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: May 10, 2018
Status: Active

Seabirds and Forage Fish Ecology

Alaska's coastal and offshore waters provide foraging habitat for an estimated 100 million birds comprising more than 90 different species; from loons and seaducks that nest inland, to petrels and puffins that breed on islands off shore. All these birds depend on the sea to provide a wide variety of food types— from clams, crabs and urchins nearshore— to krill, forage fish, and squid offshore...

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Banding Laboratory

The Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) is an integrated scientific program established in 1920 supporting the collection, archiving, management and dissemination of information from banded and marked birds in North America.  This information is used to monitor the status and trends of resident and migratory bird populations. Because birds are good indicators of the health of the environment, the...

Date published: April 27, 2018
Status: Active

Terrestrial Ecosystems

The USGS conducts research on trust Department of Interior migratory bird and mammal species and their habitats to inform agencies such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service in their natural resource management decisions.

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Marine Ecosystems

The USGS conducts research on marine wildlife, habitats, and processes to provide science to inform our partners as they make decisions relative to species status, resource use, and human activities.

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Hazards in Alaska

A major goal of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is to reduce the vulnerability of the people and areas most at risk from natural hazards. Working with partners throughout all sectors of society, the USGS provides information, products, and knowledge to help build more resilient communities. This site provides important links to a number of hazard related internet sites that provide important...

Date published: April 25, 2018
Status: Active

Arctic Lake Food Webs

From 2011 to 2013 we investigated freshwater food webs of Arctic Coastal Plain lakes in Alaska to improve our understanding how Arctic freshwater food webs may respond to landscape change the warmer, drier future.

Date published: April 25, 2018
Status: Active

Condition of Forage Fish in Prince William Sound During the Marine Heatwave

Changes in the body condition of a key forage fish species, Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes personatus), are examined to understand how energy transfer to predators may have been disrupted during the recent marine heatwave in the North Pacific (late 2013 to mid 2016).

Date published: April 24, 2018
Status: Active

Ecosystem Shifts in Arctic Seas

In addition to the direct effects of sea ice loss on walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) that use ice as a platform, the decline of Arctic sea ice is predicted to promote a fundamental ecosystem shift from benthic animals that forage on the sea floor to pelagic animals that forage near the sea surface. 

Date published: April 24, 2018
Status: Active

Lake Trout Biochronologies as Long-term Climate and Productivity Indicators in Alaska Lake Ecosystems

High latitude ecosystems are among the most vulnerable to long-term climate change, yet continuous, multidecadal indicators by which to gauge effects on biology are scarce, especially in freshwater environments.

Contacts: Vanessa von Biela, Ph.D., Christian E Zimmerman, Ph.D., Bryan Black, Randy J. Brown, Dan Young
Date published: April 19, 2018
Status: Active

Primary Production Sources and Bottom-up Limitations in Nearshore Ecosystems

Kelp forests are among the world’s most productive habitats, but recent evidence suggests that production is highly variable.

Contacts: James L Bodkin, Christian E Zimmerman, Ph.D., David Douglas, Gordon Kruse, Franz Mueter
Date published: April 18, 2018
Status: Active

Hydro-Ecology of Arctic Thawing (HEAT): Ecology

Permafrost thaw is leading to a myriad of changes in physical and chemical conditions throughout the Arctic.

Date published: April 18, 2018
Status: Active

Effect of Elodea spp. on Fish Performance Mediated Through Food Web Interactions

The potential for invasive species introductions in Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems is growing as climate change manifests and human activity increases in high latitudes.

Contacts: Michael P Carey, Ph.D., Suresh Andrew Sethi, Ph.D., Christian E Zimmerman, Ph.D., Dan Young, Gordon Reeves, Theresa Tanner
Filter Total Items: 2,409
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Year Published: 2019

The Yellow-billed Loon

The Yellow-billed Loon, known in Europe as the White-billed Diver, is a relatively rare bird nesting in arctic tundra regions of North America and Eurasia. This species was first described by G. R. Gray in 1859 (1), and named (Gavia adamsii) after the surgeon Dr. Edward Adams (who collected the first specimen) aboard the H.M.S. Enterprise...

Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Mike North; Schmutz, Joel A.

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Year Published: 2019

Catalog of earthquake parameters and description of seismograph and infrasound stations at Alaskan volcanoes—January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2017

Between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2017, the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) located a total of 28,172 earthquakes at volcanoes in Alaska. The annual totals are 3,840, 5,819, 5,297, 6,151, and 7,065 earthquakes for the years 2013 through 2017, respectively. This represents an average of 5,634 earthquakes per year, which is comparable to...

Dixon, James P.; Stihler, Scott D.; Haney, Matthew M.; Lyons, John J.; Ketner, Dane M.; Mulliken, Katherine M.; Parker, Thomas; Power, John A.
Dixon, J.P., Stihler S.D., Haney, M.M., Lyons, J.J., Ketner, D.M., Mulliken, K.M., Parker, T., and Power, J.A., 2019, Catalog of earthquake parameters and description of seismograph and infrasound stations at Alaskan volcanoes—January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1115, 92 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1115.

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Year Published: 2019

Soil mineralogy and geochemistry along a north-south transect in Alaska and the relation to source-rock terrane

Soils collected along a predominately north-south transect in Alaska were used to evaluate regional differences in the soil mineralogy and geochemistry in the context of a geotectonic framework for Alaska. The approximately 1,395-kilometer-long transect followed the Dalton, Elliott, and Richardson Highways from near Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. Sites...

Wang, Bronwen; Hults, Chad P.; Eberl, Dennis D.; Woodruff, Laurel G.; Cannon, William F.; Gough, Larry P.
Wang, B., Hults, C., Eberl, D., Woodruff, L., Cannon, W., and Gough, L., 2019, Soil mineralogy and geochemistry along a north-south transect in Alaska and the relation to source-rock terrane in Dumoulin, J.A., ed., Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, vol. 15: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1814–E, 27 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/pp1814E.

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Year Published: 2019

Confronting models with data: The challenges of estimating disease spillover

For pathogens known to transmit across host species, strategic investment in disease control requires knowledge about where and when spillover transmission is likely. One approach to estimating spillover is to directly correlate observed spillover events with covariates. An alternative is to mechanistically combine information on host density,...

Cross, Paul C.; Prosser, Diann; Ramey, Andrew M.; Hanks, Ephraim M.; Pepin, Kim M.

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Year Published: 2019

An initial assessment of areas where landslides could enter the West Arm of Glacier Bay, Alaska and implications for tsunami hazards

Tsunamis generated by landslides in Glacier Bay are uncommon, but have potential to be extraordinarily destructive when they occur. This article identifies areas that are susceptible to landslides that could generate tsunamis and discusses approaches to characterize hazard and risk from these events.

Coe, Jeffrey A.; Schmitt, Robert G.; Bessette-Kirton, Erin

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Year Published: 2019

Giving ecological meaning to satellite-derived fire severity metrics across North American forests

Satellite-derived spectral indices such as the relativized burn ratio (RBR) allow fire severity maps to be produced in a relatively straightforward manner across multiple fires and broad spatial extents. These indices often have strong relationships with field-based measurements of fire severity, thereby justifying their widespread use in...

Parks, Sean; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Koontz, Michael J.; Collins, Luke S.; Whitman, Ellen; Parisien, Marc-André; Loehman, Rachel A.; Barnes, Jennifer L.; Bourdon, Jean-François; Boucher, Jonathan; Boucher, Yan; Caprio, Anthony C.; Collingwood, Adam; Hall, Ron; Park, Jane; Saperstein, Lisa; Smetanka, Charlotte; Smith, Rebecca; Soverel, Nick

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Year Published: 2019

The Aleutian Low – Beaufort Sea Anticyclone: A climate index for predicting the timing of springtime melt in the Pacific Arctic cryosphere

Early and late extremes in the timing of snowmelt have recently been observed in the Pacific Arctic. Subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasts of this timing are important for industry, environmental management and Arctic communities. In northern Alaska, the timing is influenced by the advection of marine air from the north Pacific by the Aleutian Low,...

Cox, Christopher J.; Stone, Robert S.; Douglas, David C.; Stanitski, Diane; Gallagher, Michael
Cox, C. J., Stone, R. S., Douglas, D. C., Stanitski, D. M., & Gallagher, M. R. (2019). The Aleutian Low‐Beaufort Sea Anticyclone: A climate index correlated with the timing of springtime melt in the Pacific Arctic cryosphere. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 7464–7473. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL083306

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Year Published: 2019

Filling knowledge gaps in a threatened shorebird flyway through satellite tracking

Satellite‐based technologies that track individual animal movements enable the mapping of their spatial and temporal patterns of occurrence. This is particularly useful in poorly studied or remote regions where there is a need for the rapid gathering of relevant ecological knowledge to inform management actions. One such region is East Asia, where...

Yin-Chi Chan; Tibbitts, Lee; Tamar Lok; Chris Hassell; He-Bo Peng; Zhijun Ma; Zhengwang Zhang; Theunis Piersma

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Year Published: 2019

Improving population estimates of threatened spectacled eiders: Correcting aerial counts for visibility bias

Listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1993, the Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri) population in western Alaska has since rebounded, prompting an assessment of their suitability for delisting. This assessment, however, is limited by aerial-based population estimates that are incompletely corrected for unobserved eiders....

Lewis, Tyler; Michael Swaim; Schmutz, Joel A.; Julian Fischer
Lewis TL, Swaim MA, Schmutz JA, Fischer JB (2019) Improving population estimates of threatened spectacled eiders: correcting aerial counts for visibility bias. Endang Species Res 39:191-206. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00959

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Year Published: 2019

Are polar bear habitat resource selection functions developed from 1985-1996 data still useful?

1. Greenhouse gas-induced warming in the Arctic has caused declines in sea ice extent and changed its composition, raising concerns by all circumpolar nations for polar bear conservation. 2. Negative impacts have been observed in three well-studied polar bear subpopulations. Most subpopulations, however, receive little or no direct monitoring,...

Durner, George M.; Douglas, David C.; Atwood, Todd C.

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Year Published: 2019

Near-field remote sensing of Alaskan Rivers

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geomorphology and Sediment Transport Laboratory (GSTL), in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL), acquired remotely sensed data from several Alaskan rivers in 2017 and 2018 with the goal of developing a methodology for measuring streamflow from...

Kinzel, Paul J.; Legleiter, Carl J.; Nelson, Jonathan M.; Conaway, Jeff; LeWinter, Adam; Gadomski, Peter; Filiano, Dominic

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: 987
Ground crack at Sunset Park, Anchorage, AK
December 4, 2018

Ground crack at Sunset Park, Anchorage, AK

Crack observed in 2018 along headscarp of 1964 Government Hill landslide.

2018 Anchorage Earthquake

Eagle River landslides, Eagle River, AK
December 1, 2018

Eagle River landslides, Eagle River, AK

Superficial slides along Eagle River east of Eagle River Loop Road. 

2018 Anchorage Earthquake

Eklutna Dam after 2018 Anchorage earthquake
December 1, 2018

Eklutna Dam after 2018 Anchorage earthquake

Eklutna Lake dam appeared to be undamaged the day after the earthquake; overflights of the lake showed no landslides impacted the lake shoreline.

2018 Potter Hill landslide 1, Anchorage, AK
December 1, 2018

2018 Potter Hill landslide 1, Anchorage, AK

Slumping along the Alaska Railroad right-of-way evolved into long-runout landslides. The same area failed in earthquakes in 1954 and 1964.

2018 Anchorage Earthquake

November 30, 2018

Shaking of BP Exploration Building, M7 Nov. 30, 2018, Anchorage Quake

This video presents a visualization of how the BP Exploration Building in Anchorage, Alaska, shook during the moment magnitude (Mw) 7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake. The building was instrumented by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to obtain data to study its behavior and performance during strong shaking. Such data are useful in making decisions about

November 30, 2018

Shaking of Atwood Building, Mw 7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage quake

This video presents a visualization of how the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska, shook during the Mw 7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake. The building was instrumented by the U.S. Geological Survey to obtain data to study its behavior and performance during strong shaking. Such data are useful in making decisions about improving the performance of the

November 30, 2018

Shaking of Frontier Building, M7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage Quake

This video presents a visualization of how the Frontier Building in Anchorage, Alaska, shook during the moment magnitude (Mw) 7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake. The building was instrumented by U.S. Geological Survey to obtain data to study its behavior and performance during strong shaking. Such data are useful in making decisions about improving the

View from the sky of a very small, flat island that is completely man-made with a petroleum processing plant on it.
October 31, 2018

Endicott Island, Alaska

Endicott Island, and artificial island built in 1987 by Alaska Interstate Construction and is used by BP and Hilcorp Alaska for petroleum production.

Tanana River at Big Delta bridge
October 3, 2018

Tanana River at Big Delta bridge

Tanana River at Big Delta bridge

Tanana River at Big Delta sonar and debris on a bridge
October 3, 2018

Tanana River at Big Delta sonar and debris on a bridge

Tanana River at Big Delta sonar and debris on a bridge

Taku Glacier, Alaska 2018
October 1, 2018

Satellite image of Taku Glacier in October 1, 2018

Satellite image of Taku Glacier in October 1, 2018. The Norris Glacier can be seen on the lower left hand corner and the Hole-in-the-Wall Glacier in the upper center portion of the image. Citation: McNeil, C. J., and Baker, E. H., 2019, Geodetic data for Juneau Icefield Glaciers: orthophotos, digital elevation models, and glacier boundaries (ver 1.0, August, 2019): U.S.

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A silhouette of a person on a high bluff overlooking the calm ocean at sunset.
September 8, 2018

Peace at dusk

USGS oceanographer Shawn Harrison stands on the coastal bluff of Barter Island, Alaska at sunset. Shawn and his fellow researchers are studying how the highly erosive bluff changes under the varied conditions experienced by this stretch of coastline. The knowledge gained will be used to improve computer-derived simulations of shoreline change, that in turn communities can

...

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 248
USGS
April 8, 2015

A new scientific synthesis suggests a gradual, prolonged release of greenhouse gases from permafrost soils in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, which may afford society more time to adapt to environmental changes, say scientists in a paper published in Nature today. 

Image: Polar Bear at Rest
April 1, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A team of scientists led by the U.S. Geological Survey found that polar bears, increasingly forced on shore due to sea ice loss, may be eating terrestrial foods including berries, birds and eggs, but any nutritional gains are limited to a few individuals and likely cannot compensate for lost opportunities to consume their traditional, lipid-rich prey—ice seals.

Illustration showing migratory bird paths across the Pacific
March 31, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In a new study published today, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service harnessed a new type of DNA technology to investigate avian influenza viruses in Alaska.

USGS
March 18, 2015

Frozen bodies of ice cover nearly 10 percent of the state of Alaska, but the influence of glaciers on the environment, tourism, fisheries, hydropower, and other important Alaska resources is rarely discussed.

USGS
February 24, 2015

Kristin Timm, a designer with the Interior Department's Alaska Climate Science Center and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning, is among 10 designers who were recently recognized internationally for excellence in science communication.

Estimated potential for rare earth element (REE) deposits in watersheds across northern Alaska
February 23, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska. — New maps highlighting areas with potential for placer gold and five other critical mineral deposit types in the Bureau of Land Management’s Central Yukon Planning Area in central and northern Alaska are being released today. 

Three panel view of Alaska from NLCD
February 18, 2015

The latest edition of the National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD 2011) for Alaska is now publicly available.

USGS science for a changing world logo
January 20, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska Melting glaciers are not just impacting sea level, they are also affecting the flow of organic carbon to the world’s oceans, according to new research that provides the first ever global-scale estimates for the storage and release of organic carbon from glaciers.

Image: Steve Hickman Earthquake Science Center Director
January 12, 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Stephen Hickman to serve as the new director of the USGS Earthquake Science Center, headquartered in Menlo Park, California.

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
January 6, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In a new polar bear study published today, scientists from around the Arctic have shown that recent generations of polar bears are moving towards areas with more persistent year-round sea ice.

USGS
December 18, 2014

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today that Interior’s Alaska Climate Science Center is awarding more than $500,000 to universities and other partners for research to guide managers of parks, refuges and other cultural and natural resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.

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.