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: 2,528
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Year Published: 2018

Avian keratin disorder of Alaska black-capped chickadees is associated with Poecivirus infection

BackgroundAvian keratin disorder (AKD) is an epizootic of debilitating beak deformities, first documented in black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) in Alaska during the late 1990s. Similar deformities have now been recorded in dozens of species of birds across multiple continents. Despite this, the etiology of AKD has remained elusive,...

Zylberberg, Maxine; Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Handel, Colleen M.; DeRisi, Joseph L.
Zylberberg, M., Van Hemert, C., Handel, C.M., and DeRisi, J.L., 2018, Avian keratin disorder of Alaska black-capped chickadees is associated with Poecivirus infection. Virology Journal 15:100, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12985-018-1008-5

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Year Published: 2018

Energetic costs of locomotion in bears: is plantigrade locomotion energetically economical?

Ursids are the largest mammals to retain a plantigrade posture. This primitive posture has been proposed to result in reduced locomotor speed and economy relative to digitigrade and unguligrade species, particularly at high speeds. Previous energetics research on polar bears (Ursus maritimus) found locomotor costs were more than double predictions...

Pagano, Anthony M.; Carnahan, Anthony M.; Robbins, Charles T.; Owen, Megan A.; Batson, Tammy; Wagner, Nate; Cutting, Amy; Nicassio-Hiskey, Nicole; Hash, Amy; Williams, Terrie M.
Pagano, A.M., A.M. Carnahan, C.T. Robbins, M.A. Owen, T. Batson, N. Wagner, A. Cutting, N. Nicassio-Hiskey, A. Hash, and T.M. Williams. 2018. Energetic costs of locomotion in bears: Is plantigrade locomotion energetically economical? Journal of Experimental Biology 221 doi:10.1242/jeb.175372

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Year Published: 2018

Evolving environmental and geometric controls on Columbia Glacier’s continued retreat

Geometry strongly controls the dynamic behavior of marine‐terminating (tidewater) glaciers, significantly influencing advance and retreat cycles independent of climate. Yet the recent, nearly ubiquitous retreat of tidewater glaciers suggests that changes in atmospheric and oceanic forcing may also drive dynamic change. To isolate the influence of...

Enderlin, Ellyn; O'Neel, Shad; Bartholomaus, Timothy C.; Joughin, Ian

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Year Published: 2018

Mean composite fire severity metrics computed with Google Earth Engine offer improved accuracy and expanded mapping potential

Landsat-based fire severity datasets are an invaluable resource for monitoring and research purposes. These gridded fire severity datasets are generally produced with pre-and post-fire imagery to estimate the degree of fire-induced ecological change. Here, we introduce methods to produce three Landsat-based fire severity metrics using the Google...

Parks, Sean; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Voss, Morgan; Loehman, Rachel A.; Robinson, Nathaniel P.
Parks, S.A., Holsinger, L.M., Voss, M.A., Loehman, R.A., and Robinson, N.P. 2018. Mean composite fire severity metrics computed with Google Earth Engine offer improved accuracy and expanded mapping potential. Remote Sensing 10(6),879, doi:10.3390/rs10060879.

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Year Published: 2018

Variation in age ratio of midcontinent greater white-fronted geese during fall migration

Annual productivity is an important parameter for the management of waterfowl populations. Fall age ratio (juveniles:total birds) is an index of productivity of the preceding breeding season. However, differences in the timing of migration between family groups and nonbreeding birds may bias age-ratio estimates. We examined temporal variation in...

Schock, Wade G.; Fischer, Julian B.; Ely, Craig R.; Stehn, Robert A.; Welker, Jeffery M.; Causey, Douglas
Schock WG, Fischer JB, Ely CR, Stehn RA, Welker JM, Causey D. 2018. Variation in age ratio of midcontinent greater white-fronted geese during fall migration at a northern staging area. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 9(1):xxxx; e1944-687X. https://doi.org/10.3996/112015-JFWM-117

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Year Published: 2018

A multi-species synthesis of satellite telemetry data in the Pacific Arctic (1987–2015): Overlap of marine mammal distributions and core use areas

We collated available satellite telemetry data for six species of ice-associated marine mammals in the Pacific Arctic: ringed seals (Pusa hispida; n = 118), bearded seals(Erignathus barbatus, n = 51), spotted seals (Phoca largha, n = 72), Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens, n = 389); bowhead whales (...

Citta, John J.; Lowry, Lloyd F.; Quakenbush, Lori T.; Kelly, Brendan P.; Fischbach, Anthony S.; London, Josh M.; Jay, Chadwick V.; Frost, Kathryn J.; Crowe, Gregory O'Corry; Crawford, Justin A.; Boveng, Peter L.; Cameron, Michael; Von Duyke, Andrew L.; Nelson, Mark; Harwood, Lois A.; Richard, Pierre; Suydam, Robert; Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter; Hobbs, Roderick C.; Litovka, Dennis I.; Marcoux, Marianne; Whiting, Alex; Kennedy, Amy S.; George, John C.; Orr, Jack; Gray, Tom

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Year Published: 2018

Whole-genome analysis of Mustela erminea finds that pulsed hybridization impacts evolution at high latitudes

At high latitudes, climatic shifts hypothetically initiate recurrent episodes of divergence by isolating populations in glacial refugia—ice-free regions that enable terrestrial species persistence. Upon glacial recession, populations subsequently expand and often come into contact with other independently diverging populations, resulting in gene...

Colella, Jocelyn P.; Lan, Tianying; Schuster, Stephen C.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Cook, Joseph A.; Lindqvist, Charlotte

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Year Published: 2018

Remotely sensing the morphometrics and dynamics of a cold region dune field using historical aerial photography and airborne LiDAR data

This study uses an airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey, historical aerial photography and historical climate data to describe the character and dynamics of the Nogahabara Sand Dunes, a sub-Arctic dune field in interior Alaska’s discontinuous permafrost zone. The Nogahabara Sand Dunes consist of a 43-km2 area of active...

Baughman, Carson; Jones, Benjamin M.; Bodony, Karin L.; Mann, Daniel H.; Larsen, Christopher F.; Himmelstoss, Emily A.; Smith, Jeremy

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Year Published: 2018

The Mystic subterrane (partly) demystified: New data from the Farewell terrane and adjacent rocks, interior Alaska

The youngest part of the Farewell terrane in interior Alaska (USA) is the enigmatic Devonian–Cretaceous Mystic subterrane. New U-Pb detrital zircon, fossil, geochemical, neodymium isotopic, and petrographic data illuminate the origin of the rocks of this subterrane. The Devonian–Permian Sheep Creek Formation yielded youngest detrital zircons of...

Dumoulin, Julie A.; Jones, James V.; Box, Stephen E.; Bradley, Dwight C.; Ayuso, Robert A.; O'Sullivan, Paul B.

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Year Published: 2018

Alaska snowpack response to climate change: Statewide snowfall equivalent and snowpack water scenarios

Climatically driven changes in snow characteristics (snowfall, snowpack, and snowmelt) will affect hydrologic and ecological systems in Alaska over the coming century, yet there exist no projections of downscaled future snow pack metrics for the state of Alaska. We updated historical and projected snow day fraction (PSF, the fraction of days with...

Littell, Jeremy S.; McAfee, Stephanie A.; Hayward, Gregory D.
Littell, J.S.; McAfee, S.A.; Hayward, G.D. Alaska Snowpack Response to Climate Change: Statewide Snowfall Equivalent and Snowpack Water Scenarios. Water 2018, 10, 668.

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Year Published: 2018

Body size and lean mass of brown bears across and within four diverse ecosystems

Variation in body size across populations of brown bears (Ursus arctos) is largely a function of the availability and quality of nutritional resources while plasticity within populations reflects utilized niche width with implications for population resiliency. We assessed skull size, body length, and lean mass of adult female and male brown...

Hilderbrand, Grant V.; Gustine, David; Mangipane, Buck A.; Joly, Kyle; Leacock, William; Mangipane, Lindsey S.; Erlenbach, Joy; Sorum, Mathew; Cameron, Matthew; Belant, Jerrold L.; Cambier, Troy
Hilderbrand, G. V., D. D. Gustine, B. Mangipane, K. Joly, W. Leacock, L. Mangipane, J. Erlenbach, M. S. Sorum, M. D. Cameron, J. L. Belant, and T. Cambier. 2018. Body size and lean mass of brown bears across and within four diverse ecosystems. Journal of Zoology 305:53-62. DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12536.

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Year Published: 2018

Design considerations for estimating survival rates with standing age structures

Survival rate estimates are critical to understanding the dynamics and status of a population, and they are often inferred from samples of the population’s age structure. A recently developed method uses time series of standing age-structure data with information about population growth rate or fecundity to provide explicit maximum likelihood...

Taylor, Rebecca L.; Udevitz, Mark S.
Taylor, R.L., and M.S. Udevitz. 2018. Design considerations for estimating survival rates with standing age structures. Wildlife Society Bulletin 42(1):32–39; DOI: 10.1002/wsb.858

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
Copper River bridge
July 14, 2016

Copper River bridge

Copper River bridge

A Horned Puffin flying over the water
July 14, 2016

A Horned Puffin flying

A Horned Puffin flying

Molybdenite mineral coating on a fractured surface in Tertiary granite north of Lake Clark
July 14, 2016

Molybdenite mineral coating on a fractured surface

Molybdenite mineral coating on a fractured surface in Tertiary granite north of Lake Clark

Horned Puffin, one of the species affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK
July 14, 2016

Horned Puffin, near Chisik Island in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska

Horned Puffin, one of the species affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK. Near Chisik Island in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska

A Horned Puffin flying over the water
July 14, 2016

A Horned Puffin flying over the water

A Horned Puffin flying over the water

Geologists discuss big picture geology of Lake Clark National Park
July 9, 2016

Geologists discuss big picture geology of Lake Clark National Park

USGS research geologists Jamey Jones (left) and Erin Todd (right) discuss the "big picture" geology in their project area in and around Lake Clark National Park. Redoubt volcano in background left; baseball-sized cobbles on ground at researchers feet are pumice cobbles from the 2009(?) eruption of Redoubt volcano. 

Geologist collects sample with helicopter in background, Lake Clark
July 9, 2016

Geologist collects sample with helicopter in background, Lake Clark

Jamey Jones collects a sample of Talkeenta Formation volcaniclastic sandstone for detrital zircon geochronology. 

A scenic of Cabin Bay on Naked Island in Prince William Sound
July 7, 2016

Cabin Bay on Naked Island in Prince William Sound

A scenic of Cabin Bay on Naked Island in Prince William Sound

Three Arctic Terns sitting on a log in the water in Prince William Sound
July 6, 2016

Three Arctic Terns sitting on a log in Prince William Sound

Three Arctic Terns sitting on a log floating in the water in Prince William Sound.

Schools (shadows along the shore) of Pacific sand lance in Cabin Bay, Prince William Sound
July 6, 2016

Schools of Pacific sand lance in Cabin Bay, Prince William Sound

Schools (shadows along the shore) of Pacific sand lance in Cabin Bay, Prince William Sound

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.

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.