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: 2,445
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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

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Year Published: 2018

Effects of climate change on forest vegetation in the northern Rockies

Increasing air temperature, through its influence on soil moisture, is expected to cause gradual changes in the abundance and distribution of tree, shrub, and grass species throughout the Northern Rockies, with drought tolerant species becoming more competitive. The earliest changes will be at ecotones between lifeforms (e.g., upper and lower...

Halofsky, Jessica E.; Peterson, David L.; Keane, Robert E.; Mahalovich, Mary Frances; Bollenbacher, Barry L.; Manning, Mary E.; Loehman, Rachel A.; Jain, Terrie B.; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Larson, Andrew J.
Keane, R.E., Mahalovich, M.F., Bollenbacher, B.L., Manning, M.E., Loehman, R.A., Jain, T.B., Holsinger, L.M., and Larson, A.J., 2017, Effects of climate change on forest vegetation 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

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Year Published: 2018

Spring fasting behavior in a marine apex predator provides an index of ecosystem productivity

The effects of declining Arctic sea ice on local ecosystem productivity are not well understood but have been shown to vary inter-specifically, spatially, and temporally. Because marine mammals occupy upper trophic levels in Arctic food webs, they may be useful indicators for understanding variation in ecosystem productivity. Polar bears (Ursus...

Rode, Karyn D.; Wilson, Ryan R.; Douglas, David C.; Muhlenbruch, Vanessa L; Atwood, Todd C.; Regehr, Eric V.; Richardson, Evan; Pilfold, Nicholas; Derocher, Andrew E.; Durner, George M.; Stirling, Ian; Amstrup, Steven C.; St Martin, Michelle; Pagano, Anthony M.; Simac, Kristin S.
Rode KD, Wilson RR, Douglas DC, et al. Spring fasting behavior in a marine apex predator provides an index of ecosystem productivity. Glob Change Biol. 2017;00:1–14. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13933

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Year Published: 2018

Influences of landscape heterogeneity on home-range sizes of brown bears

Animal space use is influenced by many factors and can affect individual survival and fitness. Under optimal foraging theory, individuals use landscapes to optimize high-quality resources while minimizing the amount of energy used to acquire them. The spatial resource variability hypothesis states that as patchiness of resources increases,...

Mangipane, Lindsey S.; Belant, Jerrold L.; Hiller, Tim L.; Colvin, Michael E.; Gustine, David; Mangipane, Buck A.; Hilderbrand, Grant V.
Influences of landscape heterogeneity on home-range sizes of brown bears: Mammalian Biology, In Press,. doi: 10.1016/j.mambio.2017.09.002

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Year Published: 2018

Small-scale genetic structure in an endangered wetland specialist: possible effects of landscape change and population recovery

The effects of anthropogenic landscape change on genetic population structure are well studied, but the temporal and spatial scales at which genetic structure can develop, especially in taxa with high dispersal capabilities like birds, are less well understood. We investigated population structure in the Hawaiian gallinule (Gallinula galeata...

van Rees, Charles B.; Reed, J. Michael; Wilson, Robert E.; Underwood, Jared G.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.
van Rees, C.B., Reed, J.M., Wilson, R.E., Underwood, J.G., and Sonsthagen, S.A., 2017, Small-scale genetic structure in an endangered wetland specialist: possible effects of landscape change and population recovery: Conservation Genetics, doi: 10.1007/s10592-017-1020-0

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Year Published: 2018

Timelines and mechanisms of wildlife population recovery following the Exxon Valdez oil spill

Research and monitoring activities over the 28 years since the T/V Exxon Valdez ran aground and spilled oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska have led to an improved understanding of how wildlife populations were damaged, as well as the mechanisms and timelines of recovery. A key finding was that for some species, such as harlequin ducks...

Esler, Daniel N.; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Matkin, Craig O.; Cushing, Daniel; Kaler, Robert; Bodkin, James L.; Monson, Daniel; Esslinger, George G.; Kloecker, Kimberly A.
Esler, D., Ballachey, B.E., Matkin, C., Cushing, D., Kaler, R., Bodkin, J., Monson, D., Esslinger, G., and Kloecker, K. 2017 .Timelines and mechanisms of wildlife population recovery following the Exxon Valdez oil spill: Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. vol. , no. , p. . doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2017.04.007

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Year Published: 2018

Tracing biogeochemical subsidies from glacier runoff into Alaska's coastal marine food webs

Nearly half of the freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska originates from landscapes draining glacier runoff, but the influence of the influx of riverine organic matter on the trophodynamics of coastal marine food webs is not well understood. We quantified the ecological impact of riverine organic matter subsidies to glacier-marine habitats...

Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Hobson, Keith A.; Webber, D'Arcy N.; Piatt, John F.; Hood, Eran W.; Fellman, Jason B.
Arimitsu, M.L., Hobson, K.A., Webber, D.N., Piatt, J.F., Hood, E.W. and Fellman, J.B., 2017. Tracing biogeochemical subsidies from glacier runoff into Alaska's coastal marine food webs: Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.13875

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Year Published: 2017

The Peters Hills basin, a Neogene wedge-top basin on the Broad Pass thrust fault, south-central Alaska

The Neogene Peters Hills basin is a small terrestrial basin that formed along the south flank of the Alaska Range during a time in which there was regional shortening. The formation of the Peters Hills basin is consistent with it being a wedge-top basin that formed on top of the active southeast-vergent Broad Pass thrust fault. Movement along this...

Haeussler, Peter J.; Saltus, Richard W.; Stanley, Richard G.; Ruppert, Natalia; Lewis, Kristen; Karl, Susan M.; Bender, Adrian M.
Haeussler, P.J., Saltus, R.W., Stanley, R.G., Ruppert, N., Lewis, K., Karl, S.M. and Bender, A., 2017, The Peters Hills basin, a Neogene wedge-top basin on the Broad Pass thrust fault, south-central Alaska: Geosphere, vol. 13, no. 5, p. 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1130/GES01487.1

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Year Published: 2017

Atmospheric deposition of glacial iron in the Gulf of Alaska impacted by the position of the Aleutian Low

Our understanding of glacial flour dust storm delivery of iron to the Gulf of Alaska (GoA) is limited. Here we interpret concurrent time series satellite, meteorological, and aerosol geochemical data from the GoA to examine how interannual variability in regional weather patterns impacts offshore aerosol glacial Fe deposition. In 2011, when a...

Schroth, Andrew W.; Crusius, John; Gasso, Santiago; Moy, Christopher M.; Buck, Nathan J.; Resing, Joseph A.; Campbell, Robert W.
Schroth, A. W., J. Crusius, S. Gassó, C. M. Moy, N. J. Buck, J. A. Resing, and R. W. Campbell (2017), Atmospheric deposition of glacial iron in the Gulf of Alaska impacted by the position of the Aleutian Low, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, doi:10.1002/2017GL073565.

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
A nest of a warbler in a bush
June 17, 2016

Yellow Warbler nest in a tall shrub thicket habitat

Yellow Warbler nest in a tall shrub thicket habitat.  This photo was taken on the Seward Peninsula as part of the Changing Arctic Ecosystem Boreal-Arctic Transition Zone program.

Small bird in a tree
June 16, 2016

Male Arctic Warbler on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska

Male Arctic Warbler on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska. This photo was taken on the Seward Peninsula as part of the Changing Arctic Ecosystem Boreal-Arctic Transition Zone program.

Scientists setting a trap for gulls at the landfill
June 9, 2016

Setting a trap for gulls at the Soldotna landfill in June 2016

Scientists Andrew Ramey, Bjorn Olsen, and Jonas Bonnedahl (L to R) setting a trap for gulls at the Soldotna landfill in June 2016.

Fairweather fault lidar
June 5, 2016

Fairweather fault lidar

Fairweather fault lidar 

Alaska field team revisit Tocher's 1958  site
June 5, 2016

Alaska field team revisit Tocher's 1958 site

The field team revisited many of the same locations geologists  Don Tocher and Don Miller studied in 1958.

Three people standing next to a vertical trench dug in the side of a cliff
June 5, 2016

Alaska field crew next to a trench

The field crew studies various areas thoughout the fault. 

Five people walking across big rocks
June 5, 2016

Alaska field team walking to sample site

The field crew walked miles daily to research the Fairweather fault and surrounding areas.

Glacier National Park
June 5, 2016

Glacier Bay National Park

View of Glacier Bay National Park from the air.

Fairweather Fault
June 5, 2016

Fairweather Fault

USGS research geologist Kate Scharer with her finger on the Fairweather Fault in southeast Alaska. The magnitude 7.8 Lituya Bay earthquake caused shaking that toppled trees along the fault, which left a break in the forest shown here.

South Crillon Glacier
June 5, 2016

South Crillon Glacier

Nearly 60 years after a magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Lituya Bay, Alaska — leading to a tsunami that devastated the area — six U.S. Geological Survey geologists revisited the isolated region of Alaska, to pick up where their scientific predecessors left off. In this photo, members of the USGS research team pause to take in the view of South Crillon Glacier from a study

...
South Crillon Glacier
June 5, 2016

South Crillon Glacier

Periodic calving of ice from the snout of South Crillon Glacier.

Glacier Bay National Park
June 5, 2016

Glacier Bay National Park

Trench site along the southern Fairweather Fault, in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. The alluvial fan at left consists of lake, stream channel and debris flow deposits impounded by the Fairweather Fault scarp, at right.

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