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: 2,578
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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

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Year Published: 2018

Sulfur isotopes of host strata for Howards Pass (Yukon–Northwest Territories) Zn-Pb deposits implicate anaerobic oxidation of methane, not basin stagnation

A new sulfur isotope stratigraphic profile has been developed for Ordovician-Silurian mudstones that host the Howards Pass Zn-Pb deposits (Canada) in an attempt to reconcile the traditional model of a stagnant euxinic basin setting with new contradictory findings. Our analyses of pyrite confirm the up-section 34S enrichment reported...

Johnson, Craig A.; Slack, John F.; Dumoulin, Julie A.; Kelley, Karen Duttweiler; Falck, Hendrik
Johnson, C.A., Slack, J.F., Dumoulin, J.A., Kelley, K.D., and Falck, H., 2018, Sulfur isotopes of host strata for Howards Pass (Yukon-Northwest Territories) Zn-Pb deposits implicate anaerobic oxidation of methane, not basin stagnation: Geology, v. 46, p. 619-622.

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Year Published: 2018

Using stereo satellite imagery to account for ablation, entrainment, and compaction in volume calculations for rock avalanches on Glaciers: Application to the 2016 Lamplugh Rock Avalanche in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

The use of preevent and postevent digital elevation models (DEMs) to estimate the volume of rock avalanches on glaciers is complicated by ablation of ice before and after the rock avalanche, scour of material during rock avalanche emplacement, and postevent ablation and compaction of the rock avalanche deposit. We present a model to account for...

Bessette-Kirton, Erin; Coe, Jeffrey A.; Zhou, Wendy
Bessette-Kirton, E. K., Coe, J. A., & Zhou, W. (2018). Using stereo satellite imagery to account for ablation, entrainment, and compaction in volume calculations for rock avalanches on glaciers: Application to the 2016 Lamplugh rock avalanche in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface,123, 622–641.

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
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

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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.

Alaska field team
June 5, 2016

Alaska field team

The field team included USGS geologists Rob Witter, Adrian Bender, Chris DuRoss, Peter Haeussler, Richard Lease and Kate Scharer

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.

Scientist inspecting permafrost
June 1, 2016

Inspecting Permafrost

USGS scientist Neal Pastick inspects a permafrost plot in North Slope of Alaska near Galbraith Lake.

Scientist laying cable in a field
June 1, 2016

Laying Ground Cable to Measure Permafrost

USGS scientist Burke Minsley and project partners from the U. Alaska Fairbanks lay ground cable to measure permafrost depth at Nome Creek site north of Fairbanks, Alaska.

A bird nest camouflaged in the grass
May 31, 2016

American Golden-Plover nest in dwarf shrub mat habitat

American Golden-Plover nest in dwarf shrub mat habitat. This photo was taken on the Seward Peninsula as part of the Changing Arctic Ecosystem Boreal-Arctic Transition Zone program.

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.