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 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: 2,445
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Year Published: 2018

Flyway structure in the circumpolar greater white‐fronted goose

Dispersal and migratory behavior are influential factors in determining how genetic diversity is distributed across the landscape. In migratory species, genetic structure can be promoted via several mechanisms including fidelity to distinct migratory routes. Particularly within North America, waterfowl management units have been delineated...

Wilson, Robert E.; Ely, Craig R.; Talbot, Sandra L.
Wilson RE, Ely CR, Talbot SL. Flyway structure in the circumpolar greater white‐fronted goose. Ecol Evol. 2018;00:1–18. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4345

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Year Published: 2018

A transcriptome resource for the Arctic Cod (Boreogadus saida)

Arctic Cod (Boreogadus saida) serve as an important link in Arctic food webs and are thus considered an important species for environmental monitoring. RNA-Seq was conducted on samples from wild-collected individuals representing various age classes and tissue types to obtain as complete a transcriptome as possible on an Illumina MiSeq, which...

Wilson, Robert E.; Menning, Damian M.; Wedemeyer, Kate; Talbot, Sandra L.
Wilson, R.E., D.M. Menning, K. Wedemeyer, S.L. Talbot. 2018. A transcriptome resource for the Arctic Cod (Boreogadus saida), Marine Genomics, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.margen.2018.03.003

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Year Published: 2018

Liverworts from Attu Island, Near Islands, Aleutian Islands, Alaska (USA) with comparison to the Commander Islands (Russia)

The liverwort flora of Attu Island, the westernmost Aleutian Island in the United States, was studied to assess species diversity in the hyperoceanic sector of the northern boreal subzone. The field study was undertaken in sites selected to represent a spectrum of environmental variation, primarily within the eastern part of the island. Data were...

Talbot, Stephen S.; Schofield, Wilfred B.; Váňa, Jiří; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2018

Sex-specific variation in denning by brown bears

Denning characteristics of brown bears (Ursus arctos) have been described in numerous studies; however, population specific factors (i.e., landscape characteristics and climate) can greatly influence the location and timing of denning. Our objective was to evaluate den-site characteristics and denning chronology for male and female brown...

Mangipane, Lindsey; Belant, Jerrold L.; Mangipane, Buck; Gustine, David; Hilderbrand, Grant V.

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Year Published: 2018

Pliocene erosional pulse and glacier-landscape feedbacks in the western Alaska Range

Pliocene–Pleistocene glaciation modified the topography and erosion of most middle- and high-latitude mountain belts, because the evolution of catchment topography controls long-term glacier mass balance and erosion. Hence, characterizing how erosion rates change during repeated glaciations can help test hypothesized glacier erosion-landscape...

Lease, Richard O.
Lease, Richard O., 2018, Pliocene erosional pulse and glacier-landscape feedbacks in the western Alaska Range: Earth and Planetary Science Letters

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Year Published: 2018

Landscape genetics identifies streams and drainage infrastructure as dispersal corridors for an endangered wetland bird

Anthropogenic alterations to landscape structure and composition can have significant impacts on biodiversity, potentially leading to species extinctions. Population‐level impacts of landscape change are mediated by animal behaviors, in particular dispersal behavior. Little is known about the dispersal habits of rails (Rallidae) due to their...

van Rees, Charles B.; Reed, J. Michael; Wilson, Robert E.; Underwood, Jared G.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.

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Year Published: 2018

Climate change and future wildfire in the western USA: An ecological approach to nonstationarity

We developed ecologically based climate‐fire projections for the western United States. Using a finer ecological classification and fire‐relevant climate predictors, we created statistical models linking climate and wildfire area burned for ecosections, which are geographic delineations based on biophysical variables. The results indicate a...

Littell, Jeremy S.; McKenzie, Donald; Wan, Ho Yi; Cushman, Samuel A.
Littell, J. S., McKenzie, D., Wan, H. Y., & Cushman, S. A. (2018). Climate change and future wildfire in the western United States: An ecological approach to nonstationarity. Earth's Future, 6, 1097–1111. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EF000878

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Year Published: 2018

Lactation and resource limitation affect stress responses, thyroid hormones, immune function, and antioxidant capacity of sea otters (Enhydra lutris)

Lactation is the most energetically demanding stage of reproduction in female mammals. Increased energetic allocation toward current reproduction may result in fitness costs, although the mechanisms underlying these trade‐offs are not well understood. Trade‐offs during lactation may include reduced energetic allocation to cellular maintenance,...

Chinn, Sarah M.; Monson, Daniel; Tinker, M. Tim; Staedler, Michelle M.; Crocker, Daniel E.

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Year Published: 2018

Biogeography of pelagic food webs in the North Pacific

The tufted puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) is a generalist seabird that breeds throughout the North Pacific and eats more than 75 different prey species. Using puffins as samplers, we characterized the geographic variability in pelagic food webs across the subarctic North Pacific from the composition of ~10,000 tufted puffin meals (~56,000 prey items...

Piatt, John F.; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Sydeman, William J.; Thompson, Sarah Ann; Renner, Heather; Zador, Stephani; Douglas, David C.; Hatch, Scott A.; Kettle, Arthur B.; Williams, Jeffrey C.
Piatt, J.F., Arimitsu, M.L., Sydeman, W.J., Thompson, S.A., Renner, H., Zador, S., Douglas, D., Hatch, S., Kettle, A., and Williams, J., 2018. Biogeography of pelagic food webs in the North Pacific: Fisheries Oceanography, vol. 27, no. 4, p. 366-380. doi: 10.1111/fog.12258

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Year Published: 2018

Comparative nest survival of three sympatric loon species breeding in the Arctic

Identifying factors influencing nest survival among sympatric species is important for understanding and managing sources of variation in population dynamics of individual species. Three species of loons nest sympatrically in northern Alaska and differ in body size, life history characteristics, and population trends. We tested the effects of...

Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Koch, Joshua C.; Wright, Kenneth G.; Schmutz, Joel A.
Uher-Koch, BD, JC Koch, KW Wright, and JA Schmutz. 2018. Comparative nest survival of three sympatric loon species breeding in the Arctic. Journal of Avian Biology doi: 10.1111/jav.01671.

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Year Published: 2018

Influence of landscape structure, topography, and forest type on spatial variation in historical fire regimes, central Oregon, USA

Context In the interior Northwest, debate over restoring mixed-conifer forests after a century of fire exclusion is hampered by poor understanding of the pattern and causes of spatial variation in historical fire regimes. Objectives To identify the roles of topography, landscape structure, and forest type in driving spatial variation in...

Merschel, Andrew; Heyerdahl, Emily K.; Spies, Thomas A.; Loehman, Rachel A.
Merschel, A.G., Heyerdahl, E.K., Spies, T.A. et al. Influence of landscape structure, topography, and forest type on spatial variation in historical fire regimes, central Oregon, USA. Landscape Ecol (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-018-0656-6

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Year Published: 2018

Effect of climate change on disease spread in wildlife

A growing body of evidence indicates that climate change alone, or acting synergistically with current anthropogenic threats, is affecting the health of wild populations of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. Measurable by-products of climate change include elevated atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, higher average global temperatures;...

Hofmeister, Erik K.; Van Hemert, Caroline R.
Fowler's Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine Current Therapy, Volume 9, Edited by R. Eric Miller,, Nadine Lamberski, and Paul Calle. 2018

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
Two people stand on a coastal bluff wearing heavy coats and hoods to keep warm, with waves crashing in the distance.
September 18, 2016

Coastal bluff study site prep

Two scientists on the Arctic coastal bluff preparing a study location with cameras that they hope will run continuously, collecting images.

Polar bear appears to walk on top of rippled gray water. Just behind it are very large breaking waves below a gray-blue sky.
September 18, 2016

Polar bear walks across flooded barrier island during Arctic storm

Adult polar bear walking across a recently overwashed barrier island during a large Arctic storm in September 2016. The barrier island is offshore of Barter Island on Alaska’s north coast. Polar bears typically rest on the barrier islands during the day and transit to the "bone pile" on Barter Island in the evenings to feast on whale carcass remnants supplied by local

...
A shorebird walking in small rocks on a shore
September 17, 2016

Pacific Golden-Plover standing on rocks near Big Creek, Alaska

Pacific Golden-Plover standing on rocks near Big Creek, Alaska.

The Agashashok River and Asik watershed
September 15, 2016

Agashashok River and Asik watershed

The Agashashok River and Asik watershed

Tyndall Glacier, Alaska
September 6, 2016

Tyndall Glacier in Taan Fiord, Alaska

Tyndall Glacier in Taan Fiord, Alaska, is a modern day remnant of the glaciers that once flowed over the Gulf of Alaska.

Scientists operate equipment in snow-covered area.
September 6, 2016

GPR and Broadband Electromagnetic Induction

USGS scientists conduct field work in the foothills of the Brooks Range in Alaska. Hydrologist Eric White (left) is collecting ground-penetrating radar (GPR). Research Hydrologist Martin Briggs (right) is collecting broadband electromagnetic induction data. The flowing water visible in the background is groundwater discharging at a spring. (October 2016)

Example of thawing landscapes and thermokarst at our field sites
September 5, 2016

Example of thawing landscapes and thermokarst at our field sites

Example of thawing landscapes and thermokarst at our field sites

Scientist pours a dye in a pit to see how water moves through soil
September 3, 2016

Soil tracer applied on burned hillslope

Brian Ebel pours a dye tracer into a pit to observe how water moves through soils on a burned hillslope.

Scientist walking up a stream in the Agashashok River drainage
August 31, 2016

Scientist sampling a stream in the drainage of the Agashashok River

Chris Zimmerman sampling a stream in the drainage of the Agashashok River which is 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.

An aerial view of a stream in the Agashashok River watershed in the western Brooks range
August 31, 2016

An aerial view of a stream in the Agashashok River watershed

A stream type at the Boreal-Arctic transition of the Brooks Range, Noatak National Park and Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park. The stream is part of the Agashashok River watershed. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

A stream in the Agashashok River drainage
August 31, 2016

A stream in the Agashashok River watershed

A stream type at the Boreal-Arctic transition of the Brooks Range, Noatak National Park and Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park. This stream is in the Agashashok River watershed. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

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
December 6, 2002

Standard fare in geology textbooks and school classrooms across the world is that the hot springs, geysers and volcanoes of Yellowstone National Park, Hawaii, Iceland, and many other volcanic regions were "created" by plumes of hot rock that rise from near the Earth’s core. New results from recently published U.S. Geological Survey research hint, astonishingly, that such plumes may not exist.

USGS science for a changing world logo
November 8, 2002

A ShakeMap portraying the variations in shaking intensity from the Nov. 3, 2002, 7.9-magnitude earthquake was released today by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

USGS
November 8, 2002

A ShakeMap portraying the variations in shaking intensity from the Nov. 3, 2002, 7.9-magnitude earthquake was released today by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The map is the first ShakeMap produced for the state of Alaska and is considered a prototype.

USGS
November 7, 2002

Sunday’s magnitude 7.9 earthquake in central Alaska created a scar across the landscape for more than 145 miles, according to surveys conducted the past two days by geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Survey.

USGS
November 6, 2002

Sunday’s magnitude (M) 7.9 central Alaska earthquake was one of the largest recorded earthquakes in our Nation’s history. The epicenter of the Nov. 3 temblor was located approximately 75 miles (135 km) south of Fairbanks and 176 miles (283 km) north of Anchorage. 

USGS
October 25, 2002

On October 23, 2002, a strong magnitude (M) 6.7 earthquake occurred at 3:27 AM Local time 85 miles (135 km) south of Fairbanks and 172 miles (276 km) north of Anchorage. The earthquake was felt broadly, from Fairbanks in the north to Anchorage in the south, a distance of 255 miles. Because of the remote location, however, there was very little damage.

USGS
October 23, 2002

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the Castle Mountain fault in south-central Alaska may be ready to produce a strong magnitude 6 to 7 earthquake. The study, which examined the ancient earthquake history of the Castle Mountain fault, was just published in the October issue of the Geological Society of America Bulletin.

USGS science for a changing world logo
August 16, 2002

The immediate threat of overflow of water from Russell Lake caused by the advance of Hubbard Glacier, North America’s largest tidewater glacier, is over, according to reports from Dennis Trabant, a glaciologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS
August 16, 2002

The immediate threat of overflow of water from Russell Lake caused by the advance of Hubbard Glacier, North America’s largest tidewater glacier, is over, according to reports from Dennis Trabant, a glaciologist with the U.S. Geological Survey

USGS science for a changing world logo
June 18, 2002

North America’s largest calving glacier, Hubbard Glacier, is advancing and is close to blocking the entrance to Russell Fiord near Yakutat, Alaska, according to reports from Dennis Trabant, a glaciologist with the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS).

USGS
June 18, 2002

North America’s largest calving glacier, Hubbard Glacier, is advancing and is close to blocking the entrance to Russell Fiord near Yakutat, Alaska, according to reports from Dennis Trabant, a glaciologist with the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS).

USGS science for a changing world logo
May 16, 2002

U.S. Geological Survey scientists have completed a four-year re-assessment of the undiscovered oil and gas resources of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA). The re-assessment includes an economic analysis of the undiscovered oil in the NPRA and shows that the federal part of NPRA contains significant volumes of technically recoverable oil and gas resources spread over a vast area.

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.