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: 180
Duck with various brown colored feathers
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...

White-fronted Goose swimming in Northern Alaska
Date Published: July 1, 2017
Status: Active

Diseases and Contaminants in Waterfowl

Waterfowl are common reservoirs for a variety of avian diseases and can suffer significant mortality from certain pathogens. Additionally, waterfowl are exposed to naturally occurring and human sources of contaminants. Research at the USGS Alaska Science Center on disease and contaminants in waterfowl strengthens the efficiency and effectiveness of disease surveillance across North America....

Shorebirds huddled together on the icy mud
Date Published: July 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Past Shorebird Research

Below is information on past USGS research projects. 

Poisson distribution animation
Date Published: June 21, 2017
Status: Active

Biometrics Research

The Biometrics Research Program addresses unresolved issues in sampling wildlife and habitats, designing ecological experiments, estimating biological and ecological parameters, testing biological and ecological hypotheses, and modeling population, community and ecosystem dynamics. The focus is on questions of immediate and ongoing concern to the Department of the Interior (DOI) and regional...

Molecular ecology laboratory procedure
Date Published: June 20, 2017
Status: Active

Molecular Ecology Laboratory in Alaska

The Molecular Ecology Laboratory at the USGS Alaska Science Center provides genetic capabilities for the wide range of science needs of the Department of the Interior nationally as well as on trust species and resources in Alaska. 

A polar bear walks across rubble ice in the Alaska portion of the southern Beaufort Sea
Date Published: June 20, 2017
Status: Active

Quantitative Ecology Research

The goals of the Quantitative Ecology Research Program are to develop analytical methods and statistical models that broadly advance our understanding of the ecological mechanisms that influence wildlife population dynamics and demographics. Knowing how ecological processes influence key animal outcomes, such as behavior, foraging success, survival, and reproduction, provides vital insights...

Exit Creek in front of some mountains
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...

The Agashashok River Watershed
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
The "From Icefield to Ocean Poster" depicts the important linkages between glaciers and the ocean.
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
Wetlands in the Goose Creek Watershed
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
Thawing ice wedges create ponds on the Arctic Coastal Plain
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...

Example of thawing landscapes and thermokarst at our field sites
Date Published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)

ABoVE: Vulnerability of inland waters and the aquatic carbon cycle to changing permafrost and climate across boreal northwestern North America.

Carbon released from thawing permafrost may fuel terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems or contribute to greenhouse gas emission, leading to a potential warming feedback and further thaw.

Contacts: Rob Striegl, Michelle Walvoord, Burke Minsley, Kimberly Wickland, Brian A Ebel, Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Bruce Wiley, Torre Jorgenson, Dave Butman, Rob Spencer
Filter Total Items: 2,376
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Year Published: 2018

Unusual foraging observations associated with seabird die-offs in Alaska

We report the first documentation of off-water foraging by the Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma furcata and Short-tailed Shearwater Ardenna tenuirostris, a behavior not previously documented in any member of the families Hydrobatidae or Procellariidae. Over a two-week period in September 2016, we regularly observed individuals of these species...

Robinson, Bryce; DeCicco, Lucas H.; Johnson, James A.; Ruthrauff, Daniel R.

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Year Published: 2018

Shorebirds adjust spring arrival schedules with variable environmental conditions: Four decades of assessment on the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska

Arctic summers are brief, and there has been strong selection for migratory birds to arrive in Arctic nesting areas as early as possible to time breeding with peak food availability and complete reproduction. The timing of emergence of nesting habitat in spring is, however, extremely variable in the Arctic, and few long-term studies have examined...

Shuford, W. David; Gill, Robert E.; Handel, Colleen M.; Ely, Craig R.; McCaffery, Brian; Gill, Robert E.

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Year Published: 2018

Survey-based assessment of the frequency and potential impacts of recreation on polar bears

Conservation plans for polar bears (Ursus maritimus) typically cannot prescribe management actions to address their primary threat: sea ice loss associated with climate warming. However, there may be other stressors that compound the negative effects of sea ice loss which can be mitigated. For example, Arctic tourism has...

Rode, Karyn D.; Fortin, Jennifer K.; Garshelis, Dave; Dyck, Markus; Sahanatien, Vicki; Atwood, Todd C.; Belikov, Stanislav; Laidre, Kristin L.; Miller, Susanne; Obbard, Martyn E.; Vongraven, Dag; Ware, Jasmine V.; Wilder, James
Rode, K. D., J. K. Fortin-Noreus, D. L. Garshelis, M. Dyck, V. Sahanatien, T. C. Atwood, S. E. Belikov, K. L. Laidre, S. Miller, M. E. Obbard, D. Vongraven, J. V. Ware, and J. Wilder. 2018. Survey-based assessment of the frequency and potential impacts of recreation on polar bears. Biological Conservation 227:121-132. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2018.09.008

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Year Published: 2018

Movements and dive patterns of pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata) released in the Gulf of Mexico following rehabilitation

The habits and habitats of pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata) in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) are poorly known outside of strandings and line-transect surveys. Two adult male pygmy killer whales were found live-stranded in the state of Mississippi (USA) on 1 September 2015 and were subsequently rehabilitated and returned to the offshore waters of...

Pulis, Eric; Wells, Randall S.; Schorr, Gregory S.; Douglas, David C.; Samuelson, Mystera M.; Solangi, Moby
Pulis, E.E., Wells, R.S., Schorr, G.S., Douglas, D.C., Samuelson, M.M., and Solangi, M., 2018, Movements and dive patterns of pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata) released in the Gulf of Mexico following rehabilitation: Aquatic Mammals vol. 44, no. 5 p. 555-567. doi: 10.1578/AM.44.5.2018.555

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Year Published: 2018

Spring temperature, migration chronology, and nutrient allocation to eggs in three species of arctic‐nesting geese: Implications for resilience to climate warming

The macronutrients that Arctic herbivores invest in their offspring are derived from endogenous reserves of fat and protein (capital) that females build prior to the period of investment or from foods they consume concurrently with investment (income). The relative contribution from each source can be influenced by temporal and environmental...

Hupp, Jerry W.; Ward, David H.; Soto, David X.; Hobson, Keith A.
Hupp, J.W., Ward, D.H., Soto, D.X.and Hobson, K. A., 2018, Spring temperature, migration chronology, and nutrient allocation to eggs in three species of arctic‐nesting geese: Implications for resilience to climate warming: Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14418

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Year Published: 2018

Genetic evidence supports sporadic and independent introductions of subtype H5 low pathogenic avian influenza A viruses from wild birds to domestic poultry in North America

Wild bird–origin influenza A viruses (IAVs or avian influenza) have led to sporadic outbreaks among domestic poultry in the United States (US) and Canada, resulting in economic losses through the implementation of costly containment practices and destruction of birds. We used evolutionary analyses of virus sequence data to determine that 78 H5 low...

Li, Lei; Bowman, Andrew S.; DeLiberto, Thomas J.; Killian, Mary L.; Krauss, Scott; Nolting, Jacqueline M.; Torchetti, Mia Kim; Ramey, Andrew M.; Reeves, Andrew B.; Stallknecht, David E.; Webby, Richard J.; Wan, Xiu-Feng

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Year Published: 2018

Introduction of Eurasian-origin H8N4 influenza A virus into North America via migratory birds

We identified a Eurasian-origin influenza A(H8N4) virus in North America by sampling wild birds in western Alaska, USA. Evidence for repeated introductions of influenza A viruses into North America by migratory birds suggests that intercontinental dispersal might not be exceedingly rare and that our understanding of viral establishment is...

Ramey, Andrew M.; Reeves, Andrew B.; Donnelly, Tyrone F.; Poulson, Rebecca L.; Stallknecht, David E.
Ramey, A. M., Reeves, A. B., Donnelly, T., Poulson, R. L., and Stallknecht, D. E., 2018, Introduction of Eurasian-origin H8N4 influenza A virus into North America via migratory birds: Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 24, no. 10, p. . doi:10.3201/eid2410.180447.

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Year Published: 2018

Evaluating time-removal models for estimating availability of boreal birds during point count surveys: Sample size requirements and model complexity

We used conventional and finite mixture removal models with and without time-varying covariates to evaluate availability given presence for 152 bird species using data from point counts in boreal North America. We found that the choice of model had an impact on the estimability of unknown model parameters and affected the bias and variance of...

Solymos, Peter; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Cumming, Steven G.; Stralberg, Diana; Fontaine, Patricia C.; Schmiegelow, Fiona K. A.; Song, Samantha J.; Bayne, Erin M.
Sólymos, P., Matsuoka,S.M., Cumming, S.G., Stralberg, D.,Fontaine, C., Schmiegelow, F.K.A., Song, S.J., and Bayne, E.M., 2018. Evaluating time-removal models for estimating availability of boreal birds during point count surveys: Sample size requirements and model complexity: Condor vol. 120, no. 4, p. 765-786. doi:10.1650/CONDOR-18-32.1

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Year Published: 2018

Aerial surveys of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska, May, 2017

Portions of two stocks of northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) occur in Lower Cook Inlet (LCI), Alaska. Sea otters on the west side of LCI are considered part of the southwest Alaska stock; sea otters occupying eastern LCI are considered part of the southcentral Alaska stock. Information concerning the distributions and abundance of sea...

Gerlach-Miller, Joel; Esslinger, George G.; Weitzman, Ben

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Year Published: 2018

Flyway structure in the circumpolar greater white‐fronted goose

Dispersal and migratory behavior are influential factors in determining how genetic diversity is distributed across the landscape. In migratory species, genetic structure can be promoted via several mechanisms including fidelity to distinct migratory routes. Particularly within North America, waterfowl management units have been delineated...

Wilson, Robert E.; Ely, Craig R.; Talbot, Sandra L.
Wilson RE, Ely CR, Talbot SL. Flyway structure in the circumpolar greater white‐fronted goose. Ecol Evol. 2018;00:1–18. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4345

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Year Published: 2018

A transcriptome resource for the Arctic Cod (Boreogadus saida)

Arctic Cod (Boreogadus saida) serve as an important link in Arctic food webs and are thus considered an important species for environmental monitoring. RNA-Seq was conducted on samples from wild-collected individuals representing various age classes and tissue types to obtain as complete a transcriptome as possible on an Illumina MiSeq, which...

Wilson, Robert E.; Menning, Damian M.; Wedemeyer, Kate; Talbot, Sandra L.
Wilson, R.E., D.M. Menning, K. Wedemeyer, S.L. Talbot. 2018. A transcriptome resource for the Arctic Cod (Boreogadus saida), Marine Genomics, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.margen.2018.03.003

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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.

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: 989
A field of peatland surrounded by spruce and other understory plants in Alaska. Mountains can be seen in the background.
August 30, 2017

Thawing Peatlands, Alaska

Cores were collected from various areas of thawing permafrost-peatlands in Alaska. Permafrost thaw results in ground subsidence and inundation that kills black spruce and other understory plants living on the permafrost plateau. 

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain
August 30, 2017

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain

Glacier Creek sonar on a bridge
August 29, 2017

Glacier Creek sonar on a bridge

Glacier Creek sonar

A small shorebird walking along the mud
August 25, 2017

Black-bellied Plover on the mud shore of Big Creek near Egegik, Alaska

Black-bellied Plover on the mud shore of Big Creek, Alaska.

A shorebird walking along the shore
August 25, 2017

Pacific Golden-Plover on the shore near Big Creek near Egegik, Alaska

Pacific Golden-Plover on the shore near Big Creek, Alaska.

Common Murres in their colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Adult touching bill to chick.
August 19, 2017

Common Murres in their colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Common Murres in their colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Common Murres in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska in 2017
August 19, 2017

Common Murres in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska in 2017

Common Murres in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska in 2017

Black-legged Kittiwakes sitting on the side of a rock wall in Cook Inlet, Alaska
August 19, 2017

Black-legged Kittiwakes in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Black-legged Kittiwakes in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska. One bird on a nest.

A lot of small fish from a fyke net set near Kaktovik, AK.  Biologists sort through them.
August 7, 2017

The catch from a fyke net set near Kaktovik, Alaska

Biologists identify species, count, measure length, and release thousands of fish each year to understand how fish use nearshore habitats.

Underwater view of fish inside a fyke net
August 5, 2017

Underwater image of fish captured by a fyke net

An underwater image of fish captured by a fyke net near Kaktovik, Alaska, Beaufort Sea, USA. The small silver fish with dark backs are young-of-year (age-0) Arctic cisco (Coregonus autumnalis) and the flatfish are Arctic flounder (Liopsetta glacialis).

A fish trap set in the ocean along the shore near Kaktovik, AK
August 5, 2017

A fyke net set to catch nearshore fish near Kaktovik, Alaska

A fyke net or fish trap used for continuous sampling of nearshore fish in shallow waters. Fish swimming along the beach are stopped by a small-mesh net that guides them in to one of these two underwater fish traps that are set side by side. Researchers visit nets at least once a day to identify, count, and release fish.

Cross-sectional view of the earth beneath the seafloor, clear patterns show deformation.
July 31, 2017

Multichannel seismic-reflection profile, Sitka Sound

Multichannel seismic-reflection profile showing deformed and offset sediment layers below the outer continental shelf west of Sitka. The Sitka Sound fault is one of more than a dozen previously unmapped faults discovered in the July 2017 seismic-reflection data. Location of profile shown by yellow line on trackline map, above. km, kilometer; m, meter; s, second.

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 246
USGS
December 15, 2010

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Sea-ice habitats essential to polar bears would likely respond positively should more curbs be placed on global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new modeling study published today in the journal, Nature. 

USGS
November 17, 2010

Approximately 13 million metric tons of rare earth elements (REE) exist within known deposits in the United States, according to the first-ever nationwide estimate of these elements by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS
November 8, 2010

ANCHORAGE, Alaska ­– The highest rate of beak abnormalities ever recorded in wild bird populations is being seen in a number of species in the Northwest and Alaska, and scientists to this point have not been able to isolate the cause.

USGS
October 26, 2010

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates 896 million barrels of conventional, undiscovered oil and 53 trillion cubic feet of conventional, undiscovered non-associated gas within NPRA and adjacent state waters.

USGS
August 25, 2010

TACOMA, Wash. — Washington’s only “benchmark” glacier continues to lose mass as a result of changes in climate, according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS
August 25, 2010

Anchorage, Alaska — A secluded island in the Aleutian chain is revealing secrets of how land and marine ecosystems react to and recover from a catastrophic volcanic eruption that appeared at first glance to destroy all life on the island.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 24, 2009

USGS will Grant Universities $5 Million to Beef Up Public Safety Grants totaling $5 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are being awarded to 13 universities nationwide to upgrade critical earthquake monitoring networks and increase public safety.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 16, 2009

Levels of chloride, a component of salt, are elevated in many urban streams and groundwater across the northern U.S., according to a new government study. Chloride levels above the recommended federal criteria set to protect aquatic life were found in more than 40 percent of urban streams tested. The study was released today by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 9, 2009

The winter distribution of Pacific brant, a small, dark sea goose, has shifted northward from low-temperate areas such as Mexico to sub-Arctic areas as Alaska's climate has warmed over the last four decades, according to a just-released article in Arctic.

USGS science for a changing world logo
August 13, 2009

Residents and critical infrastructure in the nation's six highest-risk volcanic areas—including the Alaska region-- will benefit from increased monitoring and analysis as a result of Recovery Act funds being channeled into volcano monitoring, Secretary Salazar announced today.

USGS science for a changing world logo
August 6, 2009

When Alaska's Kasatochi Volcano erupted on Aug. 7, 2008, it virtually sterilized Kasatochi Island, covering the small Aleutian island with a layer of ash and other volcanic material several meters thick.
The eruption also provided a rare research opportunity: the chance to see how an ecosystem develops from the very first species to colonize the island.

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.