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 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: 169
Date published: January 10, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Research Vessel Alaskan Gyre

The R/V Alaskan Gyre is a 50-foot fiberglass seiner that has been converted into a versatile research vessel to provide USGS scientists and collaborators with access to remote marine areas of Alaska and serve as a mobile laboratory.  The vessel was built by Ledford Marine of Marysville, Washington in 1989 and is named after the Alaskan Gyre, a series of wind driven currents that...

Date published: December 18, 2017
Status: Active

Polar Bear Maternal Denning

Pregnant polar bears enter maternity dens in October/November, give birth to cubs in December/January, and exit dens in March/April. Historically, most polar bears from the Southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) population constructed maternity dens on the sea ice.  Over the last three decades, as sea ice has become thinner and prone to fragmentation, there has been a landward shift in the distribution...

Date published: December 15, 2017
Status: Active

Distribution and Movements of Polar Bears

Polar bears are tied to the sea ice for nearly all of their life cycle functions. Most important of these is foraging, or access to food. Polar bears almost exclusively eat seals, and they are equally as dependent upon the sea for their nutrition as are seals, whales, and other aquatic mammals. Polar bears are not aquatic, however, and their only access to the seals is from the surface of the...

Date published: December 15, 2017
Status: Active

Polar Bear Population Dynamics

Information on the status and trends of polar bear populations are needed to inform management of polar bears under US laws and international agreements. The USGS maintains a long-term research program focused on the population dynamics of the southern Beaufort Sea polar bear population.  In addition, the USGS collaborates with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in population studies in the...

Date published: December 15, 2017
Status: Active

Health and Energetics of Polar Bears

Research in this focal area is centered on (i) collecting data on a variety of systems that help determine and mediate polar bear health and energetics, and (ii) developing monitoring and surveillance programs for detecting changes in population health over time. Additionally, this work will allow us to develop an understanding of how polar bear populations will respond to a variety of...

Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Chilkat River

Chilkat River is one of the transboundary watersheds of Southeast Alaska.

Contacts: Jeff Conaway
Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Alsek River

The Alsek River is the furthest north watershed in the transboundary study of Southeast Alaska, reaching 300 miles north of Haines Junction, Yukon Territory.

Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Super Gages and Water Quality Sampling

Super gages provide real-time data specifically designed to improve understanding of watershed processes and to address specific water-resource issues such as climate and land-use effects or hazardous substance spills.

Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Stikine River

The Stikine River near Wrangell and Petersburg is the largest watershed in the transboundary study of Southeast Alaska.

Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Taku River

Adverse water quality from a trio of historic mines in the Tulsequah River watershed, a tributary of the Taku River, have caused concern in local communities including Juneau, Alaska, and Atlin, British Columbia

Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Salmon River

The Salmon River, located near Hyder, Alaska, and Stewart, British Columbia, is the smallest watershed in the transboundary study of Southeast Alaska.

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: 2,607
Publication Thumbnail
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.

Publication Thumbnail
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

Publication Thumbnail
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.

Publication Thumbnail
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.

Publication Thumbnail
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

Publication Thumbnail
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.

Publication Thumbnail
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

Publication Thumbnail
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.

Publication Thumbnail
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.

Publication Thumbnail
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

Publication Thumbnail
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.

Publication Thumbnail
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: 983
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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Men and women sitting in a room with tables and chairs listening to a woman talk, she's pointing at a screen on the wall.
July 7, 2018

USGS hosts community outreach event on Barter Island

USGS oceanographer Li Erikson speaks at a community outreach event on Barter Island, Alaska, to present results from earlier USGS studies and to discuss ongoing USGS research.

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.

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 251
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.

USGS science for a changing world logo
April 30, 2014

The coastal geology of Simeonof Island, the southeastern-most island in the Shumagin archipelago of the Aleutian Islands, suggests the region has not experienced a great megathrust earthquake in at least the past 3,400 years.

US Topo map of the Cass, West Virginia quadrangle, March 2014.
April 24, 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. Improvements to symbol definitions (color, line thickness, line symbols, area fills), layer order, and annotation fonts are additional features of this supplemental release.

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.