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

Regions L2 Landing Page Tabs

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: 2,661
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Year Published: 2014

Polar bears exhibit genome-wide signatures of bioenergetic adaptation to life in the Arctic environment

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) face extremely cold temperatures and periods of fasting, which might result in more severe energetic challenges than those experienced by their sister species, the brown bear (U. arctos). We have examined the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes of polar and brown bears to investigate if polar bears demonstrate lineage-...

Welch, Andreanna J.; Bedoya-Reina, Oscar C.; Carretero-Paulet, Lorenzo; Miller, Webb; Rode, Karyn D.; Lindqvist, Charlotte
Welch, A. J., O. C. Bedoya-Reina, L. Carretro-Paulet, W. Miller, K. D. Rode, and C. Lindqvist. 2014. Polar bears exhibit genome-wide signatures of bioenergetic adaptation to life in the Arctic environment. Genome Biology and Evolution 6(2):433-450. doi:10.1093/gbe/evu025

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Year Published: 2014

Reconstruction of historic sea ice conditions in a sub-Arctic lagoon

Historical sea ice conditions were reconstructed for Izembek Lagoon, Bering Sea, Alaska. This lagoon is a crucial staging area during migration for numerous species of avian migrants and a major eelgrass (Zostera marina) area important to a variety of marine and terrestrial organisms, especially Pacific Flyway black brant geese (Branta bernicla...

Petrich, Chris; Tivy, Adrienne C.; Ward, David H.

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Year Published: 2014

Synthesis of nearshore recovery following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill: sea otter liver pathology and survival in Western Prince William Sound, 2001 – 2008

We examined livers and liver biopsies collected from captured sea otters in WPWS, 2001–2008, to determine whether indicators of liver health correlated with history of oil contamination from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Sea otters captured in oiled areas had a significantly higher proportion of livers with gross pathological change,...

Ballachey, Brenda E.; Monson, Daniel H.; Kloecker, Kimberly A.; Esslinger, George G.; Mohr, F.C.; Lipscomb, T.P.; Murray, M.J.; Howlin, S.
Ballachey, B.E., D.H. Monson, K.A. Kloecker, G.G. Esslinger, F.C. Mohr, T.P. Lipscomb, M.J. Murray, and S. Howlin. 2014. Synthesis of nearshore recovery following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill: Sea otter liver pathology and survival in Western Prince William Sound, 2001 – 2008, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Restoration Project Final Report (Restoration Projects 070808 and 070808A), U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska.

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Year Published: 2014

Assessing streamflow sensitivity to variations in glacier mass balance

The mountains ringing the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) receive upwards of 4–8 m yr−1 of precipitation (Simpson et al.2005; Weingartner et al. 2005; O’Neel 2012), much of which runs off into productive coastal waters. The alpine landscape is heavily glacierized, and storage and turnover of water by glaciers substantially influences the regional surface...

O'Neel, Shad; Hood, Eran; Arendt, Anthony; Sass, Louis C.
Assessing streamflow sensitivity to variations in glacier mass balance; 2014; Article; Journal; Climatic Change; O'Neel, Shad; Hood, Eran; Arendt, Anthony; Sass, Louis

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Year Published: 2014

Validation of adipose lipid content as a body condition index for polar bears

Body condition is a key indicator of individual and population health. Yet, there is little consensus as to the most appropriate condition index (CI), and most of the currently used CIs have not been thoroughly validated and are logistically challenging. Adipose samples from large datasets of capture biopsied, remote biopsied, and harvested polar...

McKinney, Melissa A.; Atwood, Todd C.; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Iverson, Sara J.; Peacock, Elizabeth L.
Validation of adipose lipid content as a body condition index for polar bears; 2014; Article; Journal; Ecology and Evolution; McKinney, Melissa A.; Atwood, Todd; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Iverson, Sara J.; Peacock, Elizabeth

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Year Published: 2014

Tsunami impact to Washington and northern Oregon from segment ruptures on the southern Cascadia subduction zone

This paper explores the size and arrival of tsunamis in Oregon and Washington from the most likely partial ruptures of the Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ) in order to determine (1) how quickly tsunami height declines away from sources, (2) evacuation time before significant inundation, and (3) extent of felt shaking that would trigger evacuation....

Priest, George R.; Zhang, Yinglong; Witter, Robert C.; Wang, Kelin; Goldfinger, Chris; Stimely, Laura
Tsunami impact to Washington and northern Oregon from segment ruptures on the southern Cascadia subduction zone; 2014; Article; Journal; Natural Hazards; Priest, George R.; Zhang, Yinglong; Witter, Robert C.; Wang, Kelin; Goldfinger, Chris; Stimely, Laura

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Year Published: 2014

Late Devonian–Mississippian(?) Zn-Pb(-Ag-Au-Ba-F) deposits and related aluminous alteration zones in the Nome Complex, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

Stratabound base-metal sulfide deposits and occurrences are present in metasedimentary rocks of the Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic Nome Complex on south-central Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Stratabound and locally stratiform deposits including Aurora Creek (Zn-Au-Ba-F), Wheeler North (Pb-Zn-Ag-Au-F), and Nelson (Zn-Pb- Cu-Ag), consist of lenses...

Slack, John F.; Till, Alison; Belkin, Harvey E.; Shanks, Wayne C.

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Year Published: 2014

Seismicity within a propagating ice shelf rift: the relationship between icequake locations and ice shelf structure

Iceberg calving is a dominant mass loss mechanism for Antarctic ice shelves, second only to basal melting. An important known process involved in calving is the initiation and propagation of through-penetrating fractures called rifts; however, the mechanisms controlling rift propagation remain poorly understood. To investigate the mechanics of ice...

Heeszel, David S.; Fricker, Helen A.; Bassis, Jeremy N.; O'Neel, Shad; Walter, Fabian
Seismicity within a propagating ice shelf rift: the relationship between icequake locations and ice shelf structure; 2014; Article; Journal; Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface; Heeszel, David S.; Fricker, Helen A.; Bassis, Jeremy N.; O'Neel, Shad; Walter, Fabian

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Year Published: 2014

Capturing migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife using camera traps

Remote photography, using camera traps, can be an effective and noninvasive tool for capturing the migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife. We deployed 14 digital cameras along a 104-kilometer longitudinal transect to record the spring migrations of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) and ptarmigan (Lagopus spp.) in the Alaskan Arctic. The cameras...

Tape, Ken D.; Gustine, David D.
Capturing migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife using camera traps; 2014; Article; Journal; BioScience; Tape, Ken D.; Gustine, David D.

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Year Published: 2014

Uncertainty and extreme events in future climate and hydrologic projections for the Pacific Northwest: providing a basis for vulnerability and core/corridor assessments

The purpose of this project was to (1) provide an internally-consistent set of downscaled projections across the Western U.S., (2) include information about projection uncertainty, and (3) assess projected changes of hydrologic extremes. These objectives were designed to address decision support needs for climate adaptation and resource management...

Littell, Jeremy S.; Mauger, Guillaume S.; Salathe, Eric P.; Hamlet, Alan F.; Lee, Se-Yeun; Stumbaugh, Matt R.; Elsner, Marketa; Norheim, Robert; Lutz, Eric R.; Mantua, Nathan J.

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Year Published: 2014

Interspecific hybridization contributes to high genetic diversity and apparent effective population size in an endemic population of mottled ducks (Anas fulvigula maculosa)

Under drift-mutation equilibrium, genetic diversity is expected to be correlated with effective population size (Ne). Changes in population size and gene flow are two important processes that can cause populations to deviate from this expected relationship. In this study, we used DNA sequences from six independent loci to examine the influence of...

Peters, Jeffrey L.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Lavretsky, Philip; Rezsutek, Michael; Johnson, William P.; McCracken, Kevin G.
Interspecific hybridization contributes to high genetic diversity and apparent effective population size in an endemic population of mottled ducks (Anas fulvigula maculosa); 2014; Article; Journal; Conservation Genetics; Peters, Jeffrey L.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Lavretsky, Philip; Rezsutek, Michael; Johnson, William P.; McCracken, Kevin G.

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Year Published: 2014

Reviving common standards in point-count surveys for broad inference across studies

We revisit the common standards recommended by Ralph et al. (1993, 1995a) for conducting point-count surveys to assess the relative abundance of landbirds breeding in North America. The standards originated from discussions among ornithologists in 1991 and were developed so that point-count survey data could be broadly compared and jointly...

Matsuoka, Steven M.; Mahon, C. Lisa; Handel, Colleen M.; Solymos, Peter; Bayne, Erin M.; Fontaine, Patricia C.; Ralph, C.J.
Matsuoka, S. M., C. L. Mahon, C. M. Handel, P. Sólymos, E. M. Bayne, P. C. Fontaine, and C. J. Ralph. 2014. Reviving common standards in point-count surveys for broad inference across studies. Condor: Ornithological Applications 116(4):599-608. doi:10.1650/CONDOR-14-108.1

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: 976
Looking upstream from mid channel of the John Wild River. Near Anaktuvuk, Alaska
April 18, 2000

John Wild River, near Anaktuvuk

Looking upstream from mid channel of the John Wild River. Near Anaktuvuk, Alaska.

A polar bear den
April 3, 2000

A polar bear den

A polar bear den

Image: Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Alaska
June 9, 1991

Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Alaska

View southeast from Overlook Cabin looking over the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. The pyroclastic and ash deposits that fill the valley remain nearly vegetation-free more than 100 years after the 1912 Novarupta-Katmai eruption.

Tule white-fronted goose in the Kahiltna Valley, Alaska, in 1984
December 31, 1984

Tule white-fronted goose in the Kahiltna Valley, Alaska, in 1984

Tule white-fronted goose in the Kahiltna Valley, Alaska, in 1984.

Remnants of a spruce forest
December 31, 1969

Remnants of a spruce forest

Remnants of a spruce forest complex following a severe wildfire in the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Wildfires are the dominant landscape-scale disturbance operating at annual time scales in Alaska, and fires play a major role in the rate and extent of vegetation growth and productivity of a site. Wildland fires typically result in the reduction of

...
Erosion along Alaska’s Arctic coastline near the village of Kaktovik
December 31, 1969

Erosion along Alaska’s Arctic coastline near the village of Kaktovik

Neal Pastick – lead author of the study – investigating erosion along Alaska’s Arctic coastline near the village of Kaktovik. Permafrost-dominated coasts of Alaska have drastically changed as the result of coastal transgression and storm-surge flooding which can result in the loss of cultural sites and damage to infrastructure.  Photo by M. Torre Jorgenson

Fish drying at a subsistence fish camp along the Yukon River
December 31, 1969

Fish drying at a subsistence fish camp along the Yukon River

Fish drying at a subsistence fish camp along the Yukon River.

Fourhorn sculpin captured near Kaktovik, Alaska
December 31, 1969

Fourhorn sculpin captured near Kaktovik, Alaska

Fourhorn sculpin (Myoxocephalus quadricornis) captured near Kaktovik, Alaska

A small yellow bird being held in a hand
December 31, 1969

Yellow Warbler in Alaska

Scientist holding an Yellow Warbler on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska.  This photo is part of the Changing Arctic Ecosystems Boreal-Arctic Transition program.

Fourhorn sculpin on a measuring board captured near Kaktovik, Alaska
December 31, 1969

Fourhorn sculpin on a measuring board captured near Kaktovik, Alaska

Fourhorn sculpin on a measuring board captured near Kaktovik, Alaska.

Fyke net set in Kaktovik Lagoon with the town of Kaktovik, Alaska in the background
December 31, 1969

Fyke net set in Kaktovik Lagoon with Kaktovik, AK in the background

Fyke net set in Kaktovik Lagoon with the town of Kaktovik, Alaska in the background

Young of year Arctic cisco
December 31, 1969

Young of year Arctic cisco

Young of year Arctic cisco (Coregonus autumnalis).

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