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: 174
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
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
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.

Date published: April 11, 2018
Status: Completed

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
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.

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...

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.

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 ASC Shorebird Research...

Contacts: David Douglas
Date published: March 1, 2018
Status: Active

Vegetation Phenology - Habitat Dynamics

Vegetation Phenology

Contacts: David Douglas
Date published: March 1, 2018
Status: Active

Sea Ice - Habitat Dynamics

Sea Ice Present, Future and Ice Loss and Wildlife

Contacts: David Douglas
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...

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

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: 2,679
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Year Published: 2020

Coastal permafrost erosion

Highlights• Since the early 2000s, erosion of permafrost coasts in the Arctic has increased at 13 of 14 sites with observational data that extend back to ca. 1960 and ca. 1980, coinciding with warming temperatures, sea ice reduction, and permafrost thaw.• Permafrost coasts along the US and Canadian Beaufort Sea experienced the largest increase in...

Jones, Benjamin M.; Irrgang, Anna M; Farquharson, Louise M.; Lantuit, Hugues; Whalen, Dustin; Ogorodov, Stanislav; Grigoriev, Mikhail; Tweedie, Craig E.; Gibbs, Ann E.; Strzelecki, Matt C; Baranskaya, Alisa; Belova, Nataliya; Sinitsyn, Anatoly; Kroon, Art; Maslakov, Alexey; Vieira, Gonçalo; Grosse, Guido; Overduin, Paul; Nitze, Ingmar; Maio, Christopher V.; Overbeck, Jacquelyn R.; Bendixen, Mette; Zagórski, Piotr; Romanovsky, Vladimir

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Year Published: 2020

Changing storm conditions in response to projected 21st century climate change and the potential impact on an arctic barrier island–lagoon system—A pilot study for Arey Island and Lagoon, eastern Arctic Alaska

Executive SummaryArey Lagoon, located in eastern Arctic Alaska, supports a highly productive ecosystem, where soft substrate and coastal wet sedge fringing the shores are feeding grounds and nurseries for a variety of marine fish and waterfowl. The lagoon is partially protected from the direct onslaught of Arctic Ocean waves by a barrier island...

Erikson, Li H.; Gibbs, Ann E.; Richmond, Bruce M.; Storlazzi, Curt D.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Ohman, Karin
Erikson, L.H., Gibbs, A.E., Richmond, B.M., Storlazzi, C.D., Jones, B.M., and Ohman, K.A., 2020, Changing storm conditions in response to projected 21st century climate change and the potential impact on an arctic barrier island–lagoon system—A pilot study for Arey Island and Lagoon, eastern Arctic Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1142, 68, p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201142.

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Year Published: 2020

Effects of fish populations on Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica) and Yellow-billed Loon (G. adamsii) lake occupancy and chick production in northern Alaska

Predator populations are vulnerable to changes in prey distribution or availability. With warming temperatures, lake ecosystems in the Arctic are predicted to change in terms of hydrologic flow, water levels, and connectivity with other lakes. We surveyed lakes in northern Alaska to understand how shifts in the distribution or availability of fish...

Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Wright, Kenneth G.; Uher-Koch, Hannah R.; Schmutz, Joel A.

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Year Published: 2020

Alaska and Landsat

Alaska’s landscapes are changing at a more rapid rate than those of the lower 48. Its large size makes the collection of aerial surveys—a biannual occurrence for the conterminous United States—cost-prohibitive. That means the Landsat series of land imaging satellites offer the only publicly available, up-to-date imagery of land conditions for...

U.S. Geological Survey, 2020, Alaska and Landsat: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2020–3068, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20203068.

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Year Published: 2020

Permafrost mapping with electrical resistivity tomography in two wetland systems north of the Tanana River, Interior Alaska

Surface-based 2D electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) surveys were used to characterize permafrost distribution at wetland sites on the alluvial plain north of the Tanana River, 20 km southwest of Fairbanks, Alaska, in June and September 2014. The sites were part of an ecologically-sensitive research area characterizing biogeochemical response...

Conaway, Christopher H.; Johnson, Cordell; Lorenson, Thomas; Turetsky, Merritt R.; Euskirchen, Eugénie S.; Waldrop, Mark; Swarzenski, Peter W.

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Year Published: 2020

2017 Volcanic activity in Alaska—Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory

The Alaska Volcano Observatory responded to eruptions, significant and minor volcanic unrest, and seismic events at 16 volcanic centers in Alaska during 2017. The most notable volcanic activity consisted of a major eruption at Bogoslof Island, continuing intermittent dome growth and ash eruptions from Mount Cleveland, the end of the Pavlof Volcano...

Dixon, James P.; Cameron, Cheryl E.; Iezzi, Alexandra M.; Power, John A.; Wallace, Kristi L.; Waythomas, Christopher F.
Dixon, J.P., Cameron, C.E., Iezzi, A.M., Power, J.A., Wallace, K., and Waythomas, C.F., 2020, 2017 Volcanic activity in Alaska—Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5102, 61 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205102.

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Year Published: 2020

2016 Volcanic activity in Alaska—Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory

The Alaska Volcano Observatory responded to eruptions, volcanic unrest or suspected unrest, and seismic events at 15 volcanic centers in Alaska during 2016. The most notable volcanic activity consisted of eruptions at Pavlof and Bogoslof volcanoes. Both eruptions produced significant ash clouds that affected regional air travel. Mount Cleveland...

Cameron, Cheryl E.; Dixon, James P.; Waythomas, Christopher F.; Iezzi, Alexandra M.; Wallace, Kristi L.; McGimsey, Robert G.; Bull, Katharine F.
Cameron, C.E., Dixon, J.P., Waythomas, C.F., Iezzi, A.M., Wallace, K.L., McGimsey, R.G., and Bull, K.F., 2020, 2016 Volcanic activity in Alaska—Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5125, 63 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205125.

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Year Published: 2020

Cretaceous to Oligocene magmatic and tectonic evolution of the western Alaska Range: insights from U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology

New U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar ages integrated with geologic mapping and observations across the western Alaska Range constrain the distribution and tectonic setting of Cretaceous to Oligocene magmatism along an evolving accretionary plate margin in south-central Alaska. These rocks were emplaced across basement domains that include Neoproterozoic to...

Jones, James V.; Todd, Erin; Box, Stephen E.; Haeussler, Peter; Holm-Denoma, Christopher S.; Karl, Susan M.; Graham, Garth E.; Bradley, Dwight C.; Kylander-Clark, Andrew R.C.; Friedman, Richard M.; Layer, Paul W.

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Year Published: 2020

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

This chapter comprises the following sections: names, taxonomy, subspecies and distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, movements and home range, activity patterns, feeding ecology, reproduction and growth, behavior, parasites and diseases, status in the wild, and status in captivity.

Rode, Karyn D.; Obbard, Martyn E.; Belikov, Stanislav; Derocher, Andrew E.; Durner, George M.; Thiemann, Gregory; Tryland, Morten; Letcher, Robert J.; Meyersen, Randi; Sonne, Christian; Jenssen, Bjorn; Dietz, Rune; Vongraven, Dag

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Year Published: 2020

How Is climate change affecting polar bears and giant pandas?

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the primary cause of climate change and an estimated increase of 3.7 to 4.8 °C is predicted by the year 2100 if emissions continue at current levels. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) provide an interesting comparison study of the impact of climate change on bear...

Songer, Melissa; Atwood, Todd C.; Douglas, David C.; Huang, Qiongyu; Li, Renqiang; Pilfold, Nicholas; Xu, Ming; Durner, George M.

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Year Published: 2020

Seabird synthesis

Overall, the status of seabirds was fair to good in the WGOA in 2020, with limited data available from Middleton Island, Cook Inlet, and the Kodiak Archipelago (Figure 63). Colony attendance remains low in some populations compared to historic levels, and some colonies were newly abandoned. However, when birds did arrive to breed, reproductive...

Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Burgess, Hillary K.; Corcoran, Robin; Hatch, Scott; Jones, Tim; Lindsey, Jackie; Marsteller, Caitlin Elizabeth; Piatt, John F.; Schoen, Sarah K.

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Year Published: 2020

Exploring overlap of feather molting and migration in Tundra Swans using δ2H analysis

Determining the processes that shape the relative timing of energetically-costly events in the annual cycle of migrating birds is important to our understanding of avian phenology and ecology. We paired satellite tracking and hydrogen stable isotope analysis (δ2H) to examine the relative timing of two such events – migration and feather molting –...

Wolf, Nathan; Smeltz, T. Scott; Welker, Jeffrey; Rogers, Matthew; Ely, Craig 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: 976
Tanana River at Big Delta bridge
October 3, 2018

Tanana River at Big Delta bridge

Tanana River at Big Delta 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.

...
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

...
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 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.

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.

Knik River sonar on a bridge
August 15, 2018

Knik River sonar on a bridge

Knik River sonar on a bridge

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.

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 255
Illustration showing migratory bird paths across the Pacific
March 31, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In a new study published today, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service harnessed a new type of DNA technology to investigate avian influenza viruses in Alaska.

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. 

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.