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: 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 the northern end of several 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 Alaska’s abundant food resources and breeding habitat, making Alaska a global resource for shorebirds...

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
Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Wetland Modeling

This project aims to improve our understanding of the role of wetlands in controlling streamflow in southcentral Alaska using a groundwater – surface water flow model that can recreate the dynamic interactions between streams and wetlands.

Contacts: Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Ty Ferre, Mike Gracz, Frankie Barker

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: 2,575
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Year Published: 2020

Ground-motion amplification in Cook Inlet region, Alaska from intermediate-depth earthquakes, including the 2018 MW=7.1 Anchorage earthquake

We measure pseudospectral and peak ground motions from 44 intermediate‐depth Mw≥4.9">Mw≥4.9 earthquakes in the Cook Inlet region of southern Alaska, including those from the 2018 Mw">Mw 7.1 earthquake near Anchorage, to identify regional amplification features (⁠0.1–5  s">0.1...

Moschetti, Morgan P.; Thompson, Eric M.; Rekoske, John; Hearne, Mike; Powers, Peter M.; McNamara, Daniel E.; Tape, Carl

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Year Published: 2020

The sedimentary record of the 2018 Anchorage Earthquake in Eklutna Lake, Alaska: Calibrating the lacustrine seismograph

The 30 November 2018 Mw">MMw">w 7.1 Anchorage earthquake caused modified Mercalli intensities of V¼ to V½ at Eklutna Lake (south central Alaska). A few hours after the earthquake, a “dirt streak” was observed on the lake surface, followed by a peak in sediment turbidity values (⁠∼80">∼80 times normal) at a drinking...

Van Daele, Maarten; Haeussler, Peter; Witter, Robert C.; Praet, Nore; De Batist, Marc

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Year Published: 2020

Plate boundary localization, slip-rates and rupture segmentation of the Queen Charlotte Fault based on submarine tectonic geomorphology

Linking fault behavior over many earthquake cycles to individual earthquake behavior is a primary goal in tectonic geomorphology, particularly across an entire plate boundary. Here, we examine the 1150-km-long, right-lateral Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault system using comprehensive multibeam bathymetry data acquired along the Queen Charlotte...

Brothers, Daniel; Miller, Nathaniel C.; Vaughn Barrie; Haeussler, Peter; H. Gary Greene; Andrews, Brian D.; Olaf Zielke; Dartnell, Peter

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Year Published: 2020

Permafrost hydrology drives the assimilation of old carbon by stream food webs in the Arctic

Permafrost thaw in the Arctic is mobilizing old carbon (C) from soils to aquatic ecosystems and the atmosphere. Little is known, however, about the assimilation of old C by aquatic food webs in Arctic watersheds. Here, we used C isotopes (δ13C, Δ14C) to quantify C assimilation by biota across 12 streams in arctic Alaska. Streams spanned watersheds...

O'Donnell, Jonathon A; Carey, Michael P.; Koch, Joshua C.; Xu, Xiaomei; Poulin, Brett; Walker, Jennifer; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2020

Global change-driven use of onshore habitat impacts polar bear faecal microbiota

The gut microbiota plays a critical role in host health, yet remains poorly studied in wild species. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus), key indicators of Arctic ecosystem health and environmental change, are currently affected by rapid shifts in habitat that may alter gut homeostasis. Declining sea ice has led to a divide in the southern Beaufort Sea...

Watson, Sophie; Hauffe, Heidi; Bull, Matthew; Atwood, Todd C.; McKinney, Melissa; Pindo, Massimo; Perkins, Sarah

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Year Published: 2020

Weak effects of geolocators on small birds: a meta‐analysis controlled for phylogeny and publication bias

Currently, the deployment of tracking devices is one of the most frequently used approaches to study movement ecology of birds. Recent miniaturisation of light‐level geolocators enabled studying small bird species whose migratory patterns were widely unknown. However, geolocators may reduce vital rates in tagged birds and may bias obtained...

Brlík, Vojtěch; Koleček, Jaroslav; Burgess, Malcolm; Hahn, Steffen; Humple, Diana; Krist, Milos; Ouwehand, Janne; Weiser, Emily L.; Adamik, Peter; Alves, José A.; Arlt, Debora; Barišić, Sanja; Becker, Detlef; Belda, Eduardo J.; Beran, Vaclav; Both, Christiaan; Bravo, Susana P.; Briedis, Martins; Bohumír, Chutný; Ćiković, Davor; Cooper, Nathan W.; Costa, Joana S.; Cueto, Víctor R.; Emmenegger, Tamara; Fraser, Kevin; Gilg, Olivier; Guerrero, Marina; Hallworth, Michael T.; Hewson, Chris; Jiguet, Frédéric; Johnson, James; Kelly, Tosha; Kishkinev, Dmitry; Leconte, Michel; Lislevand, Terje; Lisovski, Simeon; López, Cosme; McFarland, Kent P.; Marra, Peter P.; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Matyjasiak. Piotr; Meier, Christoph M.; Metzger, Benjamin; Monrós, Juan S.; Neumann, Roland; Newman, Amy; Norris, Ryan; Pärt, Tomas; Pavel, Václav; Perlut, Noah; Piha, Markus; Reneerkens, Jeroen; Rimmer, Christopher C.; Roberto-Charro, Amélie; Scandolara, Chiara; Sokolova, Natalia; Takenaka, Makiko; Tolkmitt, Dirk; van Oosten, Herman; Wellbrock, Arndt H. J.; Wheeler, Hazel; van der Winden, Jan; Witte, Klaudia; Woodworth, Brad; Procházka, Petr

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Year Published: 2020

Using redundant primer sets to detect multiple native Alaskan fish species from environmental DNA

Accurate and timely data regarding freshwater fish communities is important for informed decision-making by local, state, tribal, and federal land and resource managers; however, conducting traditional gear-based fish surveys can be an expensive and time-consuming process, particularly in remote areas, like those that characterize much of Alaska....

Menning, Damian M.; Simmons, Trey; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2019

Future directions in sea otter research and management

The conservation and management of sea otters has benefited from a dedicated research effort over the past 60 years enabling this species to recover from a few thousand in the early 20th century to about 150,000 today. Continued research to allow full, pre-exploitation recovery and restoration of nearshore ecosystems should focus on at least seven...

Davis, Randall W.; Bodkin, James L.; Coletti, Heather A.; Monson, Daniel; Larson, Shawn E.; Carswell, Lilian P.; Nichol, Linda M.

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Year Published: 2019

Preliminary geologic map of the Greater Antilles and the Virgin Islands

IntroductionThis geologic map of the Greater Antilles and the Virgin Islands is a compilation of information from the literature, integrated to provide a seamless geologic map of the region. The geology shown on sheet 1 covers Cuba, the island of Hispaniola, which includes Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico...

Wilson, Frederic H.; Orris, Greta; Gray, Floyd
Wilson, F.H., Orris, G., and Gray, F., 2019, Preliminary geologic map of the Greater Antilles and the Virgin Islands: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1036, pamphlet 50 p., 2 sheets, scales 1:2,500,000 and 1:300,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191036.

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Year Published: 2019

Limited detection of antibodies to clade 2.3.4.4 A/Goose/Guangdong/1/1996 lineage highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza virus in North American waterfowl

During 2014, highly pathogenic (HP) influenza A viruses (IAVs) of the A/Goose/Guangdong/1/1996 lineage (GsGD-HP-H5), originating from Asia, were detected in domestic poultry and wild birds in Canada and the US. These clade 2.3.4.4 GsGD-HP-H5 viruses included reassortants possessing North American lineage gene segments; were detected in wild birds...

Stallknecht, David E.; Kienzle-Dean, Clara; Davis-Fields, Nick; Jennelle, Christopher S.; Bowman, Andrew S.; Nolting, Jacqueline M.; Boyce, Walter; Crum, James; Santos, Jefferson; Brown, Justin D.; Prosser, Diann; De La Cruz, Susan E. W.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Casazza, Michael L.; Krauss, Scott; Perez, Daniel; Ramey, Andrew M.; Poulson, Rebecca L.

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Year Published: 2019

Monitoring boreal avian populations: How can we estimate trends and trajectories from noisy data?

Substantial effort has been dedicated to developing reliable monitoring schemes for North American bird populations, but our ability to monitor bird populations in the boreal forest remains limited because of the sparsity of long-term data sets, particularly in northerly regions. Given the importance of the boreal forest for many migratory birds,...

Roy, Christian; Michel, Nicole L; Handel, Colleen M.; Van Wilgenburg, Steven; Burkhalter, Curtis; Gurney, Kirsty A B; Messmer, David; Prince, Karine; Rushing, Clark S; Saracco, James E; Schuster, Richard; Smith, Adam C.; Smith, Paul A; Solymos, Peter; Venier, Lisa A; Zuckerberg, Benjamin

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Year Published: 2019

Recovery planning in a dynamic system: Integrating uncertainty into a decision support tool for an endangered songbird

Along the Santa Clara River in California, populations of the federally and state-listed Least Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus) are recovering from near extirpation. Habitat protection and restoration, as well as controlling rates of brood parasitism, are thought to be the primary drivers of this recovery. Continuing successful management of...

Stanton, Jessica; Marek, Jenny; Hall, Linnea S.; Kus, Barbara E.; Alvarado, Allison; Orr, Bruce K.; Morrissette, Eric; Riege, Laura; Thogmartin, Wayne 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: 983
Hot springs and hot muddy pools (Alaska) caused by geothermal activity underground.
March 8, 2018

Hot springs (Alaska) caused by geothermal activity underground.

Hot springs can occur in many parts of the world. The water is hot not due to climate, but rather due to geothermal activity underground, such as volcanic activity or active hydrothermal heating from hot material in the ground. Hot springs result from water heated by underground geothermal activity finding its way to the land surface. 

This hot spring is located in

...
Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
March 5, 2018

Polar Bear Collar Cam B-Roll 2014, 2015, 2016

Exciting polar bear cam b-roll footage from the bear’s perspective from 2014, 2015, and 2016. The USGS Alaska Science Center Polar Bear Research Project conducts long-term research on polar bears to inform, local, state, national and international policy makers regarding conservation and management of the species and its habitat. The USGS’s studies are primarily focused on

Four people around a table
February 19, 2018

Sampling sea floor sediment cores from along the Queen Charlotte Fault

USGS and Geological Survey of Canada scientists sample sediment cores collected from the sea floor along the Queen Charlotte Fault. This was taken while they were working with (or in) the Geological Survey of Canada. The researchers are, from left to right: Amy East, Research Geologist, USGS Pacific Coastal Marine Science Center (PCMSC); Tom Lorenson, Physical Scientist,

...
A repeating animated GIF showing a walrus scratching it's side.
February 14, 2018

Walrus Itch

An animated GIF showing a Pacific Walrus scratching/rubbing themselves on their side with their "eye" rolling. The animation repeats in a reverse-motion.

Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
Image shows a river winding through a green landscape
December 31, 2017

Fish Creek Watershed in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Fish Creek wanders through the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 22.8 million acre region managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Alaska's North Slope. USGS has periodically assessed oil and gas resource potential there. These assessments can be found here.

Image shows squares of permafrost
December 31, 2017

Permafrost in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Permafrost forms a grid-like pattern in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 22.8 million acre region managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Alaska's North Slope. USGS has periodically assessed oil and gas resource potential there. These assessments can be found here.

Map of coastline showing lines that ships followed, collecting data along the way, near labeled sites of earthquakes.
December 31, 2017

Research vessel tracklines offshore of southeast Alaska

Tracklines along which R/V Ocean Starr (2017, red lines) and R/V Norseman (2016, black lines) conducted seismic-reflection surveys, overlaid on high-resolution bathymetry (color background). Yellow stars represent earthquakes of magnitude (M) 7 and greater since 1900. Short yellow lines are locations of seismic-reflection profiles (shown below) along 

...
Emperor geese standing near the shoreline on Kodiak Island
December 31, 2017

Emperor geese near Kodiak.

Emperor geese gathered near the shoreline on Kodiak Island.

Glacier off Sargent Icefield
December 31, 2017

Glacier off Sargent Icefield

Landscape view of an un-named glacier off the Sargent Icefield, directly across from Wolverine Glacier, above the Nellie Juan River, in Alaska. Taken during a visit to a wolverine glacier field site as part of a study to examine how alpine areas are changing as temperatures rise in Alaska. 

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

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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

...

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 253
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. 

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.

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.