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: 171
Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Landbird Research in Alaska

On this page, learn about USGS work on Beak Deformities and Boreal Partners in Flight.

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Waterfowl Research

Scientists at the USGS Alaska Science Center have conducted research on waterfowl species (ducks, geese, and swans) in Alaska since the 1970s. Because Alaska is an international crossroads of migratory bird flyways, with millions of birds from Asia and North America breeding in Alaska each summer, USGS research has also taken place in adjacent countries (Russia, Japan, Canada, Mexico) and in...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Polar Bear Research

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are one of 4 marine mammal species managed by the U.S. Department of Interior. The USGS Alaska Science Center leads long–term research on polar bears to inform local, state, national and international policy makers regarding conservation of the species and its habitat. Our studies, ongoing since 1985, are focused on population dynamics, health and...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Shorebird Research

With its vast size and geographic position at one end of numerous migration pathways, Alaska is a critically important site for the world’s shorebirds. Thirty-seven shorebird species regularly breed in Alaska. Most of these species conduct epically long migrations to take advantage of abundant food resources, making Alaska a global resource for shorebirds. Shorebird research at the USGS Alaska...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Terrestrial Mammal Ecology Research

Understanding the population dynamics, predator/prey relationships and habitat ecology of terrestrial mammals, such as caribou and muskoxen, is critical for the management of these species and their habitats in Alaska.

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Walrus Research

The Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) is one of 4 marine mammal species managed by the U.S. Department of Interior. The USGS Alaska Science Center conducts long–term research on Pacific walruses to inform local, state, national and international policy makers regarding conservation of the species and its habitat. The goal of our current research efforts is to refine and...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Nearshore Marine Ecosystem Research

Nearshore ecosystems include many resources that are of high ecological, recreational, subsistence, and economic value. They also are subject to influences from a wide variety of natural and human-caused perturbations, which can originate in terrestrial or oceanic environments. Our research is designed to evaluate sources of variation in the nearshore and how they influence resources of high...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Habitat Dynamics

The Habitat Dynamics Project examines how short and long-term changes in the environment affect the distribution and survival of wildlife populations. 

Contacts: David Douglas
Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Avian Influenza Research

Since 2006, the USGS Alaska Science Center has been part of the State and Federal interagency team for the detection and response to highly pathogenic (HPAI) viruses in North America. Avian influenza or "bird flu" is a viral disease that primarily infects domestic poultry and wild birds. Avian influenza viruses are naturally occurring in wild birds such as ducks, geese, swans, and gulls. These...

Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Alaska Streamflow Statistics

The USGS conducts various studies of streamflow statistics for data collected at streamflow-gaging stations. Streamflow statistics for gaged streams and methods for estimating those statistics for ungaged streams are used by water resource planners and managers for designing infrastructure, managing floodplains, and protecting life, property, and aquatic resources. The most recent USGS studies...

Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Arctic – Boreal Catchment Studies

Catchment hydrology focuses on the movement of water and solutes from landscapes to waterbodies. Our research addresses questions such as: Where is the stream water coming from? How long did it take to get here? What solutes, nutrients, and/or contaminants did the water pick up along the way? Because streams and lakes gather water and solutes, we can learn about the entire watershed by...

Contacts: Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Ylva Sjöberg
Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Wolverine Glacier Ecosystem Studies

This project is an extension of the long-term Wolverine Glacier Benchmark Glacier project and is improving our understanding of solutes and nutrients in glacier basins, and how they fuel downstream ecosystems.

Contacts: Shad O'Neel, Ph.D., Louis Sass, III, Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Sara Sawicki, Jennifer Witter, Jason Geck

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report
Filter Total Items: 2,440
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Year Published: 2019

Prevalence and diversity of avian blood parasites in a resident northern passerine

Background: Climate-related changes are expected to influence the prevalence and distribution of vector-borne haemosporidian parasites at northern latitudes, although baseline information about resident birds is still lacking. In this study, we investigated prevalence and genetic diversity of Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leucocytozoon parasites...

Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Meixell, Brandt W.; Smith, Matthew M.; Handel, Colleen M.

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Year Published: 2019

Geographic variation in the intensity of warming and phenological mismatch between Arctic shorebirds and invertebrates

Responses to climate change can vary across functional groups and trophic levels, leading to a temporal decoupling of trophic interactions or ‘phenological mismatches.’ Despite a growing number of single-species studies that identified phenological mismatches as a nearly universal consequence of climate change, we have a limited understanding of...

Kwon, Enubi; Weiser, Emily L.; Lanctot, Richard B.; Brown, Stephen C.; Gates, H. River; Gilchrist, H. Grant; Kendall, Steve J.; David B. Lank; Joseph R. Liebezeit; McKinnon, Laura; Erica Nol; Payer, David C.; Jennie Rausch; Saalfeld, Sarah T.; Rinella, Daniel J.; Senner, Nathan R.; Ward, David; Smith, Paul A.; Wissman, Robert C.; Sandercock, Brett K.

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Year Published: 2019

Energy depletion and stress levels of Sockeye Salmon migrating at the northern edge of their distribution

The physiological challenge for anadromous fish to migrate upriver is influenced by river temperature, but the impacts of river temperature can be difficult to predict due to an incomplete understanding of how temperature influences migration costs, especially in high‐latitude (>60°N) ecosystems. To assess temperature influences on migrating...

Carey, Michael P.; Keith, Kevin D.; Schelske, Merlyn; Lean, Charlie; McCormick, Stephen D.; Regish, Amy M.; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2019

Coast to coast: High genomic connectivity in North American scoters

Dispersal shapes demographic processes and therefore is fundamental to understanding biological, ecological, and evolutionary processes acting within populations. However, assessing population connectivity in scoters (Melanitta sp.) is challenging as these species have large spatial distributions that span remote landscapes, have varying...

Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Wilson, Robert E.; Lavretsky, Philip; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2019

Spatio-temporal population change of Arctic-breeding waterbirds on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska

Rapid physical changes that are occurring in the Arctic are primary drivers of landscape change and thus may drive population dynamics of Arctic-breeding birds. Despite the importance of this region to breeding and molting waterbirds, lack of a comprehensive analysis of historic data has hindered quantifying avian population change. We estimated...

Amundson, Courtney L.; Flint, Paul L.; Stehn, Robert A; Platte, Robert; Wilson, Heather M.; Larned, William W.; Fischer, Julian B.

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Year Published: 2019

Handbook to the partners in flight population estimates database, version 3.0

This document describes the content of Version 3.0 of the Partners in Flight (PIF) Population Estimates Database, which provides population estimates for breeding USA/Canada landbirds at several geographic scales following the Partners in Flight approach described initially in Rich et al. (2004) and by Rosenberg and Blancher (2005) and most...

Will, Tom; Stanton, J.C.; Rosenberg, Kenneth V.; Panjabi, Arvind O.; Camfield, Alaine; Shaw, Allison; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Blancher, Peter J.

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Year Published: 2019

The influence of body size, condition, and age on recruitment of four Alaskan brown bear populations

Recruitment of brown bear (Ursus arctos) offspring into a population is the product of initial cub production and subsequent survival and is a critical component of overall population status and trend. We investigated the relationship between maternal body size, body condition, and age (as a surrogate for gained experience) and recruitment of...

Hilderbrand, Grant V.; Gustine, David; Joly, Kyle; Mangipane, Buck; Leacock, William; Cameron, Matthew; Sorum, Mathew; Mangipane, Lindsey; Erlenbach, Joy

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Year Published: 2019

Evidence for frequent, large tsunamis spanning locked and creeping parts of the Aleutian megathrust

At the eastern end of the 1957 Andreanof Islands magnitude-8.6 earthquake rupture, Driftwood Bay (Umnak Island) and Stardust Bay (Sedanka Island) lie along presently locked and creeping parts of the Aleutian megathrust, respectively, based on satellite geodesy onshore. Both bays, located 200-km apart, face the Aleutian trench and harbor coastal...

Witter, Robert C.; Briggs, Richard W.; Engelhart, Simon E.; Gelfenbaum, Guy R.; Koehler, Richard D; Nelson, Alan R.; La Selle, Seanpaul; Corbett, Reide; Wallace, Kristi

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Year Published: 2019

Development and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite markers in Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis (Procellariformes), and cross-species amplification in eight other seabirds

BackgroundIn the North Pacific, northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) forms extensive colonies in few locales, which may lead to limited gene flow and locale-specific population threats. In the Atlantic, there are thousands of colonies of varying sizes and in Europe the species is considered threatened. Prior screens and classical microsatellite...

Gravley, Megan C.; Sage, George K.; Ramey, Andrew M.; Hatch, Scott A.; Gill, Verena A.; Rearick, Jolene R.; Petersen, Aevar; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2019

Global phylodynamic analysis of avian paramyxovirus-1 provides evidence of inter-host transmission and intercontinental spatial diffusion

BackgroundAvian avulavirus (commonly known as avian paramyxovirus-1 or APMV-1) can cause disease of varying severity in both domestic and wild birds. Understanding how viruses move among hosts and geography would be useful for informing prevention and control efforts. A Bayesian statistical framework was employed to estimate the evolutionary...

Hicks, Joseph T.; Dimitrov, Kiril M.; Afonso, Claudio L.; Ramey, Andrew M.; Bahl, Justin

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Year Published: 2019

Evidence of Culiseta mosquitoes as vectors for Plasmodium parasites in Alaska

Mosquito vectors play a crucial role in the distribution of avian Plasmodium parasites worldwide. At northern latitudes, where climate warming is most pronounced, there are questions about possible changes in the abundance and distribution of Plasmodium parasites, their vectors, and their impacts to avian hosts. To better...

Smith, Matthew M.; Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Handel, Colleen M.

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Year Published: 2019

Emperor geese (Anser canagicus) are exposed to a diversity of influenza A viruses, are infected during the non-breeding period and contribute to intercontinental viral dispersal

Emperor geese (Anser canagicus) are endemic to coastal areas within Beringia and have previously been found to have antibodies to or to be infected with influenza A viruses (IAVs) in Alaska. In this study, we use virological, serological and tracking data to further elucidate the role of emperor geese in the ecology of IAVs in Beringia during the...

Ramey, Andrew M.; Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Reeves, Andrew B.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Poulson, Rebecca L.; Stallknecht, David E.

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: 974
November 20, 2017

Return to the Alaska Wilderness

A team of USGS scientists spent two weeks in the isolated Glacier Bay National Park, exploring one of the fastest-moving faults in North America.
 

3 men leaning over big yellow metal grab bucket on the deck of a ship. Dark sediment is visible inside bucket
September 28, 2017

Examining bucket of seafloor sediment collected off southeast Alaska

USGS research geophysicist Danny Brothers (right) and colleagues examine the surface of a sediment grab sample just pulled onto the deck of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully. The sample was collected from the top of a mud volcano north of the border between southeast Alaska and British Columbia. Expedition scientists are investigating the Queen Charlotte

...
Two women stand at a table having a discussion while looking at long cores of sediment samples.
September 17, 2017

Sampling pore fluids from sediment cores

Mary McGann (left, USGS) and Rachel Lauer (University of Calgary) sample pore fluids from sediment cores collected aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault offshore of southeast Alaska. Expedition scientists will use their findings to better understand the history of the fault and the hazards it poses to

...
Two women stand at plywood table on which rest three long plastic tubes full of dark seafloor sediment.
September 17, 2017

Sampling core fluid from sediment cores collected off southeast Alaska

Mary McGann (left, USGS) and Rachel Lauer (University of Calgary) sample pore fluids from sediment cores collected aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault offshore of southeast Alaska. Expedition scientists will use their findings to better understand the history of the fault and the hazards it poses to

...
Tazlina River sonar
September 13, 2017

Tazlina River sonar

Tazlina River sonar

Salcha River sonar near Salchaket
September 13, 2017

Salcha River sonar near Salchaket

Salcha River sonar near Salchaket

A small arctic grayling near the bottom of the Imelyak River
August 31, 2017

Small arctic grayling in the Imelyak River, Brooks Range

Small arctic grayling hugging the bottom in the Imelyak River in the Brooks Range. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

Scientist walking up the Imelyak River
August 31, 2017

Sampling the Imelyak River in the Brooks Range

Sampling the Imelyak River in the Boreal-Arctic transition of the Brooks Range in Noatak National Park and Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

Sampling a stream in the mist in the Akilik River drainage
August 31, 2017

Sampling a stream from the Akilik River drainage

Sampling a stream from the Akilik River drainage in the Boreal-Arctic transition of the Brooks Range in Noatak National Park and Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

Scientist walking up the Akilik River with a minnow trap to catch fish
August 31, 2017

Akilik River stream sampling

Hiking up a stream from the Akilik River drainage to set minnow traps for fish sampling. This is a stream type at the Boreal-Arctic transition of the Brooks Range, Noatak National Park and Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park.

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain
August 30, 2017

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain

A field of peatland surrounded by spruce and other understory plants in Alaska. Mountains can be seen in the background.
August 30, 2017

Thawing Peatlands, Alaska

Cores were collected from various areas of thawing permafrost-peatlands in Alaska. Permafrost thaw results in ground subsidence and inundation that kills black spruce and other understory plants living on the permafrost plateau. 

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 252
USGS
May 30, 2013

Multiple sources of Alaskan geochemical information have united into one online resource. 

USGS
May 27, 2013

USGS releases more than 400 updated US Topo maps of Alaska

USGS
April 1, 2013

Twenty-five years of monitoring and studying Alaska's volcanoes by the Alaska Volcano Observatory have improved global understanding of how volcanoes work and how to live safely with volcanic eruptions. Timely warnings from AVO throughout its 25-year history have helped reduce the impact of erupting volcanoes, protecting lives, property, and economic well-being.

USGS
January 30, 2013

The upper Cook Inlet is the world's coldest site that regularly supports wintering shorebirds.  The rock sandpiper is the only shorebird found in this region during winter and is a species that is uniquely adapted to survive the winter chill, according to new research by biologists with the USGS Alaska Science Center.  

USGS
January 23, 2013

Invasive northern pike in southcentral Alaska are opportunistic and adaptable predators that feed on multiple native fish species when their preferred prey, native salmonids, are no longer abundant, according to a new study released in Ecology of Freshwater Fish. 

USGS
June 26, 2012

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Shrews are among a diverse group of small mammals that have rapidly evolved in response to climate change, according to a new study released this month.

USGS
January 23, 2012

ANCHORAGE — A new report maps out erosion history and hazards for 74 miles of the Matanuska River, a braided river in Southcentral Alaska that has damaged and threatened houses, roads and public facilities for decades. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 25, 2011

Thawing permafrost in the Yukon River watershed may be a source of naturally occurring mercury being conveyed by rivers into the environment, according to USGS research scientists.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 13, 2011

Dr. David Shelly, a research seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, was named one of President Obama's recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 7, 2011

Stephen Gray has been selected as the center director of the Department of the Interior’s Alaska Climate Science Center, located at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, in Anchorage.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 13, 2011

Personal interviews with Alaska Natives in the Yukon River Basin provide unique insights on climate change and its impacts, helping develop adaptation strategies for these local communities.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 13, 2011

The USGS Alaska Science Center has released new high-resolution video of Pacific walruses hauling out near Point Lay, Alaska, in late August, 2011. 

Also available on the USGS Alaska Science Center walrus website are animations of the walruses’ movements as tracked by radio transmitters, and FAQs on the ongoing walrus studies.

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.