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: 169
Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Polar Bear Research

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are one of 4 marine mammal species managed by the U.S. Department of Interior. The USGS Alaska Science Center leads long–term research on polar bears to inform local, state, national and international policy makers regarding conservation of the species and its habitat. Our studies, ongoing since 1985, are focused on population dynamics, health and...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Shorebird Research

With its vast size and geographic position at the northern end of several migration pathways, Alaska is a critically important site for the world’s shorebirds. Thirty-seven shorebird species regularly breed in Alaska. Most of these species conduct epically long migrations to take advantage of Alaska’s abundant food resources and breeding habitat, making Alaska a global resource for shorebirds...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Terrestrial Mammal Ecology Research

Understanding the population dynamics, predator/prey relationships and habitat ecology of terrestrial mammals, such as caribou and muskoxen, is critical for the management of these species and their habitats in Alaska.

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Walrus Research

The Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) is one of 4 marine mammal species managed by the U.S. Department of Interior. The USGS Alaska Science Center conducts long–term research on Pacific walruses to inform local, state, national and international policy makers regarding conservation of the species and its habitat. The goal of our current research efforts is to refine and...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Nearshore Marine Ecosystem Research

Nearshore ecosystems include many resources that are of high ecological, recreational, subsistence, and economic value. They also are subject to influences from a wide variety of natural and human-caused perturbations, which can originate in terrestrial or oceanic environments. Our research is designed to evaluate sources of variation in the nearshore and how they influence resources of high...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Habitat Dynamics

The Habitat Dynamics Project examines how short and long-term changes in the environment affect the distribution and survival of wildlife populations. 

Contacts: David Douglas
Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Avian Influenza Research

Since 2006, the USGS Alaska Science Center has been part of the State and Federal interagency team for the detection and response to highly pathogenic (HPAI) viruses in North America. Avian influenza or "bird flu" is a viral disease that primarily infects domestic poultry and wild birds. Avian influenza viruses are naturally occurring in wild birds such as ducks, geese, swans, and gulls. These...

Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Alaska Streamflow Statistics

The USGS conducts various studies of streamflow statistics for data collected at streamflow-gaging stations. Streamflow statistics for gaged streams and methods for estimating those statistics for ungaged streams are used by water resource planners and managers for designing infrastructure, managing floodplains, and protecting life, property, and aquatic resources. The most recent USGS studies...

Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Arctic – Boreal Catchment Studies

Catchment hydrology focuses on the movement of water and solutes from landscapes to waterbodies. Our research addresses questions such as: Where is the stream water coming from? How long did it take to get here? What solutes, nutrients, and/or contaminants did the water pick up along the way? Because streams and lakes gather water and solutes, we can learn about the entire watershed by...

Contacts: Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Ylva Sjöberg
Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Wolverine Glacier Ecosystem Studies

This project is an extension of the long-term Wolverine Glacier Benchmark Glacier project and is improving our understanding of solutes and nutrients in glacier basins, and how they fuel downstream ecosystems.

Contacts: Shad O'Neel, Ph.D., Louis Sass, III, Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Sara Sawicki, Jennifer Witter, Jason Geck
Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Wetland Modeling

This project aims to improve our understanding of the role of wetlands in controlling streamflow in southcentral Alaska using a groundwater – surface water flow model that can recreate the dynamic interactions between streams and wetlands.

Contacts: Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Ty Ferre, Mike Gracz, Frankie Barker
Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Arctic Coastal Plain Studies

The Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) is a large region of low-lying, lake-rich land on the North Slope of Alaska. This region is underlain by thick ground ice, which is susceptible to erosion and thaw. These physical changes are likely to alter ecosystems by changing the availability of habitats and food resources upon which wildlife depends. Our studies on the ACP aim to understand the link between...

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report
Filter Total Items: 2,607
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Year Published: 2020

Extending seasonal discharge records for streamgage sites on the North Fork Fortymile and Middle Fork Fortymile Rivers, Alaska, through water year 2019

Daily mean discharge values were estimated for May 20–September 30 for 1976–82 and 2006–18 for the U.S. Geological Survey North Fork Fortymile River and Middle Fork Fortymile River streamgage sites in Alaska. A relation between study streamgage discharge and discharge for an index streamgage on the main-stem Fortymile River for a concurrent period...

Curran, Janet H.
Curran, J.H., 2020, Extending seasonal discharge records for streamgage sites on the North Fork Fortymile and Middle Fork Fortymile Rivers, Alaska, through water year 2019: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5003, 11 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205003.

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Year Published: 2020

Infrasound generated by the 2016-2017 shallow submarine eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska

The 2016–2017 shallow submarine eruption of Bogoslof volcano produced numerous infrasound signals over 9 months that were recorded on six Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) arrays at ranges of 59 to over 800 km from the volcano. The lack of geophysical monitoring near Bogoslof and the repeated production of volcanic clouds to flight levels...

Lyons, John J.; Iezzi, Alexandra M.; Fee, David; Schwaiger, Hans; Wech, Aaron; Haney, Matthew M.

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Year Published: 2020

Multi-decadal patterns of vegetation succession after tundra fire on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska

Alaska’s Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) is one of the warmest parts of the Arctic tundra biome and tundra fires are common in its upland areas. Here we combine field measurements, Landsat observations, and quantitative cover maps for tundra plant functional types (PFTs) to characterize multi-decadal succession and landscape change after fire in...

Frost, Gerald; Loehman, Rachel A.; Saperstein, Lisa; Macander, Matthew J.; Nelson, Peter; Paradis, David; Natali, Sue M.

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Year Published: 2020

Simulation modeling of complex climate, wildfire, and vegetation dynamics to address wicked problems in land management

Complex, reciprocal interactions among climate, disturbance, and vegetation dramatically alter spatial landscape patterns and influence ecosystem dynamics. As climate and disturbance regimes shift, historical analogs and past empirical studies may not be entirely appropriate as templates for future management. The need for a better understanding...

Loehman, Rachel A.; Keane, Robert E.; Holsinger, Lisa M.

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Year Published: 2020

Fatty acid-based diet estimates suggest ringed seal remain the main prey of southern Beaufort Sea polar bears despite recent use of onshore food resources

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the southern Beaufort Sea (SB) subpopulation have traditionally fed predominantly upon ice‐seals; however, as the proportion of the subpopulation using onshore habitat has recently increased, foraging on land‐based resources, including remains of subsistence‐harvested bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) and...

Bourque, Jennifer; Atwood, Todd C.; Divoky, George J.; Stewart, Connie; McKinney, Melissa A.

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Year Published: 2020

Catalogue of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternal den locations in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and nearby areas, 1910–2018

This report presents data on the approximate locations and methods of discovery of 530 polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternal dens observed in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and neighboring areas from 1910 to 2018, and archived partly by the U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, and partly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Marine...

Durner, George M.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Atwood, Todd C.; Douglas, David C.; Fischbach, Anthony S.; Olson, Jay W.; Rode, Karyn D.; Wilson, Ryan R.
Durner, G.M., Amstrup, S.C., Atwood, T.C., Douglas, D.C., Fischbach, A.S., Olson, J.W., Rode, K.D., and Wilson, R.R., 2020, Catalogue of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternal den locations in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and nearby areas, 1910–2018: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1121, 12 p., including appendixes, https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1121. [Supersedes USGS Data Series 568.]

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Year Published: 2020

The clock keeps ticking: Circadian rhythms of free-ranging polar bears

Life in the Arctic presents organisms with multiple challenges, including extreme photic conditions, cold temperatures, and annual loss and daily movement of sea ice. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) evolved under these unique conditions, where they rely on ice to hunt their main prey, seals. However, very little is known about the dynamics of their...

Ware, Jasmine V.; Rode, Karyn D.; Robbins, Charles T.; Leise, T.; Weil, C.R.; Jansen, Heiko T.

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Year Published: 2020

Assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the Central North Slope of Alaska, 2020

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 3.6 billion barrels of oil and 8.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (associated and nonassociated) in conventional accumulations in Mississippian through Paleogene strata in the central North Slope...

Houseknecht, David W.; Whidden, Katherine J.; Connors, Christopher D.; Lease, Richard O.; Schenk, Christopher J.; Mercier, Tracey J.; Rouse, William A.; Botterell, Palma J.; Smith, Rebecca A.; Sanders, Margaret M.; Craddock, William H.; DeVera, Christina A.; Garrity, Christopher P.; Buursink, Marc L.; Karacan, Cevat O.; Heller, Samuel J.; Moore, Thomas E.; Dumoulin, Julie A.; Tennyson, Marilyn E.; French, Katherine L.; Woodall, Cheryl A.; Drake, Ronald M.; Marra, Kristen R.; Finn, Thomas M.; Kinney, Scott A.; Shorten, Chilisa M.
Houseknecht, D.W., Whidden, K.J., Connors, C.D., Lease, R.O., Schenk, C.J., Mercier, T.J., Rouse, W.A., Botterell, P.J., Smith, R.A., Sanders, M.M., Craddock, W.H., DeVera, C.A., Garrity, C.P., Buursink, M.L., Karacan, C.O., Heller, S.J., Moore, T.E., Dumoulin, J.A., Tennyson, M.E., French, K.L., Woodall, C.A., Drake, R.M., II, Marra, K.R., Finn, T.M., Kinney, S.A., and Shorten, C.M., 2020, Assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the central North Slope of Alaska, 2020: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2020–3001, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20203001.

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Year Published: 2020

Genetic confirmation of a natural hybrid between a Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) and a Cooper’s Hawk (A. cooperii)

Although hybrids between captive Accipiter species are known, and hybrids between wild Accipiter species in North America have long been suspected, none have been confirmed to date. However, in 2014, a hatching year Accipiter captured at Cape May, New Jersey, during fall migration, appeared intermediate in size and plumage between a Northern...

Haughey, Christy; Nelson, Arthur; Napier, Paul; Rosenfield, R. N.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2020

Extreme mortality and reproductive failure of common murres resulting from the northeast Pacific marine heatwave of 2014-2016

About 62,000 dead or dying common murres (Uria aalge), the trophically dominant fish-eating seabird of the North Pacific, washed ashore between summer 2015 and spring 2016 on beaches from California to Alaska. Most birds were severely emaciated and, so far, no evidence for anything other than starvation was found to explain this mass mortality....

Piatt, John F.; Parrish, Julia K.; Renner, Heather M.; Schoen, Sarah K.; Jones, Timothy; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Kuletz, Kathy J.; Bodenstein, Barbara; Garcia-Reyes, Marisol; Duerr, Rebecca; Corcoran, Robin; Kaler, Robb S.A.; McChesney, Gerard J.; Golightly, Richard T.; Coletti, Heather A.; Suryan, Robert M.; Burgess, Hillary K.; Lindsey, Jackie; Lindquist, Kirsten; Warzybok, Peter; Jahncke, Jaime; Roletto, Jan; Sydeman, William J.

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Year Published: 2020

Field-based method for assessing duration of infectivity for influenza A viruses in the environment

Understanding influenza A virus (IAV) persistence in wetlands is limited by a paucity of field studies relating to the maintenance of infectivity over time. The duration of IAV infectivity in water has been assessed under variable laboratory conditions, but results are difficult to translate to more complex field conditions. We tested a field-...

Reeves, Andrew B.; Ramey, Andrew M.; Koch, Joshua C.; Poulson, Rebecca L.; Stallknecht, David E.

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Year Published: 2020

Turbidite stratigraphy in proglacial lakes: Deciphering trigger mechanisms using a statistical approach

Turbidites embedded in lacustrine sediment sequences are commonly used to reconstruct regional flood or earthquake histories. A critical step for this method to be successful is that turbidites and their trigger mechanisms are determined unambiguously. The latter is particularly challenging for prehistoric proglacial lake records in high‐...

Praet, Nore; Van Daele, Maarten; Collart, Tim; Moernaut, J.; Vandekerkhove, Elke; Kempf, P.; Haeussler, Peter; De Batist, M.

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
Hot springs and hot muddy pools (Alaska) caused by geothermal activity underground.
March 8, 2018

Hot springs (Alaska) caused by geothermal activity underground.

Hot springs can occur in many parts of the world. The water is hot not due to climate, but rather due to geothermal activity underground, such as volcanic activity or active hydrothermal heating from hot material in the ground. Hot springs result from water heated by underground geothermal activity finding its way to the land surface. 

This hot spring is located in

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Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
March 5, 2018

Polar Bear Collar Cam B-Roll 2014, 2015, 2016

Exciting polar bear cam b-roll footage from the bear’s perspective from 2014, 2015, and 2016. The USGS Alaska Science Center Polar Bear Research Project conducts long-term research on polar bears to inform, local, state, national and international policy makers regarding conservation and management of the species and its habitat. The USGS’s studies are primarily focused on

Four people around a table
February 19, 2018

Sampling sea floor sediment cores from along the Queen Charlotte Fault

USGS and Geological Survey of Canada scientists sample sediment cores collected from the sea floor along the Queen Charlotte Fault. This was taken while they were working with (or in) the Geological Survey of Canada. The researchers are, from left to right: Amy East, Research Geologist, USGS Pacific Coastal Marine Science Center (PCMSC); Tom Lorenson, Physical Scientist,

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A repeating animated GIF showing a walrus scratching it's side.
February 14, 2018

Walrus Itch

An animated GIF showing a Pacific Walrus scratching/rubbing themselves on their side with their "eye" rolling. The animation repeats in a reverse-motion.

Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
Image shows a river winding through a green landscape
December 31, 2017

Fish Creek Watershed in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Fish Creek wanders through the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 22.8 million acre region managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Alaska's North Slope. USGS has periodically assessed oil and gas resource potential there. These assessments can be found here.

Map of coastline showing lines that ships followed, collecting data along the way, near labeled sites of earthquakes.
December 31, 2017

Research vessel tracklines offshore of southeast Alaska

Tracklines along which R/V Ocean Starr (2017, red lines) and R/V Norseman (2016, black lines) conducted seismic-reflection surveys, overlaid on high-resolution bathymetry (color background). Yellow stars represent earthquakes of magnitude (M) 7 and greater since 1900. Short yellow lines are locations of seismic-reflection profiles (shown below) along 

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Image shows squares of permafrost
December 31, 2017

Permafrost in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Permafrost forms a grid-like pattern in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 22.8 million acre region managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Alaska's North Slope. USGS has periodically assessed oil and gas resource potential there. These assessments can be found here.

Emperor geese standing near the shoreline on Kodiak Island
December 31, 2017

Emperor geese near Kodiak.

Emperor geese gathered near the shoreline on Kodiak Island.

Glacier off Sargent Icefield
December 31, 2017

Glacier off Sargent Icefield

Landscape view of an un-named glacier off the Sargent Icefield, directly across from Wolverine Glacier, above the Nellie Juan River, in Alaska. Taken during a visit to a wolverine glacier field site as part of a study to examine how alpine areas are changing as temperatures rise in Alaska. 

November 20, 2017

Return to the Alaska Wilderness

A team of USGS scientists spent two weeks in the isolated Glacier Bay National Park, exploring one of the fastest-moving faults in North America.
 

3 men leaning over big yellow metal grab bucket on the deck of a ship. Dark sediment is visible inside bucket
September 28, 2017

Examining bucket of seafloor sediment collected off southeast Alaska

USGS research geophysicist Danny Brothers (right) and colleagues examine the surface of a sediment grab sample just pulled onto the deck of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully. The sample was collected from the top of a mud volcano north of the border between southeast Alaska and British Columbia. Expedition scientists are investigating the Queen Charlotte

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Two women stand at a table having a discussion while looking at long cores of sediment samples.
September 17, 2017

Sampling pore fluids from sediment cores

Mary McGann (left, USGS) and Rachel Lauer (University of Calgary) sample pore fluids from sediment cores collected aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault offshore of southeast Alaska. Expedition scientists will use their findings to better understand the history of the fault and the hazards it poses to

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 251
USGS
July 1, 2013

Wilderness pilots, hikers, boaters and people in Alaskan communities can now report online to authorities if they witness falling ash or an ash cloud from an erupting volcano. The  Alaska Volcano Observatory has developed a new online tool for reporting visible volcanic ash. 

USGS
May 30, 2013

Multiple sources of Alaskan geochemical information have united into one online resource. 

USGS
May 27, 2013

USGS releases more than 400 updated US Topo maps of Alaska

USGS
April 1, 2013

Twenty-five years of monitoring and studying Alaska's volcanoes by the Alaska Volcano Observatory have improved global understanding of how volcanoes work and how to live safely with volcanic eruptions. Timely warnings from AVO throughout its 25-year history have helped reduce the impact of erupting volcanoes, protecting lives, property, and economic well-being.

USGS
January 30, 2013

The upper Cook Inlet is the world's coldest site that regularly supports wintering shorebirds.  The rock sandpiper is the only shorebird found in this region during winter and is a species that is uniquely adapted to survive the winter chill, according to new research by biologists with the USGS Alaska Science Center.  

USGS
January 23, 2013

Invasive northern pike in southcentral Alaska are opportunistic and adaptable predators that feed on multiple native fish species when their preferred prey, native salmonids, are no longer abundant, according to a new study released in Ecology of Freshwater Fish. 

USGS
June 26, 2012

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Shrews are among a diverse group of small mammals that have rapidly evolved in response to climate change, according to a new study released this month.

USGS
January 23, 2012

ANCHORAGE — A new report maps out erosion history and hazards for 74 miles of the Matanuska River, a braided river in Southcentral Alaska that has damaged and threatened houses, roads and public facilities for decades. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 25, 2011

Thawing permafrost in the Yukon River watershed may be a source of naturally occurring mercury being conveyed by rivers into the environment, according to USGS research scientists.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 13, 2011

Dr. David Shelly, a research seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, was named one of President Obama's recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 7, 2011

Stephen Gray has been selected as the center director of the Department of the Interior’s Alaska Climate Science Center, located at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, in Anchorage.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 13, 2011

Personal interviews with Alaska Natives in the Yukon River Basin provide unique insights on climate change and its impacts, helping develop adaptation strategies for these local communities.

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.