Unified Interior Regions

Region 11: Alaska

Alaska Science Center

Alaska Science Center

4210 University Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: (907) 786-7000

View Center Website

Volcano Science Center

Volcano Science Center

4230 University Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: (907) 786-7497

View Center Website

Climate Adaptation Science Center

Climate Adaptation Science Center

4230 University Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: 907-301-7830

View Center Website

Regions L2 Landing Page Tabs

USGS research activities relevant to Alaska have yielded more than 9400 historical publications. This page features some of the most recent newsworthy research findings.

Search USGS publications for Alaska

Arctic Science for Decision Maker

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report
Filter Total Items: 2,433
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Year Published: 2018

Demography of the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) in a changing Arctic

The Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) is a candidate to be listed as an endangered species under United States law, in part, because of climate change‐related concerns. While the population was known to be declining in the 1980s and 1990s, its recent status has not been determined. We developed Bayesian models of walrus population...

Taylor, Rebecca L.; Udevitz, Mark S.; Jay, Chadwick V.; Citta, John J.; Quakenbush, Lori T.; Lemons, Patrick R.; Snyder, Jonathan A.
Taylor, R.L., and Udevitz, M.S. 2015. Marine Mammal Science, vol. 31, no. 1, p. 231-254. doi: 10.1111/mms.12156

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Year Published: 2018

Environmental and ecological conditions at Arctic breeding sites have limited effects on true survival rates of adult shorebirds

Many Arctic shorebird populations are declining, and quantifying adult survival and the effects of anthropogenic factors is a crucial step toward a better understanding of population dynamics. We used a recently developed, spatially explicit Cormack–Jolly–Seber model in a Bayesian framework to obtain broad-scale estimates of true annual survival...

Weiser, Emily L.; Lanctot, Richard B.; Brown, Stephen C.; Gates, H. River; Bentzen, Rebecca L.; Bêty, Joël; Boldenow, Megan L.; English, Willow B.; Franks, Samantha E.; Koloski, Laura; Kwon, Eunbi; Lamarre, Jean-Francois; Lank, David B.; Liebezeit, Joseph R.; McKinnon, Laura; Nol, Erica; Rausch, Jennie; Saalfeld, Sarah T.; Senner, Nathan R.; Ward, David H.; Woodard, Paul F.; Sandercock, Brett K.
Weiser, E. L., R. B. Lanctot, S. C. Brown, H. R. Gates, R. L. Bentzen, J. Bêty, M. L. Boldenow, W. B. English, S. E. Franks, L. Koloski, E. Kwon, J-F. Lamarre, D. B. Lank, J. R. Liebezeit, L. McKinnon, E. Nol, J. Rausch, S. T. Saalfeld, N. R. Senner, D. H. Ward, P. F. Woodard, and B. K. Sandercock. 2018. Environmental and ecological conditions at Arctic breeding sites have limited effects on true survival rates of adult shorebirds. The Auk 135(1):29-43. doi:10.1642/AUK-17-107.1

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Year Published: 2018

Patterns and controls of mercury accumulation in sediments from three thermokarst lakes on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska

The biogeochemical cycle of mercury will be influenced by climate change, particularly at higher latitudes. Investigations of historical mercury accumulation in lake sediments inform future predictions as to how climate change might affect mercury biogeochemistry; however, in regions with a paucity of data, such as the thermokarst-rich Arctic...

Burke, Samantha M.; Zimmerman, Christian E.; Branfireun, Brian A.; Koch, Joshua C.; Swanson, Heidi K.

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Year Published: 2018

The nitrogen window for arctic herbivores: plant phenology and protein gain of migratory caribou (Rangifer tarandus)

Terrestrial plants are often limited by nitrogen (N) in arctic systems, but constraints of N supply on herbivores are typically considered secondary to those of energy. We tested the hypothesis that forage N is more limiting than energy for arctic caribou by collecting key forages (three species of graminoids, three species of woody browse, and...

Barboza, Perry S.; Van Someren, Lindsay L.; Gustine, David D.; Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia
Barboza, P. S., L. L. Van Someren, D. D. Gustine, and M. S. Bret‐Harte. 2018. The nitrogen window for arctic herbivores: plant phenology and protein gain of migratory caribou (Rangifer tarandus). Ecosphere 9(1):e02073. 10.1002/ecs2.2073

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Year Published: 2018

Effects of climate change on ecological disturbance in the northern Rockies

Disturbances alter ecosystem, community, or population structure and change elements of the biological and/or physical environment. Climate changes can alter the timing, magnitude, frequency, and duration of disturbance events, as well as the interactions of disturbances on a landscape, and climate change may already be affecting disturbance...

Halofsky, Jessica E.; Peterson, David L.; Loehman, Rachel A.; Bentz, Barbara J.; DeNitto, Gregg A.; Keane, Robert E.; Manning, Mary E.; Duncan, Jacob P.; Egan, Joel M.; Jackson, Marcus B.; Kegley, Sandra; Lockman, I. Blakey; Pearson, Dean E.; Powell, James A.; Shelly, Steve; Steed, Brytten E.; Zambino, Paul J.
Loehman, R.A., Bentz, B.J., DeNitto, G.A., Keane, R.E., Manning, M.E., Duncan, J.P., Egan, J.M., Jackson, M.B., Kegley, S., Lockman, I.B., Pearson, D.E., Powell, J.A., Shelly, S., Steed, B.E., and Zambino, P.J., 2017, Effects of climate change on ecological disturbance in the Northern Rockies, pages 115-141 in Halofsky, J.E. and Peterson, D.L., eds. Climate Change and Rocky Mountain Ecosystems; A Regional Assessment: Springer, Advances in Global Change Research, vol. 63. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-56928-4_7

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Year Published: 2018

Effects of climate change on forest vegetation in the northern Rockies

Increasing air temperature, through its influence on soil moisture, is expected to cause gradual changes in the abundance and distribution of tree, shrub, and grass species throughout the Northern Rockies, with drought tolerant species becoming more competitive. The earliest changes will be at ecotones between lifeforms (e.g., upper and lower...

Halofsky, Jessica E.; Peterson, David L.; Keane, Robert E.; Mahalovich, Mary Frances; Bollenbacher, Barry L.; Manning, Mary E.; Loehman, Rachel A.; Jain, Terrie B.; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Larson, Andrew J.
Keane, R.E., Mahalovich, M.F., Bollenbacher, B.L., Manning, M.E., Loehman, R.A., Jain, T.B., Holsinger, L.M., and Larson, A.J., 2017, Effects of climate change on forest vegetation in the Northern Rockies, pages 115-141 in Halofsky, J.E. and Peterson, D.L., eds. Climate Change and Rocky Mountain Ecosystems; A Regional Assessment: Springer, Advances in Global Change Research, vol. 63. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-56928-4_7

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Year Published: 2018

Spring fasting behavior in a marine apex predator provides an index of ecosystem productivity

The effects of declining Arctic sea ice on local ecosystem productivity are not well understood but have been shown to vary inter-specifically, spatially, and temporally. Because marine mammals occupy upper trophic levels in Arctic food webs, they may be useful indicators for understanding variation in ecosystem productivity. Polar bears (Ursus...

Rode, Karyn D.; Wilson, Ryan R.; Douglas, David C.; Muhlenbruch, Vanessa L; Atwood, Todd C.; Regehr, Eric V.; Richardson, Evan; Pilfold, Nicholas; Derocher, Andrew E.; Durner, George M.; Stirling, Ian; Amstrup, Steven C.; St Martin, Michelle; Pagano, Anthony M.; Simac, Kristin S.
Rode KD, Wilson RR, Douglas DC, et al. Spring fasting behavior in a marine apex predator provides an index of ecosystem productivity. Glob Change Biol. 2017;00:1–14. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13933

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Year Published: 2018

Influences of landscape heterogeneity on home-range sizes of brown bears

Animal space use is influenced by many factors and can affect individual survival and fitness. Under optimal foraging theory, individuals use landscapes to optimize high-quality resources while minimizing the amount of energy used to acquire them. The spatial resource variability hypothesis states that as patchiness of resources increases,...

Mangipane, Lindsey S.; Belant, Jerrold L.; Hiller, Tim L.; Colvin, Michael E.; Gustine, David; Mangipane, Buck A.; Hilderbrand, Grant V.
Influences of landscape heterogeneity on home-range sizes of brown bears: Mammalian Biology, In Press,. doi: 10.1016/j.mambio.2017.09.002

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Year Published: 2018

Small-scale genetic structure in an endangered wetland specialist: possible effects of landscape change and population recovery

The effects of anthropogenic landscape change on genetic population structure are well studied, but the temporal and spatial scales at which genetic structure can develop, especially in taxa with high dispersal capabilities like birds, are less well understood. We investigated population structure in the Hawaiian gallinule (Gallinula galeata...

van Rees, Charles B.; Reed, J. Michael; Wilson, Robert E.; Underwood, Jared G.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.
van Rees, C.B., Reed, J.M., Wilson, R.E., Underwood, J.G., and Sonsthagen, S.A., 2017, Small-scale genetic structure in an endangered wetland specialist: possible effects of landscape change and population recovery: Conservation Genetics, doi: 10.1007/s10592-017-1020-0

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Year Published: 2018

Timelines and mechanisms of wildlife population recovery following the Exxon Valdez oil spill

Research and monitoring activities over the 28 years since the T/V Exxon Valdez ran aground and spilled oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska have led to an improved understanding of how wildlife populations were damaged, as well as the mechanisms and timelines of recovery. A key finding was that for some species, such as harlequin ducks...

Esler, Daniel N.; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Matkin, Craig O.; Cushing, Daniel; Kaler, Robert; Bodkin, James L.; Monson, Daniel; Esslinger, George G.; Kloecker, Kimberly A.
Esler, D., Ballachey, B.E., Matkin, C., Cushing, D., Kaler, R., Bodkin, J., Monson, D., Esslinger, G., and Kloecker, K. 2017 .Timelines and mechanisms of wildlife population recovery following the Exxon Valdez oil spill: Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. vol. , no. , p. . doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2017.04.007

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Year Published: 2018

Tracing biogeochemical subsidies from glacier runoff into Alaska's coastal marine food webs

Nearly half of the freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska originates from landscapes draining glacier runoff, but the influence of the influx of riverine organic matter on the trophodynamics of coastal marine food webs is not well understood. We quantified the ecological impact of riverine organic matter subsidies to glacier-marine habitats...

Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Hobson, Keith A.; Webber, D'Arcy N.; Piatt, John F.; Hood, Eran W.; Fellman, Jason B.
Arimitsu, M.L., Hobson, K.A., Webber, D.N., Piatt, J.F., Hood, E.W. and Fellman, J.B., 2017. Tracing biogeochemical subsidies from glacier runoff into Alaska's coastal marine food webs: Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.13875

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Year Published: 2017

The Peters Hills basin, a Neogene wedge-top basin on the Broad Pass thrust fault, south-central Alaska

The Neogene Peters Hills basin is a small terrestrial basin that formed along the south flank of the Alaska Range during a time in which there was regional shortening. The formation of the Peters Hills basin is consistent with it being a wedge-top basin that formed on top of the active southeast-vergent Broad Pass thrust fault. Movement along this...

Haeussler, Peter J.; Saltus, Richard W.; Stanley, Richard G.; Ruppert, Natalia; Lewis, Kristen; Karl, Susan M.; Bender, Adrian M.
Haeussler, P.J., Saltus, R.W., Stanley, R.G., Ruppert, N., Lewis, K., Karl, S.M. and Bender, A., 2017, The Peters Hills basin, a Neogene wedge-top basin on the Broad Pass thrust fault, south-central Alaska: Geosphere, vol. 13, no. 5, p. 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1130/GES01487.1

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: 974
Kittlittz's Murrelet flying above the water in Cook Inlet, Alaska
July 4, 2016

Kittlittz's Murrelet flying above the water in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Kittlittz's Murrelet flying above the water in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Biologists catching forage fish with a cast net in Prince William Sound
July 2, 2016

Biologists with cast net caught forage fish in Prince William Sound

Brielle Heflin and Sarah Schoen catching forage fish with a cast net in Prince William Sound.

Black-legged Kittiwake captured 2 Pacific sand lance
July 1, 2016

Black-legged Kittiwake captured 2 Pacific sand lance

Black-legged Kittiwake captured 2 Pacific sand lance.

2 Black-legged Kittiwakes, one captured Pacific sand lance
July 1, 2016

Black-legged Kittiwakes foraging on Pacific sand lance

Black-legged Kittiwakes foraging on Pacific sand lance

Black-legged Kittiwake captured Pacific sand lance above the water
July 1, 2016

Black-legged Kittiwake foraging on Pacific sand lance

Black-legged Kittiwakes foraging on Pacific sand lance.

An owl perched on an old log
July 1, 2016

Short-eared Owl on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska

Short-eared Owl.  This photo was taken on the Seward Peninsula as part of the Changing Arctic Ecosystem Boreal-Arctic Transition Zone program.

Gulls using beach at the mouth of Kenai River during the personal use dipnet fishery for sockeye salmon.
June 30, 2016

Kenai River during the personal use dipnet fishery for sockeye salmon.

Gulls using beach at the mouth of Kenai River during the personal use dipnet fishery for sockeye salmon; photo taken during sampling trip in July 2016.

John Reed (USGS scientist) holding a gull marked with a satellite transmitter at the Soldotna landfill in June 2016
June 30, 2016

A gull marked with a satellite transmitter at the Soldotna landfill

John Reed (USGS scientist) holding a gull marked with a satellite transmitter at the Soldotna landfill in June 2016.

A close up of a male Willow Ptarmigan
June 30, 2016

A male Willow Ptarmigan

A closeup of a male Willow Ptarmigan.

Person in a trench
June 26, 2016

Investigating a trench across the Fairweather Fault

USGS Research Geologist Chris DuRoss investigates earthquake-faulted stratigraphy exposed in a hand-dug trench across the Fairweather Fault scarp. Location: Crillon Lake, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

Two men walking on the edge of a thin forest
June 22, 2016

Walking along the Fairweather Fault scarp

USGS scientists Adrian Bender and Peter Haeussler walk along the base of a ~10 m tall escarpment formed during past ground-rupturing earthquakes on the Fairweather Fault. Location: Crillon Lake, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

A person in a forest of tall trees
June 20, 2016

Surveying the Fairweather Fault trace

USGS Geologist Adrian Bender surveys a trace of the 1958 Fairweather Fault earthquake surface rupture. The trace forms a linear, uphill-facing, 1-2 m tall escarpment flanked by trees that were likely tilted during the 1958 earthquake. Location: Crillon Lake, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

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.