli, Mark S.

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Year Published: 2021

USGS National Water Quality Monitoring Network

What is the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Monitoring Network?Understanding the water quality of U.S. streams and rivers requires consistent data collection and analysis over decades. The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Water Quality Network (NWQN) was established to facilitate national-scale understanding of surface-water...

Riskin, Melissa L.; Lee, Casey J.
Lee, C.J., and Riskin, M.L., 2021, USGS National Water Quality Monitoring Network: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2021–3019, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20213019.

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Year Published: 2021

Assessment of undiscovered gas resources in Upper Devonian to Lower Cretaceous strata of the western North Slope, Alaska, 2021

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean of 1,407 billion (1.4 trillion) cubic feet of gas in conventional accumulations in Upper Devonian to Lower Cretaceous strata of the western North Slope, Alaska.

Houseknecht, David W.; Mercier, Tracey J.; Schenk, Christopher J.; Moore, Thomas E.; Rouse, William A.; Dumoulin, Julie A.; Craddock, William H.; Lease, Richard O.; Botterell, Palma J.; Sanders, Margaret M.; Smith, Rebecca A.; Connors, Christopher D.; Garrity, Christopher P.; Whidden, Katherine J.; Gooley, Jared T.; Counts, John W.; Long, Joshua H.; DeVera, Christina A.
Houseknecht, D.W., Mercier, T.J., Schenk, C.J., Moore, T.E., Rouse, W.A., Dumoulin, J.A., Craddock, W.H., Lease, R.O., Botterell, P.J., Sanders, M.M., Smith, R.A., Connors, C.D., Garrity, C.P., Whidden, K.J., Gooley, J.T., Counts, J.W., Long, J.H., and DeVera, C.A., 2021, Assessment of undiscovered gas resources in Upper Devonian to Lower Cretaceous strata of the western North Slope, Alaska, 2021: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2021-3003, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20213003.

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Year Published: 2021

Red-throated loon (Gavia stellata) use of nearshore marine habitats—Results from a 2019 pilot study in northern Alaska

Red-throated loons (Gavia stellata) are a species of conservation concern in Alaska due to recent evidence of a population decline on the Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) in northern Alaska. In 2019, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a pilot study to evaluate diet and use of nearshore foraging areas as possible...

Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Latty, Christopher J.; Schmutz, Joel A.
Uher-Koch, B.D., Latty, C.J., and Schmutz, J.A., 2021, Red-throated loon (Gavia stellata) use of nearshore marine habitats—Results from a 2019 pilot study in Northern Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1029, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211029.

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Year Published: 2021

Abundance of a recently discovered Alaskan rhodolith bed in a shallow, seagrass-dominated lagoon

Rhodoliths are important foundation species of the benthic photic zone but are poorly known and rarely studied in Alaska. A bed of Lithothamnion soriferum rhodoliths was discovered in 2008 in Kinzarof Lagoon, Alaska, a shallow-water embayment dominated by eelgrass (Zostera marina). Rhodolith presence and biomass were estimated to assess trends...

Ward, David H.; Amundson, Courtney; Fitzmorris, Patrick; Menning, Damian M.; Markis, Joel; Sowl, Kristine M.; Lindstrom, Sandra C.

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Year Published: 2021

Metabarcoding of environmental samples suggest wide distribution of eelgrass (Zostera marina) pathogens in the north Pacific

Seagrass meadows provide important ecological services to the marine environment but are declining worldwide. Although eelgrass meadows in the north Pacific are thought to be relatively healthy, few studies have assessed the presence of known disease pathogens in these meadows. In a pilot study to test the efficacy of the methods and to provide...

Menning, Damian M.; Gravley, Hunter A; Cady, Melissa N.; Pepin, Daniel J; Wyllie-Echeverria, Sandy; Ward, David H.; Talbot, Sandra L.

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: 975
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.

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 255
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

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.

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:

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