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 2, 2018
Status: Active

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

Forage fish are small pelagic schooling fish that play a key role in transferring energy between plankton and top marine predators. Many seabirds, marine mammals, and commercial fish species depend on forage fish to grow and survive.

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.

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.

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

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 Steven Sobieszczyk.

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.

Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

Glaciers and Climate Project

Scientists with the Glaciers and Climate Project study many of the pertinent impacts that glaciers present to society, such as altering hydrologic cycles, contributing to sea-level rise, and creating environmental hazards. 

Contacts: Louis Sass, III
Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Completed

Mountain Permafrost, Climate Change, and Rock Avalanches in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Release Date: JUNE 18, 2018

We usually hear about landslides and avalanches that are caused by large amounts of rainfall, the shaking from earthquakes, or a volcanic eruption, but we may be hearing more about avalanches caused by the (seemingly innocuous) melting of ice in the coming years.

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: 2,642
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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.

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Year Published: 2021

Evidence for continental-scale dispersal of antimicrobial resistant bacteria by landfill-foraging gulls

Anthropogenic inputs into the environment may serve as sources of antimicrobial resistant bacteria and alter the ecology and population dynamics of synanthropic wild animals by providing supplemental forage. In this study, we used a combination of phenotypic and genomic approaches to characterize antimicrobial resistant indicator bacteria, animal...

Ahlstrom, Christina; van Toor, Mariëlle L.; Woksepp, Hanna; Chandler, Jeffrey C; Reed, John; Reeves, Andrew B.; Waldenström, Jonas; Franklin, Alan B.; Douglas, David C.; Bonnedahl, Jonas; Ramey, Andrew M.

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Year Published: 2021

Identification of seasonal streamflow regimes and streamflow drivers for daily and peak flows in Alaska

Alaska is among northern high‐latitude regions where accelerated climate change is expected to impact streamflow properties, including seasonality and primary flow drivers. Evaluating changes to streamflow, including flood characteristics, across this large and diverse environment can be improved by identifying the distribution and influence of...

Curran, Janet H.; Frances E. Biles

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Year Published: 2021

The Alaska convergent margin backstop splay fault zone, a potential large tsunami generator between the frontal prism and continental framework

The giant tsunami that swept the Pacific from Alaska to Antarctica in 1946 was generated along one of three Alaska Trench instrumentally recorded aftershock areas following great and giant earthquakes. Aftershock areas were investigated during the past decade with multibeam bathymetry, ocean bottom seismograph wide‐angle seismic, reprocessed...

von Huene, Roland; Miller, John J.; Krabbenhoeft, Anne

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Year Published: 2021

Permafrost promotes shallow groundwater flow and warmer headwater streams

The presence of permafrost influences the flow paths of water through Arctic landscapes and thereby has the potential to impact stream discharge and thermal regimes. Observations from eleven headwater streams in Alaska showed that July water temperatures were higher in catchments with more near‐surface permafrost. We apply a fully coupled...

Sjoberg, Ylva; Janke, Adam K.; Painter, S; Coonradt, E.; Carey, Michael P.; O'Donnell, Jonathan A.; Koch, Joshua C.

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Year Published: 2021

Shifts in the wintering distribution and abundance of Emperor Geese in Alaska

For wildlife species that winter at northern latitudes, harsh overwinter conditions can play an important role in population dynamics. Recent changes in global temperatures have resulted in distributional shifts of wildlife species, as well as amelioration of winter climates in northern landscapes. The emperor goose (Anser canagicus), an endemic...

Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Buccheit, Raymond M.; Eldermire, Charles R.; Wilson, Heather M.; Schmutz, Joel A.

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Year Published: 2021

Record fledging count from a seven-egg clutch in the Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

Cooper's Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) typically lay 3–5 eggs per clutch, rarely 6 eggs, and there are 2 accounts of 7-egg clutches and 1 record of a maximum 8-egg clutch for the species. Brood sizes of 3–5 young are common and the previous maximum brood count is 6 young. However, in 2019, we found an urban nest in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, with 7...

Rosenfield, Robert N.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Riddle-Berntsen, Ann Elizabeth; Kuhel, Evan

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Year Published: 2021

Generation of calc-alkaline magmas during crystallization at high oxygen fugacity: An experimental and petrologic study of tephras from Buldir Volcano, western Aleutian Arc, Alaska, USA

Despite agreement that calc-alkaline volcanism occurs at subduction zones and is responsible for the genesis of continental landmasses, there is no consensus on the source of the Fe-depleted signature hallmark to calc-alkaline volcanism. In this study, we utilize mafic tephras collected from Buldir Volcano to address the genesis of strongly calc-...

Waters, Laura; Cottrell, Elizabeth; Coombs, Michelle L.; Kelley, Katherine A.

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Year Published: 2021

Multiple physical properties of gas hydrate-bearing sediments recovered from Alaska North Slope 2018 Hydrate-01 Stratigraphic Test Well

Knowledge of the petrophysical and geomechanical properties of gas hydrate-bearing sediments is essential for predicting reservoir responses to gas production from gas hydrate reservoirs. In December 2018, Stratigraphic Test Well Hydrate-01 was drilled in the western part of the Prudhoe Bay Unit, Alaska North Slope, as part of the technical...

Yoneda, Jun; Jin, Yusuke; Muraoka, Michihiro; Oshima, Motoi; Suzuki, Kiyofumi; Walker, Mike; Donald Westacott; Otsuki, Satoshi; Kumagai, Kenichi; Collett, Timothy; Boswell, Ray; Okinaka, Norihiro

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Year Published: 2021

Seabird‐induced natural mortality of forage fish varies with fish abundance: Evidence from five ecosystems

Forage fish populations often undergo large and rapid fluctuations in abundance. However, most of their predators are buffered against such fluctuations owing to their slower pace of life, which allows them to maintain more stable populations, at least during short periods of food scarcity. In this study, we investigated top‐down processes exerted...

Saraux, Claire; Sydeman, William J.; Piatt, John F.; Anker-Nilssen, Tycho; Hentati-Sundberg, Jonas; Bertrand, Sophie; Cury, Philippe M.; Furness, Robert W.; Miller, James A.; Österblom, Henrik; Passuni, Giannina; Roux, Jean-Paul; Shannon, Lynne; Crawford, Robert J.M.

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Year Published: 2021

Diversity of diatoms, benthic macroinvertebrates, and fish varies in response to different environmental correlates in Arctic rivers across North America

Climate change poses a significant threat to Arctic freshwater biodiversity, but impacts depend upon the strength of organism response to climate‐related drivers. Currently, there is insufficient knowledge about Arctic freshwater biodiversity patterns to guide assessment, prediction, and management of biodiversity change.As part of the Circumpolar...

Lento, Jennifer; Laske, Sarah M.; Lavoie, Isabelle; Bogan, Daniel; Brua, Bob; Campeau, Stéphane; Chin, Krista; Culp, Joseph M.; Levenstein, Brianna; Power, Michael; Saulnier-Talbot, Émilie; Shaftel, Rebecca; Swanson, Heidi K.; Whitman, Matthew; Zimmerman, Christian 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: 984
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

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.

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 view
April 26, 2019

Canning River with bars view

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

Vanessa von Biela with cut bank at Canning River
April 25, 2019

Vanessa von Biela with cut bank at Canning River

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

Copper River sonar on a bridge
April 24, 2019

Copper River sonar on a bridge

Copper 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
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.

satellite image of brown resuspended volcanic ash cloud over Kodiak Island, Alaska
April 25, 2016

Two public events are scheduled next week in the City of Kodiak, Alaska about monitoring old volcanic ash resuspended by high winds. Scientists invite the local community to learn more about the potential impacts of resuspended volcanic ash and how to assist in volcano hazards research by collecting samples of the redistributed volcanic ash and dust.

USGS
April 20, 2016

You really are what you eat. That’s the taking-off point for a new polar bear study, conducted by U.S. Geological Survey researchers with an assist from the Oregon Zoo — and published this week in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
April 5, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Geological Survey released additional evidence that western Alaska remains a hot spot for avian influenza to enter North America. 

Image: Michelle Coombs
April 4, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Michelle Coombs as the next Scientist-in-Charge of the Alaska Volcano Observatory, a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

Suzette Kimball, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey presenting award to Nicholas Mastrodicasa
March 15, 2016

To commemorate the nation's first chief geographer, the USGS established the Henry Gannett Award. This year's recipient is Nicholas Mastrodicasa, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, for his leadership in the Alaska Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative and the development of an elevation requirements study for Alaska.

Aerial view of the Chenega village site at the head of Chenega Cove.
February 1, 2016

Minutes after the 1964 magnitude-9.2 Great Alaska Earthquake began shaking, a series of tsunami waves swept through the village of Chenega in Prince William Sound, destroying all but two of the buildings and killing 23 of the 75 inhabitants. 

Image: USGS Scientists Engaged in Field Work on the Aleutian Islands
January 12, 2016

New evidence for frequent large tsunamis at a remote island near Dutch Harbor, Alaska provides geological data to aid tsunami hazard preparedness efforts around the Pacific Rim. 

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.