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 fish weir on the Pilgrim River to prevent fish from going downstream except when controlled by a gate
Date Published: April 17, 2018
Status: Active

Sockeye Salmon Migrating at the Northern Edge of Their Distribution

The physiological challenge for anadromous fish to migrate upriver to spawn and complete their life cycle is influenced by river temperature.

Contacts: Michael P Carey, Ph.D., Stephen D McCormick, Amy Regish, Christian E Zimmerman, Ph.D., Kevin D. Keith, Merlyn Schelske, Charlie Lean
A lot of small fish from a fyke net set near Kaktovik, AK.  Biologists sort through them.
Date Published: April 16, 2018
Status: Active

Nearshore Fish Surveys in the Beaufort Sea

Nearshore systems provide habitat to a unique community of marine and diadromous (lives in both fresh and saltwater) fish and support high fish abundance.

Hyperspectral camera measures output from calibration lamp
Date Published: April 11, 2018
Status: Active

Development and Validation of Hyperspectral Imager for Field and Lab Scanning

The Mineral Resources Program has advanced methods of imaging spectroscopy (hyperspectral remote sensing) that are now used routinely by the earth science and remote sensing communities for mineral mapping, soil quality mapping, hazard mitigation, and other terrestrial and planetary applications. The USGS is highly qualified to advance this technology based on its world class expertise in...

Contacts: Raymond Kokaly
Biologist transferring a muscle biopsy from the sampler to the vial
Date Published: April 3, 2018
Status: Active

Assessing heat stress in migrating Yukon River Chinook Salmon

We will examine evidence of heat stress in Yukon River Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) using heat shock proteins and gene expression.

Darby Mountain outcrop of quartz monzonite towards the contact between the pluton and Paleozoic marbles
Date Published: March 13, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Technical Data Unit - Field Records Archives

This project is designed to collect, inventory, preserve, and make available the records of USGS geologic and minerals work in Alaska. Materials are organized in two broad categories of records: (1) Project History files, which contain field notes, maps, and fossil reports; and (2) Geologic Subject files, containing unpublished materials, correspondence, and the Economic Minerals files. Access...

USGS Alaska Science Center sign
Date Published: March 2, 2018
Status: Active

Media/Outreach at the Alaska Science Center

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

Ice bergs in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska
Date Published: March 2, 2018
Status: Active

Wind - Habitat Dynamics

Several species of shorebird that nest in the Arctic make remarkable non-stop trans-oceanic migrations to non-breeding areas in the southern hemisphere. Scientists at the USGS Alaska Science Center have discovered many fascinating and previously unknown details about these long-distance migrations by instrumenting individual birds with Argos satellite transmitters (see...

Contacts: David Douglas
Three caribou from the Porcupine Herd standing on the tundra
Date Published: March 1, 2018
Status: Active

Vegetation Phenology - Habitat Dynamics

Vegetation Phenology

Contacts: David Douglas
Open water, sea ice, and pressure ridges in the Beaufort Sea
Date Published: March 1, 2018
Status: Active

Sea Ice - Habitat Dynamics

Sea Ice Present, Future and Ice Loss and Wildlife

Contacts: David Douglas
Spawing sockeye salmon in a Matanuska River side channel, Alaska
Date Published: February 27, 2018
Status: Active

Fish and Aquatic Ecology

Fish and aquatic habitats in Alaska support important commercial, sport, and subsistence fisheries and provide forage fish that support wildlife populations.  The USGS Alaska Science Center conducts interdisciplinary research to inform local, state, federal, and international policy makers regarding conservation of fish, aquatic species, and their habitats.  We work collaboratively with...

A stream flowing from a small lake on the Arctic Coastal Plain
Date Published: January 19, 2018
Status: Active

Research Conducted in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Coastal Plain (1002 Area)

Selected Bibliography of Research Involving USGS and Conducted in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Coastal Plain (1002 Area)

Compiled as of 12/17/2018

Snow Goose near the Colville River, northern Alaska
Date Published: January 19, 2018
Status: Active

Research Conducted in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPRA)

Selected Bibliography of Research Involving USGS and Conducted in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A)

Compiled as of 12/17/2018

Filter Total Items: 2,329
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Year Published: 2018

Climate Change in Port Heiden, Alaska - Strategies for Community Health

There are two components to this document. The first component is the scope of described environmental change and its impacts in Port Heiden Alaska. The second component is a list of priorities to be addressed that will help Port Heiden achieve its vision for the future. Each priority area incorporates local knowledge with available climate...

Lujan, Erica; Brubaker, Mike; Warren, John; Christensen, Jaclyn; Anderson, Scott; O'Domin, Melissa; Littell, Jeremy S.; Buzard, Richard M.; Overbeck, Jacquelyn R.; Holen, Davin; Flensburg, Sue; Powers, Elizabeth

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Year Published: 2018

Interisland genetic structure of two endangered Hawaiian waterbirds: The Hawaiian Coot and Hawaiian Gallinule

Most of Hawaii's endemic avifauna are species of conservation concern. Some of Hawaii's endangered waterbirds, however, have increased in number as a result of intensive management of wetlands. To inform these conservation efforts, we examined interisland genetic structure and gene flow within 2 Hawaiian endemic waterbirds, the Hawaiian Coot (...

Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Wilson, Robert E.; Underwood, Jared G.
Sonsthagen, S.A., Wilson, R.E., and Underwood, J.G., 2018, Interisland genetic structure of two endangered Hawaiian waterbirds: The Hawaiian Coot and Hawaiian Gallinule, The Condor, 120:863-873, https://doi.org/10.1650/CONDOR-18-98.1

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Year Published: 2018

Ice wedge degradation and stabilization impacts water budgets and nutrient cycling in Arctic trough ponds

Trough ponds are ubiquitous features of Arctic landscapes and an important component of freshwater aquatic ecosystems. Permafrost thaw causes ground subsidence, creating depressions that gather water, creating ponds. Permafrost thaw also releases solutes and nutrients, which may fertilize these newly formed ponds. We measured water budget elements...

Koch, Joshua C.; Jorgenson, M. Torre; Wickland, Kimberly P.; Kanevskiy, Mikhail Z.; Striegl, Robert G.
Koch, J.C., Jorgenson, M.T., Wickland, K.P., Kanevskiy, M., and Striegl, R.G., 2018, Ice wedge degradation and stabilization impacts water budgets and nutrient cycling in Arctic trough ponds, Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences, 123(8), 2604-2616.

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Year Published: 2018

Drought and fire in the western USA: Is climate attribution enough?

Purpose of ReviewI sought to review the contributions of recent literature and prior foundational papers to our understanding of drought and fire. In this review, I summarize recent literature on drought and fire in the western USA and discuss research directions that may increase the utility of that body of work for twenty-first century...

Littell, Jeremy S.

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Year Published: 2018

Downscaling of climate model output for Alaskan stakeholders

The paper summarizes an end-to-end activity connecting the global climate modeling enterprise with users of climate information in Alaska. The effort included retrieval of the requisite observational datasets and model output, a model evaluation and selection procedure, the actual downscaling by the delta method with its...

Walsh, John E.; Bhatt, Uma S.; Littell, Jeremy S.; Leonawicz, Matthew; Lindgren, Michael; Kurkowski, Thomas A.; Bieniek, Peter A.; Thoman, Richard; Gray, Stephen; Rupp, T. Scott

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Year Published: 2018

NDVI exhibits mixed success in predicting spatiotemporal variation in caribou summer forage quality and quantity

The satellite‐derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is commonly used by researchers and managers to represent ungulate forage conditions in landscapes across the globe, despite limited information about how it compares to empirical measurements of forage quality and quantity. The application of NDVI as a forage metric is...

Johnson, Heather E.; Gustine, David D.; Golden, Trevor S.; Adams, Layne G.; Parrett, Lincoln S.; Lenart, Elizabeth A.; Barboza, Perry S.
Johnson, H.E., Gustine, D.D., Golden, T.S., Adams, L.G., Parrett, L.S., Lenart, E.A., and Barboza, P.S., 2018, NDVI exhibits mixed success in predicting spatiotemporal variation in caribou summer forage quality and quantity: Ecosphere, vol. 9, no. 10, p. e02461. doi: 10.1002/ecs2.2461

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Year Published: 2018

Inventory of lowland-breeding birds on the Alaska Peninsula

We conducted the first systematic inventory of birds in the lowlands (areas ≤100 m above sea level) of the Alaska Peninsula during summers of 2004–2007 to determine their breeding distributions and habitat associations in this remote region. Using a stratified random survey design, we allocated sample plots by elevation and land cover with a...

Savage, Susan E.; Tibbitts, Lee; Sesser, Kristin; Kaler, Robb S.A.

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Year Published: 2018

Museum metabarcoding: a novel method revealing gut helminth communities of small mammals across space and time

Natural history collections spanning multiple decades provide fundamental historical baselines to measure and understand changing biodiversity. New technologies such as next generation DNA sequencing (NGS) have considerably increased the potential of museum specimens to address significant questions regarding the impact of environmental changes on...

Greiman, Stephen E.; Cook, Joseph A.; Tkach, Vasyl V.; Hoberg, Eric P.; Menning, Damian M.; Hope, Andrew G.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Talbot, Sandra L.
Greiman, S.E., Cook, J.A., Tkachc, V.V., Hobergb, E.P, Menning, D.M., Hope A.G., Sonsthagen, S.A., Talbot, S.L., 2018. Museum metabarcoding: a novel method revealing gut helminth communities of small mammals across space and time. International Journal for Parasitology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2018.08.001

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Year Published: 2018

Fuelling conditions at staging sites can mitigate Arctic warming effects in a migratory bird

Under climate warming, migratory birds should align reproduction dates with advancing plant and arthropod phenology. To arrive on the breeding grounds earlier, migrants may speed up spring migration by curtailing the time spent en route, possibly at the cost of decreased survival rates. Based on a decades-long series of observations along an...

Rakhimberdiev, Eldar; Duijns, Sjoerd; Karagicheva, Julia; Camphuysen, Cornelis J.; Dekinga, Anne; Dekker, Rob; Gavrilov, Anatoly; ten Horn, Job; Jukema, Joop; Saveliev, Anatoly; Soloviev, Mikhail; Tibbitts, Lee; van Gils, Jan A.; Piersma, Theunis; Castricum, VRS
Rakhimberdiev, Eldar, Duijns, S., Karagicheva, J., Camphuysen, C.J., Dekinga, A., Dekker, R., Gavrilov, A., ten Horn, J., Jukema, J., Saveliev, A., Soloviev, M., Tibbitts, T.L., van Gils, J.A., Piersma, T., van Loon, A., Wijker, A., Keijl, G., Levering, H., Jan V., Heemskerk, L., Knijnsberg, L., van Roomen, M., Ruiters, P., Admiraal, P., Veldt, P., Reijnders, R., Beentjes, W., VRS Castricum., 2018, Fuelling conditions at staging sites can mitigate Arctic warming effects in a migratory bird., Nature Communications, 9(1): 4263, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-06673-5

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Year Published: 2018

Trends and traditions: Overview and synthesis

This paper provides an overview by the editors of a collection of 25 papers for the Studies of Western Birds, to be published in a single volume by Western Field Ornithologists. The title of the volume is: "Trends and traditions: Avifaunal change in western North America."

Shuford, W David; Gill, Robert E.; Handel, Colleen M.

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Year Published: 2018

A decade of remotely sensed observations highlight complex processes linked to coastal permafrost bluff erosion in the Arctic

Eroding permafrost coasts are indicators and integrators of changes in the Arctic System as they are susceptible to the combined effects of declining sea ice extent, increases in open water duration, more frequent and impactful storms, sea-level rise, and warming permafrost. However, few observation sites in the Arctic have yet to link decadal-...

Jones, Benjamin M.; Farquharson, Louise M.; Baughman, Carson; Buzard, Richard M.; Arp, Christopher D.; Grosse, Guido; Bull, Diana L.; Günther, Frank; Nitze, Ingmar; Urban, Frank; Kasper, Jeremy L.; Frederick, Jennifer M.; Thomas, Matthew A.; Jones, Craig; Mota, Alejandro; Dallimore, Scott; Tweedie, Craig E.; Maio, Christopher V.; Mann, Daniel H.; Richmond, Bruce M.; Gibbs, Ann E.; Xiao, Ming; Sachs, Torsten; Iwahana, Go; Kanevskiy, Mikhail Z.; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.
Benjamin M. Jones et al 2018 Environ. Res. Lett. in press https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aae471

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Year Published: 2018

Unusual foraging observations associated with seabird die-offs in Alaska

We report the first documentation of off-water foraging by the Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma furcata and Short-tailed Shearwater Ardenna tenuirostris, a behavior not previously documented in any member of the families Hydrobatidae or Procellariidae. Over a two-week period in September 2016, we regularly observed individuals of these species...

Robinson, Bryce; DeCicco, Lucas H.; Johnson, James A.; Ruthrauff, Daniel R.

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
Knik River sonar on a bridge
August 15, 2018

Knik River sonar on a bridge

Knik River sonar on a bridge

Baby bird on the rocks of a volcano
August 15, 2018

Glaucous-winged Gull chick on Bogoslof Island in August 2018

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

drone
August 10, 2018

Methane drone hovering above permafrost

Looking up at a drone hovering near an open-path methane analyzer mounted on a flux tower. Instruments mounted on both the towers and on the drones are measuring gases emitted from the soil.

Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
USGS on the Colville River Delta, Alaska
August 1, 2018

USGS on the Colville River Delta, Alaska

Alaska Native Science and Engineer Program (ANSEP) student and USGS intern Parker Pickett on the Colville River Delta, Alaska, helping to band molting snow geese and black brant.

Woman holding gull with satellite tag on it's back
July 31, 2018

Christina Ahlstrom and gull with satellite transmitter

Christina Ahlstrom holding a gull tagging with a satellite transmitter.

Before and after views of Kasatochi Volcano's eruption of 2008
July 30, 2018

Before and after views of Kasatochi Volcano's eruption of 2008

Before and after views of Kasatochi Volcano's eruption of 2008

A Northern Fulmar flying in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska
July 19, 2018

A Northern Fulmar flying in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska

Northern Fulmars, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and Common Murres have all been tested for and contained harmful algal bloom (HAB) toxins. Since 2015, the USGS has worked with a variety of stakeholders to develop testing methods and research projects to better understand the geographic extent, timing and impacts of algal toxins in Alaska marine ecosystems.

A Northern Fulmar on the water in Lower Cook Inlet
July 18, 2018

A Northern Fulmar on the water in Lower Cook Inlet

Northern Fulmars, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and Common Murres have all been tested for and contained harmful algal bloom (HAB) toxins. Since 2015, the USGS has worked with a variety of stakeholders to develop testing methods and research projects to better understand the geographic extent, timing and impacts of algal toxins in Alaska marine ecosystems.

A bird swimming on top of the ocean
July 18, 2018

A Northern Fulmar on the water offshore of Anchor Point, Cook Inlet

A Northern Fulmar on the water offshore of Anchor Point, Cook Inlet on July 18, 2018.

Satellite differences in imagery.
July 8, 2018

The Progress of Landsat Sensor Technology

Landsat sensor technology has come a long way since the days of the Return Beam Vidicon cameras on the first three Landsat satellites. Known as the RBV, it was originally intended to be the satellites’ primary sensor. But the Multispectral Scanner, or MSS, became the more stable and superior instrument.

A man stands smiling on a high coastal bluff near solar panels and a pole supported by guy wires, with a camera mounted on top.
July 8, 2018

Video camera installation, Barter Island

USGS oceanographer Shawn Harrison poses in front of the USGS video camera installation atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska.

A coastal cliff is covered in grasses and some snow, and chunks of the cliff are beginning to crack and fall into the ocean.
July 7, 2018

Camera set-up on Barter Island coastal bluffs

For a short study period, two video cameras overlooked the coast from atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska. The purpose was to observe and quantify coastal processes such as wave run-up, development of rip channels, bluff erosion, and movement of sandbars and ice floes. The cameras and the pole they're mounted to can be seen atop the bluff.

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 244
Landcover map (left) and pedestrian evacuation time estimate map (right) Ocean Shores, Washington.
September 16, 2014

Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey have developed a new mapping tool, the Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst, for use by researchers and emergency managers to estimate how long it would take for someone to travel on foot out of a tsunami-hazard zone.

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
September 8, 2014

The Pacific walrus population roughly halved between 1981 and 1999, the last year for which demographic data are available. A recent study by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey quantifies this historic population decline.

USGS
August 19, 2014

As of Wednesday afternoon, August 13, all power issues were resolved and the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory resumed monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes.

USGS
July 24, 2014

Alaska — Due to climate change, some communities in rural Alaska and the Yukon Territory of Canada may face a future with fewer caribou according to new research published by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in the recent issue of PLoS ONE.

USGS
July 9, 2014

Monitoring wildlife in the Arctic is difficult. Study areas are cold, barren and often inaccessible. For decades scientists have struggled to study animals, like polar bears, which live in these remote areas. Now researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey have begun testing a new, yet counterintuitive solution – rather then get close to the animals, monitor them from afar. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
July 3, 2014

As part of a continuing earthquake hazard study in the Seattle urban area, the U. S. Geological Survey will be conducting a series of seismic-reflection surveys starting July 10 on Mercer Island and the city of Seattle, Washington. The studies will conclude on or around July 19.

USGS science for a changing world logo
July 3, 2014

Starting on July 5 (weather permitting), U.S. Geological Survey scientists will conduct a high-resolution airborne survey over the next 30 days to study the distribution of minerals exposed at the surface in various parts of Alaska.

USGS science for a changing world logo
July 3, 2014

Starting on July 5 (weather permitting), U.S. Geological Survey scientists will conduct a high-resolution airborne survey over the next 30 days to study the distribution of minerals exposed at the surface in various parts of Alaska.

USGS
June 6, 2014

The first "point of view" video from a polar bear on Arctic sea ice has just become available courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
May 28, 2014

The U.S. Geological Survey is reducing its footprint on the Alaska Pacific University campus by closing the Map Store @ USGS to lower rent costs. The store will remain open through Oct. 31, 2014.

2014 US Topo map of the Keedysville, Maryland area.
May 22, 2014

US Topo maps now have a crisper, cleaner design - enhancing readability of maps for online and printed use. Map symbols are easier to read over the digital aerial photograph layer whether the imagery is turned on or off.

Lidar image showing the upper parts of the landslide that occurred in northwest Washington on March 22, 2014.
May 14, 2014

Want to know how elevation will benefit your state? The USGS National Geospatial Program is advancing the 3D Elevation Program, known as 3DEP, in response to the growing need for high-quality three-dimensional representations of the Nation’s natural and constructed features.

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.