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: 169
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.

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

Arctic regions of Alaska are important for cultural and economic sustainability and host a wide variety of wildlife species, many of which are of conservation and management interest to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The USGS and collaborators provide information about Arctic ecosystems that are used by Arctic residents, management agencies, and industry.

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 3, 2018
Status: Active

Seabirds and Forage Fish Ecology

Alaska's coastal and offshore waters provide foraging habitat for an estimated 100 million birds comprising more than 90 different species; from loons and seaducks that nest inland, to petrels and puffins that breed on islands off shore. All these birds depend on the sea to provide a wide variety of food types— from clams, crabs and urchins nearshore— to krill, forage fish, and squid offshore...

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: 2021

Tectonic and magmatic controls on the metallogenesis of porphyry deposits in Alaska

Porphyry Cu and Mo deposits and occurrences are found throughout Alaska; they formed episodically during repeated subduction and arc-continent collisions spanning the Silurian to Quaternary. Porphyry systems occur in continental-margin and island arcs, which are broadly grouped into pre-accretionary or post-accretionary arcs. Pre-Mesozoic...

Kreiner, Douglas C.; Jones, James V.; Kelley, Karen D.; Graham, Garth E.

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Year Published: 2021

Sr, Nd, Hf and Pb isotope geochemistry of Early Miocene shoshonitic lavas from the South Fiji Basin: Note

We present new Sr, Nd, Hf and Pb isotope data for Early Miocene shoshonitic and high-K lavas dredged from seamounts in the South Fiji Basin, southwest Pacific Ocean. Our analyses provide a useful reference dataset for this distinctive compositional suite. The shoshonitic lavas formed in an intra-oceanic back-arc basin setting and are broadly...

Mortimer, Nick; Bosch, Delphine; Laporte-Magoni, Christine; Todd, Erin; Gill, James B

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Year Published: 2021

Forecasting community reassembly using climate-linked spatio-temporal ecosystem models

Ecosystems are increasingly impacted by human activities, altering linkages among physical and biological components. Spatial community reassembly occurs when these human impacts modify the spatial overlap between system components, and there is need for practical tools to forecast spatial community reassembly at landscape scales using monitoring...

Thorson, James; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Barnett, Lewis; Cheng, Wei; Eisner, Lisa; Haynie, Alan; Hermann, Albert; Holsman, Kirsten; Kimmel, David; Lomas, Michael; Richar, Jon; Siddon, Elizabeth

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Year Published: 2021

Variability of lipids and fatty acids in Pacific walrus blubber

The variability of lipid content and fatty acid (FA) composition across blubber depth and body sites are important considerations for condition and diet studies of marine mammals. We investigated lipid and FA variability among inner and outer blubber layers, three body sites, four study years, and lactation status of adult female Pacific walruses...

Jay, Chadwick V.; Iverson, Sara J.; Fischbach, Anthony S.

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Year Published: 2021

Native American fire management at an ancient wildland–urban interface in the Southwest United States

The intersection of expanding human development and wildland landscapes—the “wildland–urban interface” or WUI—is one of the most vexing contexts for fire management because it involves complex interacting systems of people and nature. Here, we document the dynamism and stability of an ancient WUI that was apparently sustainable for more than 500 y...

Roos, Christopher; Swetnam, Thomas W.; Ferguson, T. J.; Liebmann, Matthew J.; Loehman, Rachel A.; Welch, John; Margolis, Ellis; Guiterman, Christopher H.; Hockaday, William; Aiuvalasit, Michael; Battillo, Jenna; Farella, Joshua; Kiahtipes, Christopher

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Year Published: 2021

Predictors of invertebrate biomass and rate of advancement of invertebrate phenology across eight sites in the North American Arctic

Average annual temperatures in the Arctic increased by 2–3 °C during the second half of the twentieth century. Because shorebirds initiate northward migration to Arctic nesting sites based on cues at distant wintering grounds, climate-driven changes in the phenology of Arctic invertebrates may lead to a mismatch between the nutritional...

Shaftel, Rebecca; Rinella, Daniel J.; Kwon, Eunbi; Brown, Stephen C.; Gates, H. River; Kendall, Steve; Lank, David B.; Liebezeit, Joseph R.; Payer, David C.; Rausch, Jennie; Saalfeld, Sarah T.; Sandercock, Brett K.; Smith, Paul A.; Ward, David H.; Lanctot, Richard B.

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Year Published: 2021

USGS permafrost research determines the risks of permafrost thaw to biologic and hydrologic resources

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with university, Federal, Tribal, and independent partners, conducts fundamental research on the distribution, vulnerability, and importance of permafrost in arctic and boreal ecosystems. Scientists, land managers, and policy makers use USGS data to help make decisions for development, wildlife...

Waldrop, Mark P.; Anderson, Lesleigh; Dornblaser, Mark; Erikson, Li H.; Gibbs, Ann E.; Herman-Mercer, Nicole M.; James, Stephanie R.; Jones, Miriam C.; Koch, Joshua C.; Leewis, Mary-Cathrine; Manies, Kristen L.; Minsley, Burke J.; Pastick, Neal J.; Patil, Vijay; Urban, Frank; Walvoord, Michelle A.; Wickland, Kimberly P.; Zimmerman, Christian
Waldrop, M.P., Anderson, L., Dornblaser, M., Erikson, L.H., Gibbs, A.E., Herman-Mercer, N.M., James, S.R., Jones, M.C., Koch, J.C., Leewis, M.-C., Manies, K.L., Minsley, B.J., Pastick, N.J., Patil, V., Urban, F., Walvoord, M.A., Wickland, K.P., and Zimmerman, C., 2021, USGS permafrost research determines the risks of permafrost thaw to biologic and hydrologic resources: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2020-3058, 6 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20203058.

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Year Published: 2021

Poecivirus is present in individuals with beak deformities in seven species of North American birds

Avian keratin disorder (AKD), a disease of unknown etiology characterized by debilitating beak overgrowth, has increasingly affected wild bird populations since the 1990s. A novel picornavirus, poecivirus, is closely correlated with disease status in Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) in Alaska. However, our knowledge of the...

Zylberberg, Maxine; Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Handel, Colleen M.; Liu, Rachel; DeRisi, Joseph L.

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Year Published: 2021

Re-examination of population structure in Arctic ringed seals using DArTseq genotyping

Although Arctic ringed seals Phoca hispida hispida are currently abundant and broadly distributed, their numbers are projected to decline substantially by the year 2100 due to climate warming. While understanding population structure could provide insight into the impact of environmental changes on this subspecies, detecting...

Lang, Aimee R.; Boveng, Peter L.; Quakenbush, L.; Robertson, K.; Lauf, M.; Rode, Karyn D.; Ziel, H.; Taylor, B .L.

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Year Published: 2021

Geochemistry of coastal permafrost and erosion-driven organic matter fluxes to the Beaufort Sea near Drew Point, Alaska

Accelerating erosion of the Alaska Beaufort Sea coast is increasing inputs of organic matter from land to the Arctic Ocean, and improved estimates of organic matter stocks in eroding coastal permafrost are needed to assess their mobilization rates under contemporary conditions. We collected three permafrost cores (4.5–7.5 m long) along a...

Bristol, Emily M.; Connolly, Craig T.; Lorenson, Thomas; Richmond, Bruce M.; Ilgen, Anastasia G.; Choens, Charles R.; Bull, Diana L.; Kanevskiy, Mikhail Z.; Iwahana, Go; Jones, Benjamin M.; McClelland, James M.

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Year Published: 2021

Coding-Complete Genome Sequence of Avian Orthoavulavirus 16, isolated from Emperor Goose (Anser canagica) feces, Alaska, USA

We sequenced the coding-complete genome of an avian orthoavulavirus serotype 16 (AOAV-16) isolate recovered from emperor goose (Anser canagicus) feces collected in Alaska. The detection of AOAV-16 in North America and genomic sequencing of the resultant isolate confirms that the geographic distribution of this virus extends beyond Asia.

Reeves, Andrew B.; Killian, Mary Lea; Tanner, Michael E; Lagasse, Benjamin Joel; Ramey, Andrew M.; Stallknecht, David E.; Poulson, Rebecca L.

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Year Published: 2021

Freezing in a warming climate: Marked declines of a subnivean hibernator after a snow drought

Recent snow droughts associated with unusually warm winters are predicted to increase in frequency and affect species dependent upon snowpack for winter survival. Changes in populations of some cold‐adapted species have been attributed to heat stress or indirect effects on habitat from unusually warm summers, but little is known about the...

Johnston, Aaron; Christophersen, Roger G; Beever, Erik A.; Ransom, Jason I.

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
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: 253
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.

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.

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