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: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

Tectonic and Metallogenic Evolution of the Yukon-Tanana Upland, Alaska

The Yukon-Tanana upland in eastern interior Alaska is a geologically complex block containing deposits of base-metal, platinum-group-element, and gold-silver-copper mineralization. It also hosts numerous mineral systems that are known or suspected to contain critical minerals.

Date published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

Petrology, Tectonic Setting, and Potential for Concentration of Rare Earth Elements (REE) and High Field Strength Elements (HFSE) in the High-K Darby and Kachauik Plutons, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

One of the geologic environments that host rare earth and other critical and strategic element deposits are alkaline intrusive rocks.

Date published: May 22, 2018
Status: Completed

Metallogeny and Tectonics of the Lake Clark and Neacola Mountains Region, South-central Alaska

Alaska hosts a well-documented belt of ore deposits that lies roughly parallel to the Alaska Range, beginning at the Alaska Peninsula in the southwest, continuing up through the Fairbanks Mining District in the north, and curving back into the Tintina Gold Belt on its eastern end. Known mineral prospects and occurrences include porphyry copper, intrusion-related gold, volcanogenic massive...

Date published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

GIS Prospectivity Analysis for Critical Minerals in Ore-Forming Systems in Alaska

Alaska is dominated by a history of tectonic events that foster mobilization and concentration of a wide variety of mineral commodities that are critical to the US economy and are vital to national defense, renewable-energy, and emerging electronics technologies.

Date published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

High Priority Species for Avian Influenza in Alaska

In early 2006, an Alaska Interagency Avian Influenza Working Group was formed to develop a ranking matrix for selecting priority species to be sampled within Alaska. Most wild bird species with populations that utilize areas of both Alaska and Asia were identified and considered in the ranking exercise. Based on scoring criteria, 28 target species were chosen for sampling. Alaska is a...

Date published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Migration and Influenza

The movement and transmission of avian influenza viruses in wild birds may differ by the migratory nature of each host species.

Date published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

Flood Frequency Studies in Alaska

 

Flood frequency statistics for streamgages and methods for estimating flood frequency statistics at ungaged sites in Alaska and conterminous basins in Canada are presented in U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5024. This report revised methods for obtaining basin characteristics and...

Contacts: Janet H Curran
Date published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

Flow Duration and Low-Flow Frequency Studies in Alaska

Flow duration and low-flow frequency statistics for streamgages and methods for estimating flow-duration and low-flow frequency statistics at ungaged sites in Alaska and conterminous basins in Canada are presented in U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report 2003-4114.

Contacts: Janet H Curran
Date published: May 10, 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...

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Banding Laboratory

The Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) is an integrated scientific program established in 1920 supporting the collection, archiving, management and dissemination of information from banded and marked birds in North America.  This information is used to monitor the status and trends of resident and migratory bird populations. Because birds are good indicators of the health of the environment, the...

Date published: April 27, 2018
Status: Active

Terrestrial Ecosystems

The USGS conducts research on trust Department of Interior migratory bird and mammal species and their habitats to inform agencies such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service in their natural resource management decisions.

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Marine Ecosystems

The USGS conducts research on marine wildlife, habitats, and processes to provide science to inform our partners as they make decisions relative to species status, resource use, and human activities.

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: 2,546
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Year Published: 2020

Geometric and material variability influences stress states relevant to coastal permafrost bluff failure

Scientific knowledge and engineering tools for predicting coastal erosion are largely confined to temperate climate zones that are dominated by non-cohesive sediments. The pattern of erosion exhibited by the ice-bonded permafrost bluffs in Arctic Alaska, however, is not well explained by these tools. Investigation of the oceanographic, thermal,...

Thomas, Matthew A.; Mota, Alejandro; Jones, Benjamin M.; Choens, R. Charles; Frederick, Jennifer M.; Bull, Diana L.

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Year Published: 2020

Does habitat partitioning by sympatric plovers affect nest survival?

The vertical structure and composition of vegetation can influence the quantity and quality of potential nesting sites for birds. Interspecific competition for high-quality nesting habitat may force some individuals into suboptimal habitat and lead to reduced reproductive success, eventually leading to changes in distribution or abundance. Large...

Overduijn, Kelly S; Handel, Colleen M.; Powell, Abby

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Year Published: 2020

Prioritizing habitats based on abundance and distribution of molting waterfowl in the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area of the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska

The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) encompasses more than 9.5 million hectares of federally managed land on the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska, where it supports a diversity of wildlife, including millions of migratory birds. Within the NPR-A, Teshekpuk Lake and the surrounding area provide important habitat for migratory...

Flint, Paul L.; Patil, Vijay; Shults, Bradley; Thompson, Sarah J.
Flint, P.L., Patil, V., Shults, B., and Thompson, S.J., 2020, Prioritizing habitats based on abundance and distribution of molting waterfowl in the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area of the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1034, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201034.

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Year Published: 2020

Ringed seal (Pusa hispida) seasonal movements, diving, and haul-out behavior in the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering Seas (2011–2017)

Continued Arctic warming and sea-ice loss will have important implications for the conservation of ringed seals, a highly ice-dependent species. A better understanding of their spatial ecology will help characterize emerging ecological trends and inform management decisions. We deployed satellite transmitters on ringed seals in the summers of 2011...

Von Duyke, Andrew L.; Douglas, David C.; Herreman, Jason K; Crawford, Justin A.

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Year Published: 2020

Individual and population fitness consequences associated with large carnivore use of residential development

Large carnivores are negotiating increasingly developed landscapes, but little is known about how such behavioral plasticity influences their demographic rates and population trends. Some investigators have suggested that the ability of carnivores to behaviorally adapt to human development will enable their persistence, and yet, others have...

Johnson, Heather E.; Lewis, David Bruce; Breck, Stewart

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Year Published: 2020

Novel insights into serodiagnosis and epidemiology of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, a newly recognized pathogen in muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus)

Muskoxen are a key species of Arctic ecosystems and are important for food security and socio-economic well-being of many Indigenous communities in the Arctic and Subarctic. Between 2009 and 2014, the bacterium Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae was isolated for the first time in this species in association with multiple mortality events in Canada and...

Mavrot, F.; Orsel, K.; Hutchins, W.; Adams, Layne G.; Beckmen, K.; Blake, J.; Checkley, S.; Davison, T.; Di Francesco, J.; Elkin, B.; Leclerc, L.; Schneider, A.; Tomaselli, M.; Kutz, S.

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Year Published: 2020

Explaining mass balance and retreat dichotomies at Taku and Lemon Creek Glaciers, Alaska

We reanalyzed mass balance records at Taku and Lemon Creek Glaciers to better understand the relative roles of hypsometry, local climate and dynamics as mass balance drivers. Over the 1946–2018 period, the cumulative mass balances diverged. Tidewater Taku Glacier advanced and gained mass at an average rate of +0.25±0.28 m w.e. a–1, contrasting...

McNeil, Christopher J.; O'Neel, Shad; Loso, Michael ; Pelto, Mauri ; Sass, Louis C.; Baker, Emily; Campbell, Seth

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Year Published: 2020

Use of genetic mark-recapture to estimate breeding site fidelity and philopatry in a threatened sea duck population, Alaska-breeding Steller’s eiders

The Steller’s eider (Polysticta stelleri) is a sea duck that breeds in Arctic tundra regions of Russia and Alaska. The Alaska-breeding population is listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act because of a perceived contraction of their breeding range in North America. Understanding demographic rates of the listed population is...

Safine, David; Lindberg, Mark S.; Martin, Kate; Talbot, Sandra L.; Swem, Ted; Pearce, John M.; Stellrecht, Neesha; Sage, Kevin; Riddle, Ann E.; Fales, Kyrstal; Hollmen, Tuula E.

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Year Published: 2020

Through thick and thin: Sexing Bristle-thighed Curlews Numenius tahitiensis using measures of bill depth

Birds often exhibit diagnostic traits that differ among individuals of the same species with regard to factors like sex, age, or breeding status. Shorebirds exhibit a wide diversity of colors, shapes, and sizes of their bills, and these traits are commonly used to determine the sex of individuals. In curlews (genus Numenius), length alone...

Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Handel, Colleen M.; Tibbitts, Lee; Gill, Robert E.

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Year Published: 2020

Tracking the migration of Pacific Golden-Plovers from nonbreeding grounds at Moorea, French Polynesia, using Pinpoint GPS-Argos tags

We used Pinpoint GPS-Argos tags to track migration of Pacific Golden-Plovers Pluvialis fulva in 2017 and 2018 from Moorea Island, at the extreme southeastern edge of the species’ winter range. Of 20 tagged birds, 13 uploaded locations during all or part of their northward migration. The birds departed in mid-April traveling a long (8,250...

Johnson, Oscar W. ; Tibbitts, Lee; Weber, Michael F. ; Bybee, David R. ; Goodwill, Roger H. ; Bruner, Andrea ; Smith, Errika J. ; Buss, Emmalee L.; Waddell, Trinity Q.A. ; Brooks, Daxton ; Smith, Carolyn ; Meyer, Jean-Yves

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Year Published: 2020

Environmental DNA: An emerging tool for understanding aquatic biodiversity

Field surveys for aquatic organisms provide critical information that is important for robust resource management. However, such surveys are expensive and labor intensive, particularly in large, remote landscapes like those that characterize much of Alaska. Traditionally, characterizing aquatic biodiversity necessitated the physical capture and...

Simmons, Trey; Menning, Damian M.; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2020

Ecology of influenza A viruses in wild birds and wetlands of Alaska

Alaska represents a globally important region for the ecology of avian-origin influenza A viruses (IAVs) given expansive wetlands in this region which serve as habitat for numerous hosts of IAVs that disperse among four continents during the annual cycle. Extensive sampling of wild birds for IAVs in Alaska since 1991 has greatly extended...

Ramey, Andrew M.; Reeves, Andrew B.

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
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

...
USGS researcher Erich Peitzsch holds a tree cross section to look for irregular rings.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

USGS researcher Erich Peitzsch holds a tree cross section to look for irregular rings.

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.

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.

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.

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: 252
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.

On top of North America!
July 23, 2015

A team of four climbers has recently returned from the highest point in North America with new survey data to determine a more precise summit height of Mount McKinley. It is anticipated the new elevation finding will be announced in late August.

Image: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Vessel Seen Through Bird Flock
July 16, 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey today released the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database — a massive online resource compiling the results of 40 years of surveys by biologists from the United States, Canada, Japan and Russia. The database documents the abundance and distribution of 160 seabird and 41 marine mammal species over a 10 million-square-mile region of the North Pacific.

Image: Long-Range Radar Station and Landfill
July 1, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In a new study published today, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey found that the remote northern Alaska coast has some of the highest shoreline erosion rates in the world. Analyzing over half a century of shoreline change data, scientists found the pattern is extremely variable with most of the coast retreating at rates of more than 1 meter a year.

Polar Bear Ecoregions: In the Seasonal Ice Ecoregion
June 30, 2015

Greenhouse gas emissions remain the primary threat to the preservation of polar bear populations worldwide. This conclusion holds true under both a reduced greenhouse gas emission scenario that stabilizes climate warming and another scenario where emissions and warming continue at the current pace, according to updated U.S. Geological Survey research models.

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.