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: 175
Date published: August 16, 2018
Status: Active

Possible Causes for Beak Deformities

Beak deformities can be caused by a variety of factors, including contaminants, nutritional deficiencies, disease, parasites, blunt trauma, or genetic abnormalities. We recently identified a novel picornavirus (Poecivirus) in Black-capped Chickadees with avian keratin disorder (AKD). Our results suggest that Poecivirus is the most likely factor responsible for beak deformities in Alaskan birds...

Date published: August 15, 2018
Status: Active

Literature Cited for Beak Deformities

Literature Cited in the Beak Deformity web pages

Date published: August 14, 2018
Status: Active

Links Related to Beak Deformity Research

Links, videos and news articles related to beak deformity research

Date published: August 13, 2018
Status: Active

Changing Arctic Ecosystems

Arctic regions of Alaska are important for cultural and economic sustainability and host a wide variety of wildlife species, many of which are of conservation and management interest to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The USGS and collaborators provide information about Arctic ecosystems that are used by Arctic residents, management agencies, and industry.

Date published: August 10, 2018
Status: Active

Loon Research

Scientists at the USGS Alaska Science Center have conducted research on Alaska’s three loon species since the late 1970s. Loons rely on freshwater lakes for nesting habitat and fish and invertebrates inhabiting lakes and marine ecosystems for food. All three loon species in Alaska occur within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) on Alaska’s northern coast. Research by the USGS is...

Contacts: Brian Uher-Koch
Date published: August 8, 2018
Status: Active

Streambed Scour at Bridges in Alaska

Streambed scour is the leading cause of bridge failure in the United States resulting in over 60 percent of all failures. The Alaska Science Center, in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Alaska Railroad, is researching streambed scour through scour monitoring, hydraulic modeling, and data collection during high flows.  

Date published: August 3, 2018
Status: Active

Seabirds and Forage Fish Ecology

Alaska's coastal and offshore waters provide foraging habitat for an estimated 100 million birds comprising more than 90 different species; from loons and seaducks that nest inland, to petrels and puffins that breed on islands off shore. All these birds depend on the sea to provide a wide variety of food types— from clams, crabs and urchins nearshore— to krill, forage fish, and squid offshore...

Date published: August 2, 2018
Status: Active

Detecting Long-term Changes in Forage Fish Populations in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Forage fish are small pelagic schooling fish that play a key role in transferring energy between plankton and top marine predators. Many seabirds, marine mammals, and commercial fish species depend on forage fish to grow and survive.

Date published: August 1, 2018
Status: Active

Terrestrial Influence on Glacial-Marine Food Webs

Where glaciers meet the sea in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), they create unique and productive marine habitats. Ringed by the continent’s tallest coastal mountains, 20% of the GOA coastal watershed is covered by glacial ice and the annual freshwater discharge into the GOA from glacial melt is comparable to that of the Mississippi river.

Date published: July 30, 2018
Status: Active

Aleutian Islands Ecosystem Recovery Studies

The Aleutian archipelago is a 2,000 km long chain of volcanically-derived treeless islands stretching from Unimak Island in the east to the Commander Islands in the west.  These volcanic islands support a wide range of species including large numbers of seabirds and marine mammal species, some of which are threatened and endangered, leading to a high level of federal management concern.

Date published: July 20, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Coastal Plain and NPR-A Research Bibliography

Selected Bibliography of USGS Research Conducted in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Coastal Plain (1002 Area) and/or the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska (NPRA)

Compiled as of 12/18/2018

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science Informing the Status and Trends of Migratory Birds

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

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: 2,691
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Year Published: 2021

Water reliability in the west -- SECURE Water Act Section 9503(C)

No abstract available.

McGuire, Marketa; Gangopadhyay, Subhrendu; Martin, Justin; Pederson, Gregory T.; Woodhouse, Connie A.; Littell, Jeremy S.
Reclamation (Bureau of Reclamation) 2021. Water Reliability in the West -- SECURE Water Act Section 9503(C). Prepared for the United States Congress. Bureau of Reclamation, Water Resources and Planning Office. Denver, Colorado.

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Year Published: 2021

Biological correlates of sea urchin recruitment in kelp forest and urchin barren habitats

Shifts between the alternate stable states of sea urchin barren grounds and kelp forests correspond to sea urchin density. In the Aleutian Archipelago, green sea urchins Strongylocentrotus polyacanthus are the dominant herbivores that graze kelp forests. Sea urchin recruitment is an important driver that influences sea urchin density,...

Weitzman, Ben; Konar, Brenda H.

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Year Published: 2021

U.S. Geological Survey Arctic ecosystem assessments

The U.S Geological Survey (USGS) conducts natural hazard and resource assessments of the Earth’s ecosystems and the response of those ecosystems to environmental change, human activities, and land use. Arctic regions of Alaska are important for cultural and economic sustainability and host a wide variety of wildlife species, many of which are of...

Pearce, John M.; Van Hemert, Caroline R.
Pearce, J.M. and Van Hemert, C.R., 2021, U.S. Geological Survey Arctic ecosystem assessments: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2021-3016, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20213016.

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Year Published: 2021

Investigation of algal toxins in a multispecies seabird die-off in the Bering and Chukchi seas

Between 2014 and 2017, widespread seabird mortality events were documented annually in the Bering and Chukchi seas, concurrent with dramatic reductions of sea ice, warmer than average ocean temperatures, and rapid shifts in marine ecosystems. Among other changes in the marine environment, harmful algal blooms (HABs) that produce the neurotoxins...

Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Dusek, Robert J.; Smith, Matthew M.; Kaler, Robert; Sheffield, Gay; Divine, Lauren M.; Kuletz, Kathy J.; Knowles, Susan; Lankton, Julia S.; Hardison, D. Ransom; Litaker, R. Wayne; Jones, Timothy; Burgess, Hillary K.; Parrish, Julia K.

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Year Published: 2021

Whole‐genome resequencing reveals persistence of forest‐associated mammals in Late Pleistocene refugia along North America’s North Pacific Coast

AimNumerous glacial refugia have been hypothesized along North America's North Pacific Coast that may have increased divergence of refugial taxa, leading to elevated endemism and subsequently clustered hybrid zones following deglaciation. The locations and community composition of these ice‐free areas remains controversial, but whole‐genome...

Colella, Jocelyn P.; Lan, Tianying; Talbot, Sandra L.; Lindqvist, Charlotte; Cook, Joseph A.

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Year Published: 2021

Ecosystem response persists after a prolonged marine heatwave

Some of the longest and most comprehensive marine ecosystem monitoring programs were established in the Gulf of Alaska following the environmental disaster of the Exxon Valdez oil spill over 30 years ago. These monitoring programs have been successful in assessing recovery from oil spill impacts, and their continuation decades later...

Suryan, Robert M.; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Coletti, Heather A.; Hopcroft, Russell R.; Lindeberg, Mandy; Barbeaux, Steven J.; Batten, Sonia; Burt, William J.; Bishop, Mary Anne; Bodkin, James L.; Brenner, R.; Campbell, Robert W.; Cushing, Daniel A.; Danielson, Seth L.; Dorn, Martin W.; Drummond, Brie; Esler, Daniel N.; Gelatt, Thomas S.; Hanselman, Dana H.; Iken, Katrin; Irons, David B.; Hatch, Scott A.; Haught, Stormy; Holderied, Kris; Kimmel, David G.; Konar, Brenda H.; Kuletz, Kathy J.; Kettle, Arthur B.; Laurel, Benjamin J.; Maniscalco, John M.; Monson, Daniel; Matkin, Craig O.; McKinstry, Caitlin; Moran, John; Olsen, D.; Piatt, John F.; Palsson, Wayne A.; Pegau, W. Scott; Rogers, Lauren A.; Rojek, Nora A.; Schaefer, Anne; Spies, Ingrid B.; Straley, J.M.; Strom, Suzanne L.; Szymkowiak, Marysia; Weitzman, Ben P.; Sweeney, Kathryn L.; Yasumiishi, Ellen M.; Zador, Stephanie

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Year Published: 2021

U.S. Geological Survey—Department of the Interior Region 11, Alaska —2020 annual science report

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mission: The USGS national mission is to monitor, analyze, and predict current and evolving dynamics of complex human and natural Earth-system interactions and to deliver actionable information at scales and timeframes relevant to decision-makers. Consistent with the national mission, the USGS in Alaska provides...

Powers, Elizabeth M.; Williams, Dee M.
Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
Powers, E.M., and Williams, D.M., eds., 2021, U.S. Geological Survey—Department of the Interior Region 11, Alaska —2020 annual science report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021-1010, 80 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211010.

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Year Published: 2021

Extending seasonal discharge records for streamgage sites on the North Fork Fortymile and Middle Fork Fortymile Rivers, Alaska, through water year 2020

Daily mean discharge records are needed for management of selected streams in the Fortymile River Basin. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, updated a technique for estimating seasonal (partial year) discharge at two short-record streamgage sites in the basin and evaluated the accuracy of the...

Curran, Janet H.
Curran, J.H., 2021, Extending seasonal discharge records for streamgage sites on the North Fork Fortymile and Middle Fork Fortymile Rivers, Alaska, through water year 2020: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2021–5014, 11 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20215014.

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Year Published: 2021

Reduced quality and synchronous collapse of forage species disrupts trophic transfer during a prolonged marine heatwave

The Gulf of Alaska forage fish community includes a few key species that differ markedly in their timing of spawning, somatic growth and lipid storage, and in their migration behavior. This diversity in life history strategies facilitates resilience in marine food webs because it buffers predators against the naturally high variance in abundance...

Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Piatt, John F.; Hatch, Scott; Suryan, Rob; Batten, Sonia; Bishop, Mary Anne; Campbell, Rob; Coletti, Heather; Cushing, Dan; Gorman, Kristen; Haught, Stormy; Hopcroft, Russell; Kuletz, Kathy; Marsteller, Caitlin Elizabeth; McKinstry, Caitlin; McGowan, David; Moran, John; Pegau, R. Scott; Schaefer, Anne; Schoen, Sarah K.; Straley, Jan; von Biela, Vanessa R.

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Year Published: 2021

Genomic comparison of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae from humans and gulls in Alaska

ObjectivesWildlife may harbor clinically important antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria, but the role of wildlife in the epidemiology of AMR bacterial infections in humans is largely unknown. In this study, we aimed to assess dissemination of theblaKPC carbapenemase gene among humans and gulls in Alaska.MethodsWe performed whole genome...

Ahlstrom, Christina; Frick, Anna; Pongratz, Catherine; Spink, Kimberly; Xavier, Catherine; Bonnedahl, Jonas; Ramey, Andrew M.

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Year Published: 2021

Seal body condition and atmospheric circulation patterns influence polar bear body condition, recruitment, and feeding ecology in the Chukchi Sea

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are experiencing loss of sea ice habitats used to access their marine mammal prey. Simultaneously, ocean warming is changing ecosystems that support marine mammal populations. The interactive effects of sea ice and prey are not well understood yet may explain spatial‐temporal variation in the response of polar bears...

Rode, Karyn D.; Regehr, Eric V.; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.; Wilson, Ryan H.; St. Martin, Michelle; Crawford, Justin A.; Quakenbush, Lori T.

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Year Published: 2021

Implications of historical and contemporary processes on genetic differentiation of a declining boreal songbird: The rusty blackbird

The arrangement of habitat features via historical or contemporary events can strongly influence genomic and demographic connectivity, and in turn affect levels of genetic diversity and resilience of populations to environmental perturbation. The rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) is a forested wetland habitat specialist whose population size...

Wilson, Robert E.; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Powell, Luke L.; Johnson, James A.; Demarest, Dean W.; Stralberg, Diana; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.

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: 975
Kashwitna River bridge debris
May 13, 2019

Kashwitna River bridge debris

Kashwitna River bridge debris

Kashwitna River bridge
May 7, 2019

Kashwitna River bridge

Kashwitna River bridge

Lowering minnow trap to fish
April 27, 2019

Lowering minnow trap to fish

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Minnow trap in icehole
April 27, 2019

Minnow trap in icehole

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Shublik Spring open water
April 27, 2019

Shublik Spring open water

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Canning River with bars
April 27, 2019

Canning River with bars

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Michael Carey and Vanessa von Biela on Canning River
April 27, 2019

Michael Carey and Vanessa von Biela on Canning River

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Hole in the ice from an auger
April 27, 2019

Hole in the ice from an auger on Canning River

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

April 27, 2019

Under Ice Habitat in Canning River Delta

In the Arctic, rivers are often thought to freeze completely during winter. Since fish need liquid water to survive, there are few places where they can live. Fish usually inhabit deep river channels and areas where springwater enters a stream. However, this video shows that winter habitat occurs in places we didn't expect, below the ice in the delta of a shallow river. 

Canning River with bars view
April 26, 2019

Canning River with bars view

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Vanessa von Biela with cut bank at Canning River
April 25, 2019

Vanessa von Biela with cut bank at Canning River

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Copper River sonar on a bridge
April 24, 2019

Copper River sonar on a bridge

Copper River sonar on a bridge

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 255
USGS study of fires and waterfowl surveys in the western boreal forest of North America. 
June 21, 2016

“These results suggest that waterfowl populations in the western boreal forest are resilient to forest fires and that current policies of limited fire suppression have not been detrimental to waterfowl populations." – Tyler Lewis, U.S. Geological Survey.

Permafrost area, Beaver Creek, Alaska.
June 20, 2016

The thawing of the planet’s permafrost is replumbing arctic environments, creating several hydrologic consequences and possibly some opportunities according to a new study published in Vadose Zone.

Scientist laying cable in a field
June 1, 2016

Fate of Alaska's large carbon reserves could affect greenhouse gas concentration.

satellite image of brown resuspended volcanic ash cloud over Kodiak Island, Alaska
April 25, 2016

Two public events are scheduled next week in the City of Kodiak, Alaska about monitoring old volcanic ash resuspended by high winds. Scientists invite the local community to learn more about the potential impacts of resuspended volcanic ash and how to assist in volcano hazards research by collecting samples of the redistributed volcanic ash and dust.

USGS
April 20, 2016

You really are what you eat. That’s the taking-off point for a new polar bear study, conducted by U.S. Geological Survey researchers with an assist from the Oregon Zoo — and published this week in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
April 5, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Geological Survey released additional evidence that western Alaska remains a hot spot for avian influenza to enter North America. 

Image: Michelle Coombs
April 4, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Michelle Coombs as the next Scientist-in-Charge of the Alaska Volcano Observatory, a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

Suzette Kimball, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey presenting award to Nicholas Mastrodicasa
March 15, 2016

To commemorate the nation's first chief geographer, the USGS established the Henry Gannett Award. This year's recipient is Nicholas Mastrodicasa, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, for his leadership in the Alaska Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative and the development of an elevation requirements study for Alaska.

Aerial view of the Chenega village site at the head of Chenega Cove.
February 1, 2016

Minutes after the 1964 magnitude-9.2 Great Alaska Earthquake began shaking, a series of tsunami waves swept through the village of Chenega in Prince William Sound, destroying all but two of the buildings and killing 23 of the 75 inhabitants. 

Image: USGS Scientists Engaged in Field Work on the Aleutian Islands
January 12, 2016

New evidence for frequent large tsunamis at a remote island near Dutch Harbor, Alaska provides geological data to aid tsunami hazard preparedness efforts around the Pacific Rim. 

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.