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: 180
Snow Goose near the Colville River, northern Alaska
Date Published: January 19, 2018
Status: Active

Broad-scale Research Conducted Across the 1002 Area and the NPR-A of Alaska

Selected Bibliography of Broad-scale Research Involving USGS and Conducted Across the 1002 Area and the NPR-A of Alaska

Compiled as of 12/17/2018

coastal vulnerability of sea-level rise map
Date Published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise

The original national coastal vulnerability index (CVI) assessment was motivated by expected accelerated sea-level rise (SLR) and the uncertainty in the response of the coastline to SLR. This research was conducted between 1999 and 2001, and is currently being updated using new data sources and methodology. This original study was part of the ...

A stream flowing from a small lake on the Arctic Coastal Plain
Date Published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Science Center Previous Seminars

The USGS Alaska Science Center has a monthly seminar series that runs from October through May.  This series highlights the multiple research programs that are taking place across all disciplines at the center.

Listed below are previous seminars given.

Contacts: Yvette Gillies
Oblique aerial photograph looking to the southwest along the southern end of Cedar Island, Virginia
Date Published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

Long-Term Coastal Change

Goals of this task include developing and improving coastal-change assessments and supporting long-term planning and decision making to ensure sustainable coastal economies, infrastructure, and ecosystems.

A view of the R/V Alaskan Gyre with a glacier in the background in Harriman Fjord in Prince William Sound, Alaska
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...

Female and two cubs polar bears on the sea ice
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...

A polar bear walks across rubble ice in the Alaska portion of the southern Beaufort Sea
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...

Polar bear appears to walk on top of rippled gray water. Just behind it are very large breaking waves below a gray-blue sky.
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...

Polar bear still hunting at a seal breathing hole
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...

Chilkat River
Date Published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Chilkat River

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

Contacts: Jeff Conaway
Alsek River with helicopter landed next to it
Date Published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Alsek River

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

Contacts: Jeff Conaway
Filter Total Items: 2,372
Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Implications of introgression for wildlife translocations: the case of North American martens

The evolutionary consequences of natural introgression provide a rare opportunity to retrospectively evaluate how the introduction of exotics or genetic rescue efforts may impact endemic faunas. Phylogeographic structure among mainland, endemic insular, and introduced North American marten (Martes americana and M. caurina) populations...

Colella, Jocelyn P.; Wilson, Robert E.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Cook, Joseph A.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Investigating lake-area dynamics across a permafrost-thaw spectrum using airborne electromagnetic surveys and remote sensing time-series data in Yukon Flats, Alaska

Lakes in boreal lowlands cycle carbon and supply an important source of freshwater for wildlife and migratory waterfowl. The abundance and distribution of these lakes are supported, in part, by permafrost distribution, which is subject to change. Relationships between permafrost thaw and lake dynamics remain poorly known in most boreal regions....

Rey, David; Walvoord, Michelle Ann; Minsley, Burke; Rover, Jennifer; Singha, Kamini

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Survival of Bristle-thighed Curlews equipped with externally mounted transmitters

Telemetry devices are widely used in avian research, but the degree to which the deployment of such devices affects the survival of study subjects is often not addressed. It is generally assumed that such effects are less pronounced in large-bodied species that conduct relatively short migrations and carry relatively light telemetry devices. We...

Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Tibbitts, Lee; Patil, Vijay P.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Global sea-level contribution from Arctic land ice: 1971 to 2017

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) (AMAP, 2017) identifies the Arctic as the largest regional source of land ice to global sea-level rise in the 2003 to 2014 period. Yet, this contextualization ignores the longer perspective from in-situ records of glacier mass balance. Here, using 18 (> 55 °N latitude) glacier and ice cap mass...

Box, Jason E.; Colgan, William T.; Wouters, Bert; Burgess, David O; O'Neel, Shad; Thomson, Laura; Mernild, Sebastian H

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Interannual snow accumulation variability on glaciers derived from repeat spatially extensive ground-penetrating radar surveys

There is significant uncertainty regarding the spatiotemporal distribution of seasonal snow on glaciers, despite being a fundamental component of glacier mass balance. To address this knowledge gap, we collected repeat, spatially extensive high-frequency ground-penetrating radar (GPR) observations on two glaciers in Alaska for five consecutive...

McGrath, Daniel J; Sass, Louis; O'Neel, Shad; McNeil, Christopher J.; Candela, Salvatore G; Baker, Emily; Marshall, Hans P.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Density‐dependent and phenological mismatch effects on growth and survival in lesser snow and Ross's goslings

Strong seasonality of high‐latitude environments imposes temporal constraints on forage availability and quality for keystone herbivores in terrestrial arctic ecosystems, including hyper‐abundant colonial geese. Changes in food quality due to intraspecific competition, or food availability relative to the breeding phenology of birds, may have...

Megan V. Ross; Ray T. Alisauskas; Douglas, David C.; Dana K. Kellett; Kiel L. Drake
Ross, M. V., R. T. Alisauskas, D. C. Douglas, D. K. Kellett, and K. L. Drake. Density-dependent and phenological mismatch effects on growth and survival in lesser snow and Ross’s goslings. J. Avian Biology. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jav.01748

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Delayed herbivory by migratory geese increases summer‐long CO2 uptake in coastal western Alaska

The advancement of spring and the differential ability of organisms to respond to changes in plant phenology may lead to ‘phenological mismatches’ as a result of climate change. One potential for considerable mismatch is between migratory birds and food availability in northern breeding ranges and these mismatches may have consequences for...

Leffler, A. Joshua; Beard, Karen H.; Kelsey, Katharine C.; Choi, Ryan T.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Welker, Jeffery M.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Changing station coverage impacts temperature trends in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Over the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB), temperatures in widely used gridded data products do not warm as much as mean temperatures from a stable set of U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) stations, located at generally lower elevations, in most months of the year. This is contrary to expectations of elevation-dependent warming, which...

McAfee, Stephanie A.; McCabe, Gregory J.; Gray, Stephen; Pederson, Gregory T.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Development of on-shore behavior among polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea: Inherited or learned?

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are experiencing rapid and substantial changes to their environment due to global climate change. Polar bears of the southern Beaufort Sea (SB) have historically spent most of the year on the sea ice. However, recent reports from Alaska indicate that the proportion of the SB subpopulation observed on-shore during late...

Lillie, K. M.; Gese, E. M.; Atwood, Todd C.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Slope failure and mass transport processes along the Queen Charlotte Fault, southeastern Alaska

The Queen Charlotte Fault defines the Pacific–North America transform plate boundary in western Canada and southeastern Alaska for c. 900 km. The entire length of the fault is submerged along a continental margin dominated by Quaternary glacial processes, yet the geomorphology along the margin has never been systematically examined due to the...

Brothers, Daniel; Andrews, Brian D.; Walton, Maureen A. L.; H. Gary Greene; J. Vaughn Barrie; Miller, Nathaniel C.; ten Brink, Uri S.; East, Amy E.; Haeussler, Peter J.; Kluesner, Jared W.; Conrad, James E.

Publication Thumbnail
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

Publication Thumbnail
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

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: 989
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.

USGS ecologists map and monitor vegetation and landscape characteristics at long-term ecological monitoring sites on the YKD
July 7, 2018

USGS ecologists map monitor vegetation and landscape characteristics

USGS ecologists map and monitor vegetation and landscape characteristics at long-term ecological monitoring sites on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, AK

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 man wearing cold-weather gear and standing on a high coastal bluff points to an instrument that is mounted on short a pole.
July 5, 2018

Installing ground-shaking detection instrument

USGS scientist Cordell Johnson points to the Raspberry Shake, a sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking. Johnson mounted the Raspberry Shake to an aluminum pole which he will then drive into the ground to bury the instrument beneath the tundra. This process will help isolate it from the wind.

A small instrument with a USGS logo sticker with wires coming out of it is in a hole in the ground.
July 5, 2018

Sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking

This device, called a Raspberry Shake, is a sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking. It is being carefully buried in this shallow hole in the tundra, to isolate it from wind.

Two people stand atop a coastal cliff where the grassy edges are beginning to fall off onto the beach below.
July 3, 2018

Barter Island coastal bluff studies

Scientists Cordell Johnson, left, and Li Erikson stand atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska, a coastal area that is experiencing very high rates of erosion.

View of muddy, eroding coastal bluffs with a visible permafrost layer and a tumbling tundra layer on top.
July 3, 2018

Eroding bluffs in Kaktovik

View looking east of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, which is located on the northern coast of Alaska.

View of muddy, eroding coastal bluffs with a visible permafrost layer and tumbling tundra on top.
July 3, 2018

Actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island

Photograph of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, located on the northern coast of Alaska.

Two birds grabbing fish out of the ocean
June 28, 2018

Black-legged Kittiwakes forage on Pacific sand lance and capelin

Black-legged Kittiwakes forage on Pacific sand lance and capelin near their colony on Gull Island, Cook Inlet on June 28, 2018. 

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 246
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.

USGS
March 27, 2014

Ever since the great magnitude 9.2 earthquake shook Alaska 50 years ago today, scientists have suspected that the quake's rupture halted at the southwestern tip of Kodiak Island due to a natural barrier.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 20, 2014

Why does the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake Matter 50 Years Later? Scientific experts will talk about a half-century of scientific and monitoring advances triggered by the 1964 events.

Houses damaged in the 1964 earthquake
March 19, 2014

The U.S. Geological Survey has released two new videos about the Great Alaska Earthquake of March 27, 1964 to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the largest earthquake ever recorded in the United States. The videos include rare vintage film footage and photos of the earthquake damage, combined with modern interviews with some of the same scientists who first investig

Uplifted sea floor at Cape Cleare on Montague Island in Prince William Sound.
March 18, 2014

To commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the largest earthquake ever recorded in the United States, the U.S. Geological Survey has reissued a series of landmark reports covering the results of investigations of the Great Alaska Earthquake of March 27, 1964.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 11, 2014

A recent U.S. Geological Survey-led study of the bar-tailed godwit, a shorebird known famously as the ultimate marathon champion of bird flight, suggests that these birds can sense broad weather patterns and optimally time their long, nonstop, transoceanic migrations to destinations thousands of miles away. 

Sea otter in kelp
February 28, 2014

Nearly 25 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill injured wildlife off the coast of Alaska, a new report issued today by the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that sea otters have returned to pre-spill numbers within the most heavily oiled areas of Prince William Sound.

1964 Great Alaska Earthquake flyer thumbnail
February 24, 2014

On March 27th, 1964, the second largest instrumentally recorded earthquake worldwide rocked southern Alaska for 4 to 5 minutes. In addition to the earthquake, the event triggered a major tsunami that caused casualties and damage from the Kodiak Islands to northern California.

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.