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 in Alaska engages approximately 400 scientists and support staff working across 3 major centers with a combined annual science budget of about $65 million. In just the last 5 years, USGS in Alaska has produced scientific benefits resulting from over 1000 publications and about 250 Technical Reports.

USGS publications for Alaska

Alaska Science Portal

AK CASC Projects

Alaska Volcano Observatory  

Filter Total Items: 174
Date published: August 8, 2018
Status: Active

Streambed Scour at Bridges in Alaska

Streambed scour is the leading cause of bridge failure in the United States resulting in over 60 percent of all failures. The Alaska Science Center, in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Alaska Railroad, is researching streambed scour through scour monitoring, hydraulic modeling, and data collection during high flows.  

Date published: August 2, 2018
Status: Active

Detecting Long-term Changes in Forage Fish Populations in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Forage fish are an important node in marine food webs because they link primary and secondary producers with higher trophic levels.

Date published: August 2, 2018
Status: Active

Cook Inlet Seabird and Forage Fish Study

A massive die-off of Common Murres was documented in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) during the fall and winter of 2015-2016 in association with a record-breaking marine heat wave in the GOA.

Date published: August 1, 2018
Status: Active

Terrestrial Influence on Glacial-Marine Food Webs

Where glaciers meet the sea in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), they create unique and productive marine habitats. Ringed by the continent’s tallest coastal mountains, 20% of the GOA coastal watershed is covered by glacial ice and the annual freshwater discharge into the GOA from glacial melt is comparable to that of the Mississippi river.

Date published: July 30, 2018
Status: Active

Aleutian Islands Ecosystem Recovery Studies

The Aleutian archipelago is a 2,000 km long chain of volcanically-derived treeless islands stretching from Unimak Island in the east to the Commander Islands in the west.  These volcanic islands support a wide range of species including large numbers of seabirds and marine mammal species, some of which are threatened and endangered, leading to a high level of federal management concern.

Date published: July 20, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Coastal Plain and NPR-A Research Bibliography

Selected Bibliography of USGS Research Conducted in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Coastal Plain (1002 Area) and/or the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska (NPRA)

Compiled as of 12/18/2018

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science Informing the Status and Trends of Migratory Birds

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science Informing Endangered Species Act Decisions and Recovery Planning

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science for Oil and Gas Leasing-related Decisions

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

Date published: July 10, 2018
Status: Active

Remotely Sensed Discharge

River discharge is an important component of the water cycle, and an accurate accounting of streamflow can be accomplished by monitoring the spatial and temporal variations in river discharge. The U.S. Geological Survey is actively pursuing remote-sensing platforms to compute river discharge using a combination of satellite-, high altitude-, drone-, and fixed-based platforms to directly...

Date published: June 29, 2018
Status: Active

Walrus Media/Contacts

If you have questions about walrus research or media inquiries regarding the USGS Alaska Science Center please contact Yvette Gillies or Paul Laustsen.

Date published: June 29, 2018
Status: Active

Polar Bear Media/Contacts

If you have questions about research or media inquiries regarding the USGS Alaska Science Center please contact Yvette Gillies or Paul Laustsen.

Filter Total Items: 2,412
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Year Published: 2019

National assessment of shoreline change—Historical shoreline change along the north coast of Alaska, Icy Cape to Cape Prince of Wales

Beach erosion is a persistent problem along most open-ocean shores of the United States. Along the Arctic coast of Alaska, coastal erosion is widespread and threatens communities, defense and energy-related infrastructure, and coastal habitat. As coastal populations continue to expand and infrastructure and habitat are increasingly threatened by...

Gibbs, Ann E.; Snyder, Alexander G.; Richmond, Bruce M.
Gibbs, A.E., Snyder, A.G., and Richmond, B.M., 2019, National assessment of shoreline change—Historical shoreline change along the north coast of Alaska, Icy Cape to Cape Prince of Wales: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1146, 52 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191146.

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Year Published: 2019

Streambed scour evaluations and conditions at selected bridge sites in Alaska, 2016–17

Stream stability, flood frequency, and streambed scour potential were evaluated at 20 Alaskan river- and stream-spanning bridges lacking a quantitative scour analysis or having unknown foundation details. Three of the bridges had been assessed shortly before the study described in this report but were re-assessed using different methods or data....

Beebee, Robin A.; Dworsky, Karenth L.; Knopp, Schyler J.
Beebee, R.A., Dworsky, K.L., and Knopp, S.J.., 2018, Streambed scour evaluations and conditions at selected bridge sites in Alaska, 2016–17: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5110, 32 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20195110.

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Year Published: 2019

Visualizing populations of North American sea ducks: Maps to guide research and management planning

North American sea ducks generally breed in mid- to northern-latitude regions and nearly all rely upon marine habitats for much of their annual cycle. Most sea duck species remained poorly studied until the 1990s when declines were noted in several species and populations. Subsequent research, much of which was funded by the Sea Duck Joint Venture...

Pearce, John M.; Flint, Paul L.; Whalen, Mary E.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Stiller, Josh; Patil, Vijay P.; Bowman, Timothy D.; Boyd, Sean; Badzinski, Shannon S.; Gilchrist, H.G.; Gilliland, Scott G; Lepage, Christine; Loring, Pam; McAuley, Daniel; McLellan, Nic; Osenkowski, Jason; Reed, Eric T.; Roberts, Anthony J.; Robertson, Myra; Rothe, Tom; Safine, David E.; Silverman, Emily D.; Spragens, Kyle A.
Pearce, J.M., Flint, P.L., Whalen, M.E., Sonsthagen, S.A., Stiller, J., Patil, V.P., Bowman, T., Boyd, S., Badzinski, S.S., Gilchrist, H.G., Gilliland, S.G., Lepage, C., Loring, P., McAuley, D., McLellan, N.R., Osenkowski, J., Reed, E.T., Roberts, A.J., Robertson, M.O., Rothe, T., Safine, D.E., Silverman, E.D., and Spragens, D., 2019, Visualizing populations of North American Sea Ducks—Maps to guide research and management planning: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019-1142, 50 p., plus appendixes, https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191142.

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Year Published: 2019

The seasonal energetic landscape of an apex marine carnivore, the polar bear

Divergent movement strategies have enabled wildlife populations to adapt to environmental change. In recent decades, the Southern Beaufort Sea subpopulation of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) has developed a divergent movement strategy in response to diminishing sea ice where the majority of the subpopulation (73–85%) stays on the sea ice in summer...

Pagano, Anthony M.; Atwood, Todd C.; Durner, George M.; Williams, Terrie M.

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Year Published: 2019

Use of subsistence-harvested whale carcasses by polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea

The availability of a food subsidy has the potential to influence the condition, behavior, fitness, and population dynamics of a species. Since the early 2000s, monitoring efforts along the coast of northern Alaska indicated a higher proportion of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea (SB) subpopulation come onshore and feed...

Lillie, Kate M; Gese, Eric M; Atwood, Todd C.; Conner, Mary M

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Year Published: 2019

The August 2018 Kaktovik earthquakes: Active tectonics in northeastern Alaska revealed With InSAR and seismology

The largest earthquakes recorded in northern Alaska (Mw 6.4 and Mw 6.0) occurred ~6 hours apart on August 12, 2018 in the northeastern Brooks Range. The earthquakes were captured by Sentinel-1 InSAR satellites and Earthscope Transportable Array seismic data, giving insight into the little-known active tectonic processes of Arctic Alaska, obscured...

Gaudreau, E.; Nissen, E.K.; Bergman, Eric A.; Benz, Harley M.; Tan, F.; Karasözen, E.

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Year Published: 2019

A leg-hold noose capture method for Brent Geese Branta bernicla at staging or wintering sites

Effective and efficient capture methods are needed for marking and monitoring individuals in studies of demography, migration and habitat use. We describe a novel use of leg-hold nooses aligned on lines and mats to capture non-breeding Brent Geese Branta bernicla in water at a staging and wintering site in Japan. A total of 24 Brent Geese were...

Sawa, Yusuke; Tamura, Chieko; Ikeuchi, Toshio; Fujii, Kaoru; Ishioroshi, Aisa; Shimada, T.; Ward, David H.

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Year Published: 2019

Historical range and variation (HRV)

Fire-prone landscapes are experiencing rapid and potentially persistent changes as the result of complex and potentially novel interactions of anthropogenic climate changes, shifting fire regimes, exotic plant, insect, and pathogen invasions, and industrial, agricultural, and urban development. Are these landscapes fully departed from historical...

Keane, Robert; Loehman, Rachel A.

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Year Published: 2019

Temporal variation in genetic structure within the threatened spectacled eider

We examined the genetic structure of the threatened spectacled eider 14–18 years after the initial assessment to evaluate the influence of population recovery on diversity. Concordant with the initial assessment, spectacled eiders were highly structured at mitochondrial (mt) DNA and lacked differentiation at microsatellite loci. The degree and...

Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Haughey, Christy; Sexson, Matthew G.; Solovyeva, Diana V; Petersen, Margaret R.; Powell, Abby

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Year Published: 2019

Overhauling ocean spatial planning to improve marine megafauna conservation

Tracking data have led to evidence-based conservation of marine megafauna, but a disconnect remains between the many thousands of individual animals that have been tracked and the use of these data in conservation and management actions. Furthermore, the focus of most conservation efforts is within Exclusive Economic Zones despite the ability of...

Sequeira, Ana M. M.; Hays, Graeme C.; Sims, David W.; Eguíluz, Victor M.; Rodríguez, Jorge P.; Heupel, Michelle R.; Harcourt, Robert G.; Calich, Hannah J.; Queiroz, Nuno; Costa, Daniel P.; Fernández-Gracia, Juan; Ferreira, Luciana C.; Goldsworthy, Simon D.; Hindell, Mark; Lea, Mary-Anne; Meekan, Mark G.; Pagano, Anthony M.; Shaffer, Scott A.; Reisser, Julia; Thums, Michele; Weise, Michael J; Duarte, Carlos M.

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Year Published: 2019

1200 years of Upper Missouri River streamflow reconstructed from tree rings

Paleohydrologic records can provide unique, long-term perspectives on streamflow variability and hydroclimate for use in water resource planning. Such long-term records can also play a key role in placing both present day events and projected future conditions into a broader context than that offered by instrumental observations. However,...

Martin, Justin; Pederson, Gregory T.; Woodhouse, Connie A.; Cook, Edward R; McCabe, Gregory J.; Wise, Erika K.; Erger, Patrick; Dolan, Larry; McGuire, Marketa; Gangopadhyay, Subhrendu; Chase, Katherine J.; Littell, Jeremy S.; Gray, Stephen; St. George, Scott; Friedman, Jonathan M.; Sauchyn, David J.; St. Jacques, Jannine; King, John W.

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Year Published: 2019

Surface water connectivity controls fish food web structure and complexity across local- and meta-food webs in Arctic Coastal Plain lakes

The need for theories that address food web assembly and complexity over multiple spatial scales are critical to understanding their stability and persistence. In a meta-food web – an integrated network of local food webs – spatial heterogeneity in physical processes may have profound effects on food web function and energy flow. In the Arctic,...

Laske, Sarah M.; Rosenberger, Amanda E.; Wipfli, Mark S.; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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
Canning River with bars
April 27, 2019

Canning River with bars

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Michael Carey and Vanessa von Biela on Canning River
April 27, 2019

Michael Carey and Vanessa von Biela on Canning River

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Canning River with bars view
April 26, 2019

Canning River with bars view

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Vanessa von Biela with cut bank at Canning River
April 25, 2019

Vanessa von Biela with cut bank at Canning River

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Copper River sonar on a bridge
April 24, 2019

Copper River sonar on a bridge

Copper River sonar on a bridge

Canning River with Brooks Range in the background
April 24, 2019

Canning River with Brooks Range in the background

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Knik River bridge aerial view
April 22, 2019

Knik River bridge aerial view

Knik River bridge aerial view

Twentymile River bridge
March 27, 2019

Twentymile River bridge

Twentymile bridge

A photo from the sky of a coastline showing areas of sediment and water as well as land features like roads.
February 26, 2019

Orthophotomosaic image, north coast of Barter Island, July 1, 2014

Aerial photographs were collected from a small, fixed-wing aircraft over the coast of Barter Island, Alaska on July 01 2014, September 07 2014. Precise aircraft position information and structure-from-motion photogrammetric methods were combined to derive a high-resolution orthophotomosaic. This orthophotomosaic contain 3-band, 8-bit, unsigned raster data (red/green/blue;

...
Evidence of turbidity currents in Eklutna Lake triggered by shaking during the 2018 Mw7.1 Anchorage earthquake
February 16, 2019

Evidence of turbidity currents in Eklutna Lake

USGS scientists, working with researchers from the University of Ghent, probed the floor of Eklutna Lake, Anchorage Borough, Alaska, for evidence of turbidity currents triggered by strong shaking during the 2018 Mw7.1 Anchorage earthquake. In this photo, USGS scientist Peter Haeussler points to a dark layer at the top of a sediment core taken from the floor of Eklutna Lake

...
Landsat animation of change in Twelvemile Lake, in the Yukon Flats ecoregion in Alaska
December 31, 2018

Twelvemile Lake - Change Over Time

Animation of Twelvemile Lake in the Yukon Flats ecoregion in Alaska, created using USGS Landsat data.

December 31, 2018

Polar Bears Film Their Own Sea Ice World

This video showcases the latest polar bear point-of-view footage to date along with an interview of the research scientist who is responsible for the project. Released in conjunction with a new scientific study led by the USGS. 
 

Browse a collection of stories about prominent USGS scientists and projects in Alaska news.

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 248
Suzette Kimball, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey presenting award to Nicholas Mastrodicasa
March 15, 2016

To commemorate the nation's first chief geographer, the USGS established the Henry Gannett Award. This year's recipient is Nicholas Mastrodicasa, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, for his leadership in the Alaska Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative and the development of an elevation requirements study for Alaska.

Aerial view of the Chenega village site at the head of Chenega Cove.
February 1, 2016

Minutes after the 1964 magnitude-9.2 Great Alaska Earthquake began shaking, a series of tsunami waves swept through the village of Chenega in Prince William Sound, destroying all but two of the buildings and killing 23 of the 75 inhabitants. 

Image: USGS Scientists Engaged in Field Work on the Aleutian Islands
January 12, 2016

New evidence for frequent large tsunamis at a remote island near Dutch Harbor, Alaska provides geological data to aid tsunami hazard preparedness efforts around the Pacific Rim. 

Alaska Geologic Map
January 5, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A new digital geologic map of Alaska is being released today providing land users, managers and scientists geologic information for the evaluation of land use in relation to resource extraction, conservation, natural hazards and recreation.

Caribou walking in a line in the winter in Northern Alaska
December 18, 2015

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer, of course, is another common name for caribou (Rangifer tarandus) a large, cold-adapted, herding herbivore related to deer, elk and moose.

Current probability of near-surface permafrost in Alaska
November 30, 2015

Using statistically modeled maps drawn from satellite data and other sources, U.S. Geological Survey scientists have projected that the near-surface permafrost that presently underlies 38 percent of boreal and arctic Alaska would be reduced by 16 to 24 percent by the end of the 21st century under widely accepted climate scenarios.

Planned US Topo map production schedule for the next three- year revision cycle
November 19, 2015

With the release of new US Topo maps for Illinois and South Dakota, the USGS has completed the second, three-year cycle of revising and updating electronic US Topo quadrangles. This means that since late 2009, the USGS has published nearly every map in the conterminous U.S., twice.

Thermokarst
November 12, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Large and severe tundra fires cause top down permafrost thaw, playing a major role in altering Arctic landscapes according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 19, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A new scientific study predicts that some of Alaska’s mammal species will respond to future climate warming by concentrating in northern areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska. If true, for many species, this would be a significant northward shift into tundra habitats where they are currently absent.

Image: Repairing Seismic Stations in Alaska
October 15, 2015

The Alaska Volcano Observatory has recently completed repairs to seismic monitoring equipment on Aniakchak Volcano on the Alaska Peninsula that have restored ground-based monitoring at the volcano.

Image: Blueberry
October 6, 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey today announced the publication of a new study examining how Alaska’s tribal environmental managers and local observer networks view statewide trends in wild berry harvests.

Image: Severe Coastal Erosion During an El Niño Storm
September 21, 2015

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The projected upsurge of severe El Niño and La Niña events will cause an increase in storm events leading to extreme coastal flooding and erosion in populated regions across the Pacific Ocean, according to a multi-agency study published today in Nature Geoscience.

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.