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: 181
Many types of small fish laid out on the table for counting
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.

2 Black-legged Kittiwakes, one captured Pacific sand lance
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.

A bucket of the trawl catch of forage fish
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.

Kasatochi volcano as seen from 17,000 feet ASL....
Date Published: July 30, 2018
Status: Active

Aleutian Islands Ecosystem Recovery Studies

The Aleutian archipelago is a 2,000 km long chain of volcanically-derived treeless islands stretching from Unimak Island in the east to the Commander Islands in the west.  These volcanic islands support a wide range of species including large numbers of seabirds and marine mammal species, some of which are threatened and endangered, leading to a high level of federal management concern.

Snow Goose near the Colville River, northern Alaska
Date Published: July 20, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Coastal Plain and NPR-A Research Bibliography

Selected Bibliography of USGS Research Conducted in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Coastal Plain (1002 Area) and/or the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska (NPRA)

Compiled as of 12/18/2018

Two Black Brant in a wetland near the Colville River Delta
Date Published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science Informing the Status and Trends of Migratory Birds

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

A Yellow-billed Loon swimming in a small lake
Date Published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science Informing Endangered Species Act Decisions and Recovery Planning

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

A satellite tagged Pacific walrus on a piece of sea ice
Date Published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science for Oil and Gas Leasing-related Decisions

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

A building after an earthquake has crumbled the roof and brick walls, the interior is now visible.
Date Published: July 12, 2018
Status: Active

U.S. West Coast and Alaska Marine Geohazards

Marine geohazards are sudden and extreme events beneath the ocean that threaten coastal populations. Such underwater hazards include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis.

Devastating earthquakes in Japan (2011) and Chile (2010) that spawned pan-oceanic tsunamis sent a sobering reminder that U.S. coastlines are also vulnerable to natural disasters that originate in...

UAS discharge measurement Tanana River Train Bridge AK
Date Published: July 10, 2018
Status: Active

Remotely Sensed Discharge

River discharge is an important component of the water cycle, and an accurate accounting of streamflow can be accomplished by monitoring the spatial and temporal variations in river discharge. The U.S. Geological Survey is actively pursuing remote-sensing platforms to compute river discharge using a combination of satellite-, high altitude-, drone-, and fixed-based platforms to directly...

Pacific walrus hauled out on ice
Date Published: June 29, 2018
Status: Active

Walrus Media/Contacts

If you have questions about walrus research or media inquiries regarding the USGS Alaska Science Center please contact Yvette Gillies or Paul Laustsen.

Polar bear after darting before going down
Date Published: June 29, 2018
Status: Active

Polar Bear Media/Contacts

If you have questions about research or media inquiries regarding the USGS Alaska Science Center please contact Yvette Gillies or Paul Laustsen.

Filter Total Items: 2,329
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Year Published: 2019

The rise of an apex predator following deglaciation

AimSea otters (Enhydra lutris) are an apex predator of the nearshore marine community and nearly went extinct at the turn of the 20th century. Reintroductions and legal protection allowed sea otters to re‐colonize much of their former range. Our objective was to chronicle the colonization of this apex predator in Glacier Bay, Alaska, to help...

Hooten, Mevin B.; Esslinger, George G.

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Year Published: 2019

Changes in behavior are unable to disrupt a trophic cascade involving a specialist herbivore and its food plant

Changes in ecological conditions can induce changes in behavior and demography of wild organisms, which in turn may influence population dynamics. Pacific black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) nesting in colonies on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) in western Alaska have declined substantially (~50%) since the turn of the century. Pacific black...

Lohman, Madeleine G; Riecke, Thomas V.; Acevedo, Cheyenne R; Person, Brian T.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Sedinger, James S.

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Year Published: 2019

Energetic costs of aquatic locomotion in a subadult polar bear

Most marine mammals rely on swimming as their primary form of locomotion. These animals have evolved specialized morphologies, physiologies, and behaviors that have enabled them to efficiently move through an aquatic environment (Williams 1999). Such adaptations include body streamlining, modified plantar surfaces for propulsion, and...

Pagano, Anthony M.; Cutting, Amy; Nicassio-Hiskey, Nicole; Hash, Amy; Williams, Terrie M.

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Year Published: 2019

Serologic evidence for influenza A virus exposure in three loon species (Gavia spp.) breeding in Alaska

Limited information exists about exposure to influenza A viruses (IAVs) in many wild waterbird species, including loons. We analyzed serum samples from breeding adult Pacific (Gavia pacifica), Red-throated (Gavia stellata), and Yellow-billed (Gavia adamsii) loons sampled at three locations along the coast of Alaska, US from 2008 to 2017 to gain a...

Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Spivey, Timothy J.; Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Jiang, Kaijun; Wan, Xiu-Feng; Ramey, Andrew M.

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Year Published: 2019

Energy allocation and feeding ecology of juvenile chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) during transition from freshwater to saltwater

Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) populations near their northern range extent in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region of Alaska have undergone major changes in population trajectory and illuminated the lack of basic information on juvenile ecology. This study fills information gaps on the early life history of chum salmon at northern latitudes....

Burril, Sean E.; von Biela, Vanessa R.; Hillbruber, Nicola; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2019

Measurement of long-term channel change through repeated cross-section surveys at bridge crossings in Alaska

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been working with Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) since 1993 to provide hydraulic assessments of scour for bridges throughout Alaska. The purpose of the program is to evaluate, monitor, and study streambed scour at bridges in Alaska; this includes surveying streambed...

Dworsky, Karenth L.; Conaway, Jeffrey S.
Dworsky, K.L., and Conaway, J.S., 2019, Measurement of long-term channel change through repeated cross-section surveys at bridge crossings in Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019-1028, 118 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191028.

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Year Published: 2019

Extreme reduction in nutritional value of a key forage fish during the Pacific marine heatwave of 2014–2016

Pacific sand lance Ammodytes personatus are a key forage fish in the North Pacific for many species of salmon, groundfish, seabirds, and marine mammals and have historically been important to predators in relatively warm years. However, extreme declines in the nutritional value of sand lance in Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA, during...

von Biela, Vanessa R.; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Piatt, John F.; Heflin, Brielle; Schoen, Sarah K.; Trowbridge, Jannelle; Clawson, Chelsea

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Year Published: 2019

Migratory goose arrival time plays a larger role in influencing forage quality than advancing springs in an Arctic coastal wetland

With warmer springs, herbivores migrating to Arctic breeding grounds may experience phenological mismatches between their energy demands and the availability of high quality forage. However, the timing of high quality forage relative to the timing of grazing is often unknown. In coastal western Alaska, approximately one million migratory geese...

Beard, Karen H.; Choi, Ryan T.; Leffer, A. Joshua; Carlson, Lindsay; Kelsey, Katharine C.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Welker, Jeffrey

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Year Published: 2019

Influenza A prevalence and subtype diversity in migrating teal sampled along the United States Gulf Coast

Wild birds in the order Anseriformes are important reservoirs for influenza A viruses (IAV); however, IAV prevalence and subtype diversity may vary by season, even at the same location. To better understand the ecology of IAV during waterfowl migration through the Gulf Coast of the United States (Louisiana and Texas), surveillance of blue-winged (...

Carter, Deborah; Link, Paul T.; Walther, Patrick; Ramey, Andrew M.; Stallknecht, David E.; Poulson, Rebecca L.

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Year Published: 2019

Weak effects of geolocators on small birds: a meta‐analysis controlled for phylogeny and publication bias

Currently, the deployment of tracking devices is one of the most frequently used approaches to study movement ecology of birds. Recent miniaturisation of light‐level geolocators enabled studying small bird species whose migratory patterns were widely unknown. However, geolocators may reduce vital rates in tagged birds and may bias obtained...

Brlík, Vojtěch; Koleček, Jaroslav; Burgess, Malcolm; Hahn, Steffen; Humple, Diana; Krist, Milos; Ouwehand, Janne; Weiser, Emily L.; Adamik, Peter; Alves, José A.; Arlt, Debora; Barišić, Sanja; Becker, Detlef; Belda, Eduardo J.; Beran, Vaclav; Both, Christiaan; Bravo, Susana P.; Briedis, Martins; Bohumír, Chutný; Ćiković, Davor; Cooper, Nathan W.; Costa, Joana S.; Cueto, Víctor R.; Emmenegger, Tamara; Fraser, Kevin; Gilg, Olivier; Guerrero, Marina; Hallworth, Michael T.; Hewson, Chris; Jiguet, Frédéric; Johnson, James; Kelly, Tosha; Kishkinev, Dmitry; Leconte, Michel; Lislevand, Terje; Lisovski, Simeon; López, Cosme; McFarland, Kent P.; Marra, Peter P.; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Matyjasiak. Piotr; Meier, Christoph M.; Metzger, Benjamin; Monrós, Juan S.; Neumann, Roland; Newman, Amy; Norris, Ryan; Pärt, Tomas; Pavel, Václav; Perlut, Noah; Piha, Markus; Reneerkens, Jeroen; Rimmer, Christopher C.; Roberto-Charro, Amélie; Scandolara, Chiara; Sokolova, Natalia; Takenaka, Makiko; Tolkmitt, Dirk; van Oosten, Herman; Wellbrock, Arndt H. J.; Wheeler, Hazel; van der Winden, Jan; Witte, Klaudia; Woodworth, Brad; Procházka, Petr

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Year Published: 2019

The black brant population is declining based on mark recapture

Annual survival and recruitment in black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) have declined since the 1990s, yet aerial surveys of the global population have been stable or even increasing over the past decade. We used a combination of a Lincoln estimator based on harvest information and band recoveries, and marked‐unmarked ratios in bag checks in 1...

Sedinger, James S.; Riecke, Thomas V.; Leach, Alan G.; Ward, David H.

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Year Published: 2019

Flexible timing of annual movements across consistently used sites by Marbled Godwits breeding in Alaska

The study of avian movement has detailed a spectrum of strategies for the timing and use of sites throughout the annual cycle, from near randomness to complete consistency. New tracking devices now permit the repeated tracking of individual animals throughout the annual cycle, detailing previously unappreciated levels of variation within migratory...

Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Tibbitts, Lee; Gill, Robert E.

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: 987
Canning River with Brooks Range in the background
April 24, 2019

Canning River with Brooks Range in the background

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

Knik River bridge aerial view
April 22, 2019

Knik River bridge aerial view

Knik River bridge aerial view

Twentymile River bridge
March 27, 2019

Twentymile River bridge

Twentymile bridge

A photo from the sky of a coastline showing areas of sediment and water as well as land features like roads.
February 26, 2019

Orthophotomosaic image, north coast of Barter Island, July 1, 2014

Aerial photographs were collected from a small, fixed-wing aircraft over the coast of Barter Island, Alaska on July 01 2014, September 07 2014. Precise aircraft position information and structure-from-motion photogrammetric methods were combined to derive a high-resolution orthophotomosaic. This orthophotomosaic contain 3-band, 8-bit, unsigned raster data (red/green/blue;

...
Evidence of turbidity currents in Eklutna Lake triggered by shaking during the 2018 Mw7.1 Anchorage earthquake
February 16, 2019

Evidence of turbidity currents in Eklutna Lake

USGS scientists, working with researchers from the University of Ghent, probed the floor of Eklutna Lake, Anchorage Borough, Alaska, for evidence of turbidity currents triggered by strong shaking during the 2018 Mw7.1 Anchorage earthquake. In this photo, USGS scientist Peter Haeussler points to a dark layer at the top of a sediment core taken from the floor of Eklutna Lake

...
UAS undergraduate student Mckenzie Wilson examines a cross section.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

UAS undergraduate student Mckenzie Wilson examines a cross section.

AK CASC and USGS researchers select a field site.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

AK CASC and USGS researchers select a field site.

Researchers examine tree rings for anomalies.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

Researchers examine tree rings for anomalies.

Landsat animation of change in Twelvemile Lake, in the Yukon Flats ecoregion in Alaska
December 31, 2018

Twelvemile Lake - Change Over Time

Animation of Twelvemile Lake in the Yukon Flats ecoregion in Alaska, created using USGS Landsat data.

Map of AK showing probability of change occurrence
December 31, 2018

Map of AK showing probability of change occurrence

Map of Alaska showing probability (%) of change occurrence. Insets show fire boundaries from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Large Fire Database and Landsat 8 imagery (bottom right; 2016) north of Fairbanks, Alaska.

house next to landslide with snowcovered ground
December 31, 2018

Landslide near Potter Hill, Anchorage, Alaska

Landslide near Potter Hill, Anchorage, Alaska, after 2018 Anchorage earthquake.

Thawing permafrost on various peatlands in Alaska.
December 31, 2018

Thawing Permafrost, Alaska

Thawing permafrost on various peatlands in Alaska. Permafrost thaw results in ground subsidence and inundation that kills black spruce and other understory plants living on the permafrost plateau. The black spruce forests found on permafrost plateaus are replaced with sedge- and moss-dominated bogs and fens, altering the ecosystem structure and function.

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 244
Caribou walking in a line in the winter in Northern Alaska
December 18, 2015

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer, of course, is another common name for caribou (Rangifer tarandus) a large, cold-adapted, herding herbivore related to deer, elk and moose.

Current probability of near-surface permafrost in Alaska
November 30, 2015

Using statistically modeled maps drawn from satellite data and other sources, U.S. Geological Survey scientists have projected that the near-surface permafrost that presently underlies 38 percent of boreal and arctic Alaska would be reduced by 16 to 24 percent by the end of the 21st century under widely accepted climate scenarios.

Planned US Topo map production schedule for the next three- year revision cycle
November 19, 2015

With the release of new US Topo maps for Illinois and South Dakota, the USGS has completed the second, three-year cycle of revising and updating electronic US Topo quadrangles. This means that since late 2009, the USGS has published nearly every map in the conterminous U.S., twice.

Thermokarst
November 12, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Large and severe tundra fires cause top down permafrost thaw, playing a major role in altering Arctic landscapes according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 19, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A new scientific study predicts that some of Alaska’s mammal species will respond to future climate warming by concentrating in northern areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska. If true, for many species, this would be a significant northward shift into tundra habitats where they are currently absent.

Image: Repairing Seismic Stations in Alaska
October 15, 2015

The Alaska Volcano Observatory has recently completed repairs to seismic monitoring equipment on Aniakchak Volcano on the Alaska Peninsula that have restored ground-based monitoring at the volcano.

Image: Blueberry
October 6, 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey today announced the publication of a new study examining how Alaska’s tribal environmental managers and local observer networks view statewide trends in wild berry harvests.

Image: Severe Coastal Erosion During an El Niño Storm
September 21, 2015

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The projected upsurge of severe El Niño and La Niña events will cause an increase in storm events leading to extreme coastal flooding and erosion in populated regions across the Pacific Ocean, according to a multi-agency study published today in Nature Geoscience.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 10, 2015

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Some of the inner workings of Earth’s subduction zones and their “megathrust” faults are revealed in a paper published today in the journal “Science.” U.S. Geological Survey scientist Jeanne Hardebeck calculated the frictional strength of subduction zone faults worldwide, and the stresses they are under.

Image: Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Alaska
September 3, 2015

Two community events about monitoring old volcanic ash resuspended by high winds are scheduled next week in the City of Kodiak and in Larsen Bay, Alaska.

Probing the snow pack at the highest point in North America
September 2, 2015

A new, official height for Denali has been measured at 20,310 feet, just 10 feet less than the previous elevation of 20,320 feet which was established using 1950’s era technology.

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
August 10, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In the 20th century, Baranof Island in Southeastern Alaska has drawn attention for its gold, chrome and nickel deposits, timber industry, potential activity of the dormant Mount Edgecumbe volcano, and for numerous commercially developed hot springs.

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.