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
A Tufted Puffin swimming in the sea in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska
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...

Photo of Bird Bands in a Variety of Sizes and Types
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...

Mother and young caribou on Yukon-Alaska border
Date Published: April 27, 2018
Status: Active

Terrestrial Wildlife and Habitats

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.

The Alaska Science Center focuses its research on a wide range of species important to the Department.

A satellite tagged Pacific walrus on a piece of sea ice
Date Published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Marine Wildlife and Habitats

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.

Image shows a road split due to earthquake damage
Date Published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Hazards in Alaska

A major goal of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is to reduce the vulnerability of the people and areas most at risk from natural hazards. Working with partners throughout all sectors of society, the USGS provides information, products, and knowledge to help build more resilient communities. This site provides important links to a number of hazard related internet sites that provide important...

Releasing ninespine stickleback into a fishless pond
Date Published: April 25, 2018
Status: Active

Arctic Lake Food Webs

From 2011 to 2013 we investigated freshwater food webs of Arctic Coastal Plain lakes in Alaska to improve our understanding how Arctic freshwater food webs may respond to landscape change the warmer, drier future.

Pacific sand lance in a sieve from a purse seine in Prince William Sound
Date Published: April 25, 2018
Status: Active

Condition of Forage Fish in Prince William Sound During the Marine Heatwave

Changes in the body condition of a key forage fish species, Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes personatus), are examined to understand how energy transfer to predators may have been disrupted during the recent marine heatwave in the North Pacific (late 2013 to mid 2016).

Benthic invertebrates captured in a bottom trawl
Date Published: April 24, 2018
Status: Active

Ecosystem Shifts in Arctic Seas

In addition to the direct effects of sea ice loss on walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) that use ice as a platform, the decline of Arctic sea ice is predicted to promote a fundamental ecosystem shift from benthic animals that forage on the sea floor to pelagic animals that forage near the sea surface. 

A cross-section of a lake trout otolith (ear bone) under the microscope
Date Published: April 24, 2018
Status: Active

Lake Trout Biochronologies as Long-term Climate and Productivity Indicators in Alaska Lake Ecosystems

High latitude ecosystems are among the most vulnerable to long-term climate change, yet continuous, multidecadal indicators by which to gauge effects on biology are scarce, especially in freshwater environments.

Contacts: Vanessa von Biela, Ph.D., Christian E Zimmerman, Ph.D., Bryan Black, Randy J. Brown, Dan Young
Biologist removing the ear bones from a fish on a table on a boat in Southeast Alaska
Date Published: April 19, 2018
Status: Active

Primary Production Sources and Bottom-up Limitations in Nearshore Ecosystems

Kelp forests are among the world’s most productive habitats, but recent evidence suggests that production is highly variable.

Contacts: James L Bodkin, Christian E Zimmerman, Ph.D., David Douglas, Gordon Kruse, Franz Mueter
Scientist walking up the Akilik River with a minnow trap to catch fish
Date Published: April 18, 2018
Status: Active

Hydro-Ecology of Arctic Thawing (HEAT): Ecology

Permafrost thaw is leading to a myriad of changes in physical and chemical conditions throughout the Arctic.

Elodea spp. on a rake in Sand Lake in Anchorage, Alaska
Date Published: April 18, 2018
Status: Active

Effect of Elodea spp. on Fish Performance Mediated Through Food Web Interactions

The potential for invasive species introductions in Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems is growing as climate change manifests and human activity increases in high latitudes.

Contacts: Michael P Carey, Ph.D., Suresh Andrew Sethi, Ph.D., Christian E Zimmerman, Ph.D., Dan Young, Gordon Reeves, Theresa Tanner
Filter Total Items: 2,329
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Year Published: 2019

Phenotypic plasticity and climate change: Can polar bears respond to longer Arctic summers with an adaptive fast?

Plasticity in the physiological and behavioural responses of animals to prolonged food shortages may determine the persistence of species under climate warming. This is particularly applicable for species that can “adaptively fast” by conserving protein to protect organ function while catabolizing endogenous tissues. Some Ursids, including polar...

Whiteman, John P.; Harlow, Henry J.; Durner, George M.; Regher, Eric V; Amstrup, Steven C.; Ben-David, Merav

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Year Published: 2019

Monitoring and conservation of Japanese Murrelets and related seabirds in Japan

Of the 24 species in the Auk (or Alcidae) family of seabirds living in the northern hemisphere, 22 reside within the North Pacific Ocean. These “penguins of the north” use their small wings to “fly” underwater, some to more than 200 meters, where they catch and eat a variety of small fish and invertebrates. In terms of sheer numbers...

Piatt, John F.; Nelson, S Kim; Carter, Harry R

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Year Published: 2019

Size, growth, and density data for shallow-water sea urchins from Mexico to the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, 1956–2016

Size, growth, and density have been studied for North American Pacific coast sea urchins Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, S. droebachiensis, S. polyacanthus, Mesocentrotus (Strongylocentrotus) franciscanus, Lytechinus pictus, Centrostephanus coronatus, and Arbacia stellata by various workers at diverse sites and for varying lengths of time from...

Ebert, Thomas A; Barr, Louis; Bodkin, James L.; Burcham, Dirk; Bureau, Dominique; Carson, Henry; Caruso, Nancy; Caselle, Jennifer E.; Claisse, Jeremy; Clemente, Sabrina; Davis, Kathryn; Detwiler, Paul; Dixon, John; Duggins, David; Engle, John; Estes, James; Groth, Scott; Grupe, Benjamin; Halmay, Peter; Hebert, Kyle; Hernandez, Jose Carlos; Jurgens, Laura J.; Kalvass, Peter; Kenner, Michael C.; Konar, Brenda; Kushner, David; Lee, Lynn; Leighton, David; Montano-Moctezuma, Gabriela; Munk, Eric; Olguin Espinoza, Irma; Weitzman, Ben

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Year Published: 2019

U-Pb and Lu-Hf isotope, age, and trace-element data from zircons at four sites in the western Alaska Range and Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska

This Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) Raw Data File presents U-Pb geochronology and Lu-Hf isotopic compositions, age-dating results, and additional trace-elemental composition of zircons from four granitoids sampled during investigations by DGGS geologists in the western Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. The purpose...

Todd, Erin; Kylander-Clark, Andrew R. C. ; Wypych, Alicja; Twelker, Evan; Sicard, Karri R.
Todd, Erin, Kylander-Clark, Andrew, Wypych, Alicja, Twelker, Evan, and Sicard, K.R., 2017, U-Pb and Lu-Hf isotope, age, and trace-element data from zircons at four sites in the western Alaska Range and Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Raw Data File 2017-2, 7 p. http://doi.org/10.14509/29717

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Year Published: 2018

Population trends of birds wintering in the Central Valley of California

Since the 1970s, the Central Valley of California has seen a large investment in preservation and restoration of wetlands and riparian areas. At the same time, grasslands have been lost to vineyards, orchards, and residential development at an accelerating rate. We analyzed data from 17 Christmas Bird Count circles that were surveyed regularly...

Pandolfino, Edward R; Handel, Colleen M.

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Year Published: 2018

Non‐linear effect of sea ice: Spectacled Eider survival declines at both extremes of the ice spectrum

Understanding the relationship between environmental factors and vital rates is an important step in predicting a species’ response to environmental change. Species associated with sea ice are of particular concern because sea ice is projected to decrease rapidly in polar environments with continued levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The...

Christie, Katherine S.; Hollmen, Tuula E.; Flint, Paul L.; Douglas, David C.

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Year Published: 2018

Exposure of Alaska brown bears (Ursus arctos) to bacterial, viral, and parasitic agents varies spatiotemporally and may be influenced by age

We collected blood and serum from 155 brown bears (Ursus arctos) inhabiting five locations in Alaska during 2013–16 and tested samples for evidence of prior exposure to a suite of bacterial, viral, and parasitic agents. Antibody seroprevalence among Alaska brown bears was estimated to be 15% for Brucella spp., 10% for Francisella...

Leacock, William B.; Ramey, Andrew M.; Cleveland, Christopher A.; Hilderbrand, Grant V.; Joly, Kyle; Gustine, David D.; Mangipane, Buck; Leacock, William B.; Crupi, Anthony P.; Hill, Dolores E.; Dubey, Jitender P.; Yabsley, Michael J.

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Year Published: 2018

Survey of Arctic Alaskan wildlife for influenza A antibodies: Limited evidence for exposure of mammals

Influenza A viruses (IAVs) are maintained in wild waterbirds and have the potential to infect a broad range of species, including wild mammals. The Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska supports a diverse suite of species, including waterfowl that are common hosts of IAVs. Mammals co-occur with geese and other migratory waterbirds during the summer...

Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Spivey, Timothy J.; Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Atwood, Todd C.; Sinnett, David R.; Meixell, Brandt W.; Hupp, Jerry W.; Jiang, Kaijun; Adams, Layne G.; Gustine, David D.; Ramey, Andrew M.; Wan, Xiu-Feng

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Year Published: 2018

U-Pb geochronology and tectonic implications of a Silurian ash in the Farewell Terrane, Alaska

The Farewell terrane is an exotic continental fragment in interior Alaska that during the early Paleozoic was the site of a passive margin. We report a 238U/206Pb zircon age of 432.9±3.0 Ma from a Farewell terrane ash in Mt. McKinley quadrangle, Alaska. This age overlaps with prominent detrital zircon age maxima reported from Silurian and Devonian...

Dumoulin, Julie A.; Bradley, Dwight C.; Dumoulin, Julie A.; Bradley, Dan B.
Bradley, D.C., Dumoulin, J.A., and Bradley, D.B., 2018, U-Pb geochronology and tectonic implications of a Silurian ash in the Farewell terrane, Alaska, in Dumoulin, J.A., ed., Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, vol. 15: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1814–F, 13 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/pp1814F.

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Year Published: 2018

Energy-rich mesopelagic fishes revealed as a critical prey resource for a deep-diving predator using quantitative fatty acid signature analysis

Understanding the diet of deep-diving predators can provide essential insight to the trophic structure of the mesopelagic ecosystem. Comprehensive population-level diet estimates are exceptionally difficult to obtain for elusive marine predators due to the logistical challenges involved in observing their feeding behavior and collecting samples...

Goetsch, Chandra; Conners, Melinda G.; Budge, Suzanne M.; Mitani, Yoko; Walker, William A; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.; Simmons, Samantha E.; Reichmuth, Colleen; Costa, Daniel P.

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Year Published: 2018

Using redundant primer sets to detect multiple native Alaskan fish species from environmental DNA

Accurate and timely data regarding freshwater fish communities is important for informed decision-making by local, state, tribal, and federal land and resource managers; however, conducting traditional gear-based fish surveys can be an expensive and time-consuming process, particularly in remote areas, like those that characterize much of Alaska....

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

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Year Published: 2018

Chapter 2: Climate, disturbance, and vulnerability to vegetation change in the Northwest Forest Plan Area

Climate change is expected to alter the composition, structure, and function of forested ecosystems in the United States (Vose et al. 2012). Increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide [CO2]) and temperature, as well as altered precipitation and disturbance regimes (e.g., fire, insects, pathogens, and...

Reilly, Matthew J.; Spies, Thomas A.; Littell, Jeremy S.; Butz, Ramona J.; Kim, John 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: 987
November 30, 2018

Shaking of BP Exploration Building, M7 Nov. 30, 2018, Anchorage Quake

This video presents a visualization of how the BP Exploration Building in Anchorage, Alaska, shook during the moment magnitude (Mw) 7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake. The building was instrumented by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to obtain data to study its behavior and performance during strong shaking. Such data are useful in making decisions about

...
November 30, 2018

Shaking of Atwood Building, Mw 7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage quake

This video presents a visualization of how the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska, shook during the Mw 7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake. The building was instrumented by the U.S. Geological Survey to obtain data to study its behavior and performance during strong shaking. Such data are useful in making decisions about improving the performance of the

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View from the sky of a very small, flat island that is completely man-made with a petroleum processing plant on it.
October 31, 2018

Endicott Island, Alaska

Endicott Island, and artificial island built in 1987 by Alaska Interstate Construction and is used by BP and Hilcorp Alaska for petroleum production.

Tanana River at Big Delta bridge
October 3, 2018

Tanana River at Big Delta bridge

Tanana River at Big Delta bridge

Tanana River at Big Delta sonar and debris on a bridge
October 3, 2018

Tanana River at Big Delta sonar and debris on a bridge

Tanana River at Big Delta sonar and debris on a bridge

Taku Glacier, Alaska 2018
October 1, 2018

Satellite image of Taku Glacier in October 1, 2018

Satellite image of Taku Glacier in October 1, 2018. The Norris Glacier can be seen on the lower left hand corner and the Hole-in-the-Wall Glacier in the upper center portion of the image. Citation: McNeil, C. J., and Baker, E. H., 2019, Geodetic data for Juneau Icefield Glaciers: orthophotos, digital elevation models, and glacier boundaries (ver 1.0, August, 2019): U.S.

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A silhouette of a person on a high bluff overlooking the calm ocean at sunset.
September 8, 2018

Peace at dusk

USGS oceanographer Shawn Harrison stands on the coastal bluff of Barter Island, Alaska at sunset. Shawn and his fellow researchers are studying how the highly erosive bluff changes under the varied conditions experienced by this stretch of coastline. The knowledge gained will be used to improve computer-derived simulations of shoreline change, that in turn communities can

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View from the sky of a marsh with many sinuous channels near larger body of water, the spit of land on the right has buildings.
August 23, 2018

View of Unalakleet from the air

Unalakleet village on the low-lying barrier spit at the inlet of the Unalakleet River and Norton Sound, Alaska.

Twentymile River sonar on a bridge
August 21, 2018

Twentymile River sonar on a bridge

Twentymile River sonar on a bridge

drone crew
August 20, 2018

Scientific crew and drone operators

Scientific crew and drone operators. Left to right: Richard Kolyer (NASA), Jack McFarland (USGS), Kristen Manies (USGS), and Jonas Jonsson (NASA)

Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
Baby bird walking on the rocks of a volcano
August 15, 2018

Glaucous-winged Gull chick walking on Bogoslof Island in August 2018

A Glaucous-winged Gull on the rock floor of the Bogoslof Volcano a year after it explosively erupted.

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 244
USGS
March 18, 2015

Frozen bodies of ice cover nearly 10 percent of the state of Alaska, but the influence of glaciers on the environment, tourism, fisheries, hydropower, and other important Alaska resources is rarely discussed.

USGS
February 24, 2015

Kristin Timm, a designer with the Interior Department's Alaska Climate Science Center and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning, is among 10 designers who were recently recognized internationally for excellence in science communication.

Estimated potential for rare earth element (REE) deposits in watersheds across northern Alaska
February 23, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska. — New maps highlighting areas with potential for placer gold and five other critical mineral deposit types in the Bureau of Land Management’s Central Yukon Planning Area in central and northern Alaska are being released today. 

Three panel view of Alaska from NLCD
February 18, 2015

The latest edition of the National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD 2011) for Alaska is now publicly available.

USGS science for a changing world logo
January 20, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska Melting glaciers are not just impacting sea level, they are also affecting the flow of organic carbon to the world’s oceans, according to new research that provides the first ever global-scale estimates for the storage and release of organic carbon from glaciers.

Image: Steve Hickman Earthquake Science Center Director
January 12, 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Stephen Hickman to serve as the new director of the USGS Earthquake Science Center, headquartered in Menlo Park, California.

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
January 6, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In a new polar bear study published today, scientists from around the Arctic have shown that recent generations of polar bears are moving towards areas with more persistent year-round sea ice.

USGS
December 18, 2014

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today that Interior’s Alaska Climate Science Center is awarding more than $500,000 to universities and other partners for research to guide managers of parks, refuges and other cultural and natural resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
December 15, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A polar bear capture and release-based research program had no adverse long-term effects on feeding behavior, body condition, and reproduction, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
November 17, 2014

In a new polar bear study published today, scientists from the United States and Canada found that during the first decade of the 21st century, the number of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea experienced a sharp decline of approximately 40 percent. 

Location of study site in western Alaska and Radarsat-1 satellite images of the Hazen Bay coast during low water
September 23, 2014

Scientists examined storm flooding events in the Bering Sea region of western Alaska from 1913 to 2011 and found that the largest events occurred in autumn and were associated with high tides and strong southwest winds.

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.