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

Regions L2 Landing Page Tabs

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: 2018

Den phenology and reproductive success of polar bears in a changing climate

Synchrony between reproduction and food availability is important in mammals due to the high energetic costs of gestation and lactation. Female polar bears (Ursus maritimus) must accumulate sufficient energy reserves during spring through autumn to produce and nurse cubs during the winter months in snow dens. Adequate time in a den is important to...

Rode, Karyn D.; Olson, Jay; Eggett, Dennis L.; Douglas, David C.; Durner, George M.; Atwood, Todd C.; Regehr, Eric V.; Wilson, Ryan R.; Smith, Tom; St. Martin, Michelle
Rode, K.D., J. Olson, D. Eggett, D.C. Douglas, G.M. Durner, T.C. Atwood, E.V. Regehr, R.R. Wilson, T. Smith, and M.St. Martin. 2018. Denning phenology and polar bear reproductive success in a changing climate. Journal of Mammalogy 99:16-26.

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Year Published: 2018

A global audit of the status and trends of Arctic and Northern Hemisphere goose populations

This report attempts to review the abundance, status and distribution of natural wild goose populations in the northern hemisphere. The report comprises three parts that 1) summarise key findings from the study and the methodology and analysis applied; 2) contain the individual accounts for each of the 68 populations included in this report; and 3...

Fox, Anthony D.; Leafloor, James O.; Schmutz, Joel A.
CAFF. 2018. A Global audit of the status and trends of Arctic and Northern Hemisphere goose population. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna International Secretariat, Akureyri, Iceland. ISBN 978-9935-431-66-0

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Year Published: 2018

Long‐term trends in fall age ratios of black brant

Accurate estimates of the age composition of populations can inform past reproductive success and future population trajectories. We examined fall age ratios (juveniles:total birds) of black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans; brant) staging at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge near the tip of the Alaska Peninsula, southwest Alaska, USA, 1963 to 2015...

Ward, David H.; Amundson, Courtney L.; Stehn, Robert A.; Dau, Christian P.
Ward, D. H., Amundson, C. L., Stehn, R. A. and Dau, C. P. (2018), Long‐term trends in fall age ratios of black brant. Jour. Wild. Mgmt., 82: 362-373. doi:10.1002/jwmg.21388

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Year Published: 2018

Summary of wildlife-related research on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, 2002–17

We summarize recent (2002–17) publicly available information from studies within the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as well as terrestrial and coastal ecosystems elsewhere on the Arctic Coastal Plain that are relevant to the 1002 Area. This report provides an update on earlier research summaries on caribou (Rangifer tarandus),...

Pearce, John M.; Flint, Paul L.; Atwood, Todd C.; Douglas, David C.; Adams, Layne G.; Johnson, Heather E.; Arthur, Stephen M.; Latty, Christopher J.
Pearce, J.M., Flint, P.L., Atwood, T.C., Douglas, D.C., Adams, L.G., Johnson, H.E., Arthur, S.M., and Latty, C.J., 2018, Summary of wildlife-related research on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, 2002–17: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1003, 27 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181003.

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Year Published: 2018

International migration patterns of Red-throated Loons (Gavia stellata) from four breeding populations in Alaska

Identifying post-breeding migration and wintering distributions of migratory birds is important for understanding factors that may drive population dynamics. Red-throated Loons (Gavia stellata) are widely distributed across Alaska and currently have varying population trends, including some populations with recent periods of decline. To...

McCloskey, Sarah E.; Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Fondell, Thomas F.
McCloskey, S. E., B. D. Uher-Koch, J. A. Schmutz, and T. F. Fondell. 2017. International migration patterns of Red-throated Loons (Gavia stellata) from four breeding populations in Alaska. PLoS One 13(1):e0189954. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0189954

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Year Published: 2018

Nutrient dynamics in partially drained arctic thaw lakes

Thaw lakes are ubiquitous on arctic coastal plains (ACPs). While many thaw lakes have steep banks, stable water levels, and static surface areas, others only partially fill their basins and vary in area over the summer. These partially drained lakes (PDLs) are hydrologically connected to the wetlands immediately surrounding them. Heat and nutrient...

Koch, Joshua C.; Fondell, Tom F.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Laske, Sarah M.

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Year Published: 2018

Effects of environmental conditions on reproductive effort and nest success of Arctic‐breeding shorebirds

The Arctic is experiencing rapidly warming conditions, increasing predator abundance, and diminishing population cycles of keystone species such as lemmings. However, it is still not known how many Arctic animals will respond to a changing climate with altered trophic interactions. We studied clutch size, incubation duration and nest survival of...

Weiser, Emily L.; Brown, Stephen C.; Lanctot, Richard B.; Gates, H. River; Abraham, Kenneth F.; Bentzen, Rebecca L.; Bety, Joel; Boldenow, Megan L.; Brook, Rodney W.; Donnelly, Tyrone F.; English, Willow B.; Flemming, Scott A.; Franks, Samantha E.; Gilchrist, H. Grant; Giroux, Marie-Andree; Johnson, Andrew; Kendall, Steve; Kennedy, Lisa V.; Koloski, Laura; Kwon, Eunbi; Lamarre, Jean-Francois; Lank, David B.; Latty, Christopher J.; Lecomte, Nicolas; Liebezeit, Joseph R.; McKinnon, Laura; Nol, Erica; Perz, Johanna; Rausch, Jennie; Robards, Martin D.; Saalfeld, Sarah T.; Senner, Nathan R.; Smith, Paul A.; Soloviev, Mikhail; Solovyeva, Diana V.; Ward, David H.; Woodard, Paul F.; Sandercock, Brett K.

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Year Published: 2018

Demography of the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) in a changing Arctic

The Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) is a candidate to be listed as an endangered species under United States law, in part, because of climate change‐related concerns. While the population was known to be declining in the 1980s and 1990s, its recent status has not been determined. We developed Bayesian models of walrus population...

Taylor, Rebecca L.; Udevitz, Mark S.; Jay, Chadwick V.; Citta, John J.; Quakenbush, Lori T.; Lemons, Patrick R.; Snyder, Jonathan A.
Taylor, R.L., and Udevitz, M.S. 2015. Marine Mammal Science, vol. 31, no. 1, p. 231-254. doi: 10.1111/mms.12156

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Year Published: 2018

Environmental and ecological conditions at Arctic breeding sites have limited effects on true survival rates of adult shorebirds

Many Arctic shorebird populations are declining, and quantifying adult survival and the effects of anthropogenic factors is a crucial step toward a better understanding of population dynamics. We used a recently developed, spatially explicit Cormack–Jolly–Seber model in a Bayesian framework to obtain broad-scale estimates of true annual survival...

Weiser, Emily L.; Lanctot, Richard B.; Brown, Stephen C.; Gates, H. River; Bentzen, Rebecca L.; Bêty, Joël; Boldenow, Megan L.; English, Willow B.; Franks, Samantha E.; Koloski, Laura; Kwon, Eunbi; Lamarre, Jean-Francois; Lank, David B.; Liebezeit, Joseph R.; McKinnon, Laura; Nol, Erica; Rausch, Jennie; Saalfeld, Sarah T.; Senner, Nathan R.; Ward, David H.; Woodard, Paul F.; Sandercock, Brett K.
Weiser, E. L., R. B. Lanctot, S. C. Brown, H. R. Gates, R. L. Bentzen, J. Bêty, M. L. Boldenow, W. B. English, S. E. Franks, L. Koloski, E. Kwon, J-F. Lamarre, D. B. Lank, J. R. Liebezeit, L. McKinnon, E. Nol, J. Rausch, S. T. Saalfeld, N. R. Senner, D. H. Ward, P. F. Woodard, and B. K. Sandercock. 2018. Environmental and ecological conditions at Arctic breeding sites have limited effects on true survival rates of adult shorebirds. The Auk 135(1):29-43. doi:10.1642/AUK-17-107.1

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Year Published: 2018

Patterns and controls of mercury accumulation in sediments from three thermokarst lakes on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska

The biogeochemical cycle of mercury will be influenced by climate change, particularly at higher latitudes. Investigations of historical mercury accumulation in lake sediments inform future predictions as to how climate change might affect mercury biogeochemistry; however, in regions with a paucity of data, such as the thermokarst-rich Arctic...

Burke, Samantha M.; Zimmerman, Christian E.; Branfireun, Brian A.; Koch, Joshua C.; Swanson, Heidi K.

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Year Published: 2018

The nitrogen window for arctic herbivores: plant phenology and protein gain of migratory caribou (Rangifer tarandus)

Terrestrial plants are often limited by nitrogen (N) in arctic systems, but constraints of N supply on herbivores are typically considered secondary to those of energy. We tested the hypothesis that forage N is more limiting than energy for arctic caribou by collecting key forages (three species of graminoids, three species of woody browse, and...

Barboza, Perry S.; Van Someren, Lindsay L.; Gustine, David D.; Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia
Barboza, P. S., L. L. Van Someren, D. D. Gustine, and M. S. Bret‐Harte. 2018. The nitrogen window for arctic herbivores: plant phenology and protein gain of migratory caribou (Rangifer tarandus). Ecosphere 9(1):e02073. 10.1002/ecs2.2073

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Year Published: 2018

Effects of climate change on ecological disturbance in the northern Rockies

Disturbances alter ecosystem, community, or population structure and change elements of the biological and/or physical environment. Climate changes can alter the timing, magnitude, frequency, and duration of disturbance events, as well as the interactions of disturbances on a landscape, and climate change may already be affecting disturbance...

Halofsky, Jessica E.; Peterson, David L.; Loehman, Rachel A.; Bentz, Barbara J.; DeNitto, Gregg A.; Keane, Robert E.; Manning, Mary E.; Duncan, Jacob P.; Egan, Joel M.; Jackson, Marcus B.; Kegley, Sandra; Lockman, I. Blakey; Pearson, Dean E.; Powell, James A.; Shelly, Steve; Steed, Brytten E.; Zambino, Paul J.
Loehman, R.A., Bentz, B.J., DeNitto, G.A., Keane, R.E., Manning, M.E., Duncan, J.P., Egan, J.M., Jackson, M.B., Kegley, S., Lockman, I.B., Pearson, D.E., Powell, J.A., Shelly, S., Steed, B.E., and Zambino, P.J., 2017, Effects of climate change on ecological disturbance in the Northern Rockies, pages 115-141 in Halofsky, J.E. and Peterson, D.L., eds. Climate Change and Rocky Mountain Ecosystems; A Regional Assessment: Springer, Advances in Global Change Research, vol. 63. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-56928-4_7

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
Kittlittz's Murrelet flying above the water in Cook Inlet, Alaska
July 4, 2016

Kittlittz's Murrelet flying above the water in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Kittlittz's Murrelet flying above the water in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Biologists catching forage fish with a cast net in Prince William Sound
July 2, 2016

Biologists with cast net caught forage fish in Prince William Sound

Brielle Heflin and Sarah Schoen catching forage fish with a cast net in Prince William Sound.

Black-legged Kittiwake captured 2 Pacific sand lance
July 1, 2016

Black-legged Kittiwake captured 2 Pacific sand lance

Black-legged Kittiwake captured 2 Pacific sand lance.

2 Black-legged Kittiwakes, one captured Pacific sand lance
July 1, 2016

Black-legged Kittiwakes foraging on Pacific sand lance

Black-legged Kittiwakes foraging on Pacific sand lance

Black-legged Kittiwake captured Pacific sand lance above the water
July 1, 2016

Black-legged Kittiwake foraging on Pacific sand lance

Black-legged Kittiwakes foraging on Pacific sand lance.

An owl perched on an old log
July 1, 2016

Short-eared Owl on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska

Short-eared Owl.  This photo was taken on the Seward Peninsula as part of the Changing Arctic Ecosystem Boreal-Arctic Transition Zone program.

Gulls using beach at the mouth of Kenai River during the personal use dipnet fishery for sockeye salmon.
June 30, 2016

Kenai River during the personal use dipnet fishery for sockeye salmon.

Gulls using beach at the mouth of Kenai River during the personal use dipnet fishery for sockeye salmon; photo taken during sampling trip in July 2016.

John Reed (USGS scientist) holding a gull marked with a satellite transmitter at the Soldotna landfill in June 2016
June 30, 2016

A gull marked with a satellite transmitter at the Soldotna landfill

John Reed (USGS scientist) holding a gull marked with a satellite transmitter at the Soldotna landfill in June 2016.

A close up of a male Willow Ptarmigan
June 30, 2016

A male Willow Ptarmigan

A closeup of a male Willow Ptarmigan.

Person in a trench
June 26, 2016

Investigating a trench across the Fairweather Fault

USGS Research Geologist Chris DuRoss investigates earthquake-faulted stratigraphy exposed in a hand-dug trench across the Fairweather Fault scarp. Location: Crillon Lake, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

Two men walking on the edge of a thin forest
June 22, 2016

Walking along the Fairweather Fault scarp

USGS scientists Adrian Bender and Peter Haeussler walk along the base of a ~10 m tall escarpment formed during past ground-rupturing earthquakes on the Fairweather Fault. Location: Crillon Lake, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

A person in a forest of tall trees
June 20, 2016

Surveying the Fairweather Fault trace

USGS Geologist Adrian Bender surveys a trace of the 1958 Fairweather Fault earthquake surface rupture. The trace forms a linear, uphill-facing, 1-2 m tall escarpment flanked by trees that were likely tilted during the 1958 earthquake. Location: Crillon Lake, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

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.