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: 170
Date published: November 29, 2017
Status: Active

USGS Transboundary River Monitoring in Southeast Alaska

The quantity and quality of streamflow in transboundary watersheds of Southeast Alaska are important to many stakeholders. Development and operation of several mines in Canada have increased the interest in current and future conditions in these watersheds. The USGS Alaska Science Center operates streamflow information stations on the Alsek, Chilkat, Taku, Stikine, and Unuk Rivers. Real-time...

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Completed

Geologic Map of Alaska

In January 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey released the first ever digital geologic map of Alaska. This map reflects more than a century of work and provides a visual context for the abundant mineral and energy resources found throughout the state. The map also is available to use in three different formats: a professional GIS database, a public interactive version via a web browser, and an...

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Pacific Nearshore Project

Sea otters are crucial indicators of the health of our nearshore waters and coastal resources, from kelp forests to fisheries. What clues does the sea otter's decline hold for our knowledge of ecosystem and global change? WERC's sea otter team and U.S. and Canadian researchers have teamed together to investigate. 

Relevance to USGS Missions:

This research project has direct...

Date published: September 5, 2017
Status: Active

Alaska Science Center Data Policy

The Data Policy for ASC staff and contractors requires that research data, computational models, software and scripts, web-based tools, and information products (collectively “data”) adhere to the following policy statements.

Date published: August 22, 2017
Status: Active

Beak Deformities in Landbirds

Over the past 20 years, Alaskans have witnessed a startling increase of beak deformities among Black-capped Chickadees and other species of resident birds. This disease, called avian keratin disorder (AKD), is characterized by debilitating beak overgrowth and other abnormalities of keratinized tissues. Affected birds have difficulty feeding and preening, and may suffer high rates of mortality...

Date published: August 10, 2017
Status: Active

Publication Briefs by the Alaska Science Center

These publication briefs feature research that informs partners and resource managers to make decisions relative to species habitat and status, natural resources, ecosystems, and human activities.

Contacts: Yvette Gillies
Date published: August 4, 2017
Status: Active

North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database

The North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) includes more than 460,000 survey transects that were designed and conducted by numerous partners primarily to census seabirds at sea.

Date published: July 27, 2017
Status: Active

Goose Research

The USGS Alaska Science Center has had a focus on addressing science questions related to geese in Alaska for decades.  Information on these species is critical because all are important resources for subsistence and sport hunters in the state and outside of Alaska where these birds spend the winter.  The large majority of goose populations in Alaska breed on national wildlife refuges (managed...

Date published: July 27, 2017
Status: Active

Dabbling and Diving Duck Research

Dabbling and diving ducks, such as mallards, pintails and scaup, are widespread species throughout North America.  Additionally, their migratory flyways pass through Asia and North America overlap in Alaska.  Population trends of these species are closely tracked through aerial surveys by management agencies.  Results from these and other surveys are then used to formulate management actions...

Date published: July 27, 2017
Status: Active

Sea Duck Research

USGS research on sea ducks is designed to anticipate and address priority information needs of management agencies.  Additionally, work is focused on individual species biology, migration and population status and trends because until just recently, very little was known about sea ducks in Alaska.  

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Wildlife Disease and Environmental Health in Alaska

Environmental health is defined by connections between the physical environment, ecological health, and human health. Current research within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recognizes the importance of this integrated research philosophy, which includes study of disease and pollutants as they pertain to both wildlife and humans. Due to its key geographic location and significant wildlife...

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.

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: 2,528
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Year Published: 2019

The seasonal energetic landscape of an apex marine carnivore, the polar bear

Divergent movement strategies have enabled wildlife populations to adapt to environmental change. In recent decades, the Southern Beaufort Sea subpopulation of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) has developed a divergent movement strategy in response to diminishing sea ice where the majority of the subpopulation (73–85%) stays on the sea ice in summer...

Pagano, Anthony M.; Atwood, Todd C.; Durner, George M.; Williams, Terrie M.

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Year Published: 2019

Use of subsistence-harvested whale carcasses by polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea

The availability of a food subsidy has the potential to influence the condition, behavior, fitness, and population dynamics of a species. Since the early 2000s, monitoring efforts along the coast of northern Alaska indicated a higher proportion of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea (SB) subpopulation come onshore and feed...

Lillie, Kate M; Gese, Eric M; Atwood, Todd C.; Conner, Mary M

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Year Published: 2019

The August 2018 Kaktovik earthquakes: Active tectonics in northeastern Alaska revealed With InSAR and seismology

The largest earthquakes recorded in northern Alaska (Mw 6.4 and Mw 6.0) occurred ~6 hours apart on August 12, 2018 in the northeastern Brooks Range. The earthquakes were captured by Sentinel-1 InSAR satellites and Earthscope Transportable Array seismic data, giving insight into the little-known active tectonic processes of Arctic Alaska, obscured...

Gaudreau, E.; Nissen, E.K.; Bergman, Eric A.; Benz, Harley M.; Tan, F.; Karasözen, E.

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Year Published: 2019

A leg-hold noose capture method for Brent Geese Branta bernicla at staging or wintering sites

Effective and efficient capture methods are needed for marking and monitoring individuals in studies of demography, migration and habitat use. We describe a novel use of leg-hold nooses aligned on lines and mats to capture non-breeding Brent Geese Branta bernicla in water at a staging and wintering site in Japan. A total of 24 Brent Geese were...

Sawa, Yusuke; Tamura, Chieko; Ikeuchi, Toshio; Fujii, Kaoru; Ishioroshi, Aisa; Shimada, T.; Ward, David H.

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Year Published: 2019

Historical range and variation (HRV)

Fire-prone landscapes are experiencing rapid and potentially persistent changes as the result of complex and potentially novel interactions of anthropogenic climate changes, shifting fire regimes, exotic plant, insect, and pathogen invasions, and industrial, agricultural, and urban development. Are these landscapes fully departed from historical...

Keane, Robert; Loehman, Rachel A.

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Year Published: 2019

Temporal variation in genetic structure within the threatened spectacled eider

We examined the genetic structure of the threatened spectacled eider 14–18 years after the initial assessment to evaluate the influence of population recovery on diversity. Concordant with the initial assessment, spectacled eiders were highly structured at mitochondrial (mt) DNA and lacked differentiation at microsatellite loci. The degree and...

Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Haughey, Christy; Sexson, Matthew G.; Solovyeva, Diana V; Petersen, Margaret R.; Powell, Abby

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Year Published: 2019

Overhauling ocean spatial planning to improve marine megafauna conservation

Tracking data have led to evidence-based conservation of marine megafauna, but a disconnect remains between the many thousands of individual animals that have been tracked and the use of these data in conservation and management actions. Furthermore, the focus of most conservation efforts is within Exclusive Economic Zones despite the ability of...

Sequeira, Ana M. M.; Hays, Graeme C.; Sims, David W.; Eguíluz, Victor M.; Rodríguez, Jorge P.; Heupel, Michelle R.; Harcourt, Robert G.; Calich, Hannah J.; Queiroz, Nuno; Costa, Daniel P.; Fernández-Gracia, Juan; Ferreira, Luciana C.; Goldsworthy, Simon D.; Hindell, Mark; Lea, Mary-Anne; Meekan, Mark G.; Pagano, Anthony M.; Shaffer, Scott A.; Reisser, Julia; Thums, Michele; Weise, Michael J; Duarte, Carlos M.

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Year Published: 2019

1200 years of Upper Missouri River streamflow reconstructed from tree rings

Paleohydrologic records can provide unique, long-term perspectives on streamflow variability and hydroclimate for use in water resource planning. Such long-term records can also play a key role in placing both present day events and projected future conditions into a broader context than that offered by instrumental observations. However,...

Martin, Justin; Pederson, Gregory T.; Woodhouse, Connie A.; Cook, Edward R; McCabe, Gregory J.; Wise, Erika K.; Erger, Patrick; Dolan, Larry; McGuire, Marketa; Gangopadhyay, Subhrendu; Chase, Katherine J.; Littell, Jeremy S.; Gray, Stephen; St. George, Scott; Friedman, Jonathan M.; Sauchyn, David J.; St. Jacques, Jannine; King, John W.

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Year Published: 2019

Surface water connectivity controls fish food web structure and complexity across local- and meta-food webs in Arctic Coastal Plain lakes

The need for theories that address food web assembly and complexity over multiple spatial scales are critical to understanding their stability and persistence. In a meta-food web – an integrated network of local food webs – spatial heterogeneity in physical processes may have profound effects on food web function and energy flow. In the Arctic,...

Laske, Sarah M.; Rosenberger, Amanda E.; Wipfli, Mark S.; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2019

Ground failure from the Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake of 30 November 2018

Investigation of ground failure triggered by the 2018 Mw">MwMw 7.1 Anchorage earthquake showed that landslides, liquefaction, and ground cracking all occurred and caused significant damage. Shallow rock falls and rock slides were the most abundant types of landslides, but they occurred in smaller numbers than global models that are...

Jibson, Randall W.; Grant, Alex R. R. ; Witter, Robert C.; Allstadt, Kate; Thompson, Eric M.; Bender, Adrian

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Year Published: 2019

A ship's ballasting history as an indicator of foraminiferal invasion potential--An example from Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA

We investigated the potential role of ballast sediment from coastal and transoceanic oil tankers arriving and de-ballasting in Port Valdez as a vector for the introduction of invasive benthic foraminifera in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Forty-one ballast sediment samples were obtained in 1998-1999 from 11 oil tankers that routinely discharged...

McGann, Mary; Ruiz, Gregory M.; Hines, Anson H.; Smith, George D.

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Year Published: 2019

User guide to the FireCLIME Vulnerability Assessment (VA) Tool: A rapid and flexible system for assessing ecosystem vulnerability to climate-fire interactions

Decisionmakers need better methods for identifying critical ecosystem vulnerabilities to changing climate and fire regimes. Climate-wildfire-vegetation interactions are complex and hinder classification and projection necessary for development of management strategies. One such vulnerability assessment (VA) is FireCLIME VA, which allows users to...

Friggens, Megan; Loehman, Rachel A.; Thode, Andi; Flatley, William T.; Evans, Alexander; Bunn, Windy; Wilcox, Craig; Mueller, Stephanie; Yocum, Larissa; Falk, Donald A.
Friggens, M.; Loehman, R.; Thode, A.; Flatley, W.; Evans, A.; Bunn, W.; Wilcox, C.; Mueller, S.; Yocom, L.; Falk, D. 2019. User guide to the FireCLIME Vulnerability Assessment (VA) tool: A rapid and flexible system for assessing ecosystem vulnerability to climate-fire interactions. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-395. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 42 p.

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: 988
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

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.

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 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.

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. 

A female McKay's Bunting songbird standing on the ground
June 17, 2018

Female McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

Female McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island.

A male McKay's Bunting songbird sitting on a rock
June 14, 2018

Male McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

Male McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

Fog on Yukon River
May 29, 2018

Fog on Yukon River

Fog along the Yukon River showing a Black Spruce dominated forest in the foreground, which is prone to wildfire.  Photo by Bruce Wylie, USGS

Large instruments waiting to loaded on a boat
May 7, 2018

Loading ocean bottom seismometers for deployment in the Gulf of Alaska

Ocean bottom seismometers being loaded onto the R/V Sikuliaq to be deployed on the sea floor in the Gulf of Alaska.

Man pointing to ground
May 2, 2018

Stratigraphic contact marking 1964 uplift of Montague Island, Alaska

Stratigraphic contact marking uplift of Montague Island, caused by slip on the Patton Bay fault system during the 1964 M9.2 Great ALaska Earthquake. 

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 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.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 20, 2014

It's 1964 in Alaska. Imagine 4.5 minutes of powerful ground shaking underneath you from a magnitude 9.2 earthquake. You and your loved ones are then faced with resulting landslides and a devastating tsunami. You just experienced the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America. 

Photo of Santa Fe, New Mexico 2013 United States Topo map
January 22, 2014

The USGS, in cooperation with other Federal agencies, has posted new Idaho US Topo quadrangles (1,193) and New Mexico quads (1,980 maps) which include Public Land Survey System (PLSS). These are added to the growing list of states west of the Mississippi River to have PLSS data added to US Topo maps.

Image: Black Brant Geese
January 21, 2014

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey report that warming temperatures are leading to the creation of high quality habitats for geese along the Arctic coast of Alaska. This scientific finding is contrary to the deleterious effects that warming global temperatures are having on habitats of sea ice-dependent animals, such as polar bear and walrus.

A view of snow-covered Akutan Volcano.
January 9, 2014

Akutan Island, in Alaska’s east-central Aleutian Islands, hosts the City of Akutan and is home to the largest seafood production facility in North America. It also hosts Akutan Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the U.S.

Image: Banding Together to Learn and Preserve
November 21, 2013

25 Years of Goose Banding and Conservation through Federal and Tribal Partnership on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in Western Alaska

USGS
July 1, 2013

Wilderness pilots, hikers, boaters and people in Alaskan communities can now report online to authorities if they witness falling ash or an ash cloud from an erupting volcano. The  Alaska Volcano Observatory has developed a new online tool for reporting visible volcanic ash. 

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.