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: 2,440
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Year Published: 2017

Implications of rapid environmental change for polar bear behavior and sociality

Historically, the Arctic sea ice has functioned as a structural barrier that has limited the nature and extent of interactions between humans and polar bears (Ursus maritimus). However, declining sea ice extent, brought about by global climate change, is increasing the potential for human-polar bear interactions. Loss of sea ice habitat is driving...

Atwood, Todd C.
Atwood, T.C., 2017, Implications of rapid environmental change for polar bear behavior and sociality: p. 445-462 in Marine Mammal Welfare: Human Induced Change in the Marine Environment and its Impacts on Marine Mammal Welfare, A. Butterworth (ed.). Springer, Cham, Switzerland. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-46994-2

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Year Published: 2017

Monitoring the welfare of polar bear populations in a rapidly changing Arctic

Most programs for monitoring the welfare of wildlife populations support efforts aimed at reaching discrete management objectives, like mitigating conflict with humans. While such programs can be effective, their limited scope may preclude systemic evaluations needed for large-scale conservation initiatives, like the recovery of at-risk species....

Atwood, Todd C.; Duncan, Colleen G.; Patyk, Kelly A.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.
Atwood, T.C., Duncan, C., Patyk, K.A., and Sonsthagen, S.A. , 2017, Monitoring the welfare of polar bear populations in a rapidly changing Arctic: Pages 503-529 in Marine Mammal Welfare: Human Induced Change in the Marine Environment and its Impacts on Marine Mammal Welfare, A. Butterworth (ed.), vol. 17, Springer, Cham, Switzerland. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-46994-2

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Year Published: 2017

Polar bears, Ursus maritimus

Polar bears are the largest of the eight species of bears found worldwide and are covered in a pigment-free fur giving them the appearance of being white. They are the most carnivorous of bear species consuming a high-fat diet, primarily of ice-associated seals and other marine mammals. They range throughout the circumpolar Arctic to the...

Rode, Karyn D.; Stirling, Ian
Rode, K.D., and I. Stirling. 2017. Polar bears. In: Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, 3rd edition. B. Wursig, J.G.M. Thewissen, and K. Kovacs (eds). Academic Press.

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Year Published: 2017

A swath across the great divide: Kelp forests across the Samalga Pass biogeographic break

Biogeographic breaks are often described as locations where a large number of species reach their geographic range limits. Samalga Pass, in the eastern Aleutian Archipelago, is a known biogeographic break for the spatial distribution of several species of offshore-pelagic communities, including numerous species of cold-water corals, zooplankton,...

Konar, Brenda H.; Edwards, Matthew S.; Bland, Aaron; Metzger, Jacob; Ravelo, Alexandra; Traiger, Sarah; Weitzman, Ben P.
Konar, Brenda & S. Edwards, Matthew & Bland, Aaron & Metzger, Jacob & Ravelo, Alexandra & Traiger, Sarah & Weitzman, Benjamin. (2017). A swath across the great divide: Kelp forests across the Samalga Pass biogeographic break. Continental Shelf Research. 143. . 10.1016/j.csr.2017.06.007.

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Year Published: 2017

Regionalizing indicators for marine ecosystems: Bering Sea–Aleutian Island seabirds, climate, and competitors

Seabirds are thought to be reliable, real-time indicators of forage fish availability and the climatic and biotic factors affecting pelagic food webs in marine ecosystems. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that temporal trends and interannual variability in seabird indicators reflect simultaneously occurring bottom-up (climatic) and...

Sydeman, William J.; Thompson, Sarah Ann; Piatt, John F.; García-Reyes, Marisol; Zador, Stephani; Williams, Jeffrey C.; Romano, Marc; Renner, Heather
William J. Sydeman, Sarah Ann Thompson, John F. Piatt, Marisol García-Reyes, Stephani Zador, Jeff C. Williams, Marc Romano, Heather M. Renner, Regionalizing indicators for marine ecosystems: Bering Sea–Aleutian Island seabirds, climate, and competitors, Ecological Indicators, Volume 78, July 2017, Pages 458-469.

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Year Published: 2017

Intraspecific evolutionary relationships among peregrine falcons in western North American high latitudes

Subspecies relationships within the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) have been long debated because of the polytypic nature of melanin-based plumage characteristics used in subspecies designations and potential differentiation of local subpopulations due to philopatry. In North America, understanding the evolutionary relationships among...

Talbot, Sandra L.; Sage, George K.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Gravley, Megan C.; Swem, Ted; Williams, Jeffrey C.; Longmire, Jonathan L.; Ambrose, Skip; Flamme, Melanie J.; Lewis, Stephen B.; Phillips, Laura M.; Anderson, Clifford; White, Clayton M
Talbot, S.L, Sage, G.K., Sonsthagen, S.A., Gravley, M.C., Swem, T., Williams, J.C., Longmire, J.L., Ambrose, S., Flamme, M.J., Lewis, S.B., Phillips, L., Anderson, C., and White, C.M., 2017, Intraspecific evolutionary relationships among peregrine falcons in western North American high latitudes: PLoS One, vol.12, no. 11, p. e0188185. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0188185

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Year Published: 2017

Development of microsatellite loci exhibiting reverse ascertainment bias and a sexing marker for use in Emperor Geese (Chen canagica)

The Alaskan population of Emperor Geese (Chen canagica) nests on the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska. Numbers of Emperor Geese in Alaska declined from the 1960s to the mid-1980s and since then, their numbers have slowly increased. Low statistical power of microsatellite loci developed in other waterfowl species and used in previous studies...

Gravley, Megan C.; Sage, George K.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Talbot, Sandra L.
Gravley, M.C., Sage, G.K., Schmutz, J.A., and Talbot, S.L., 2017, Development of microsatellite loci exhibiting reverse ascertainment bias and a sexing marker for use in Emperor Geese (Chen canagica): Avian Biology Research, vol. 10, no. 4, p. 201-210. doi:10.3184/175815617X14969254461396

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Year Published: 2017

Using multiple data types and integrated population models to improve our knowledge of apex predator population dynamics

Current management of large carnivores is informed using a variety of parameters, methods, and metrics; however, these data are typically considered independently. Sharing information among data types based on the underlying ecological, and recognizing observation biases, can improve estimation of individual and global parameters. We present a...

Bled, Florent; Belant, Jerrold L.; Van Daele, Lawrence J.; Svoboda, Nathan; Gustine, David D.; Hilderbrand, Grant V.; Barnes, Victor G.
Bled F, Belant JL, Van Daele LJ, et al. Using multiple data types and integrated population models to improve our knowledge of apex predator population dynamics. Ecol Evol. 2017;7:9531–9543. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3469

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Year Published: 2017

Transgressive-regressive cycles in the metalliferous, oil-shale-bearing Heath Formation (Upper Mississippian), central Montana

The Upper Mississippian Heath Formation, which accumulated in the Big Snowy Trough of central Montana, has been known for three decades to contain mudrocks highly enriched in Zn, V, Mo, Ni and other metals, and source rocks for oil. The unit has more recently been recognized as a prospective tight oil play. Here we present petrographic,...

Dumoulin, Julie A.; Johnson, Craig A.; Kelley, Karen D.; Jarboe, Palma J.; Hackley, Paul C.; Scott, Clint; Slack, John F.

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Year Published: 2017

Observationally constrained surface mass balance of Larsen C ice shelf, Antarctica

The surface mass balance (SMB) of the Larsen C ice shelf (LCIS), Antarctica, is poorly constrained due to a dearth of in situ observations. Combining several geophysical techniques, we reconstruct spatial and temporal patterns of SMB over the LCIS. Continuous time series of snow height (2.5–6 years) at five locations allow for multi-year...

Kuipers Munneke, Peter; Mcgrath, Daniel; Medley, Brooke; Luckman, Adrian; Bevan, Suzanne; Kulessa, Bernd; Jansen, Daniela; Booth, Adam; Smeets, Paul; Hubbard, B.; Ashmore, David; Van den Broeke, Michiel; Sevestre, Heidi; Steffen, K.; Shepard, Andrew; Gourmelen, Noel

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Year Published: 2017

Assessing the risk of non-native marine species in the Bering Sea

Invasive species are one of the leading global conservation concerns, which can have strong, negative impacts on ecosystems, vulnerable species, and valuable natural resources. Arctic regions have experienced a relatively low number of biological introductions to date. Their geographical remoteness, cold waters, and presence of sea ice present...

Reimer, Jesika; Droghini, Amanda ; Fischbach, Anthony S.; Watson, Jordan ; Bernard, Bonnie ; Poe, Aaron

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Year Published: 2017

Drivers and environmental responses to the changing annual snow cycle of northern Alaska

On the North Slope of Alaska, earlier spring snowmelt and later onset of autumn snow accumulation are tied to atmospheric dynamics and sea ice conditions, and result in environmental responses.Linkages between atmospheric, ecological and biogeochemical variables in the changing Arctic are analyzed using long-term measurements near Utqiaġvik (...

Cox, Christopher J.; Stone, Robert S.; Douglas, David C.; Stanitski, Diane; Divoky, George J.; Dutton, Geoff S.; Sweeney, Colm; George, J. Craig; Longenecker, David U.
Cox, C.J., Stone, R.S., Douglas, D.C., Stanitski, D.M., Divoky, G.J., Dutton, G.S., Sweeney, C., George, J.C., and Longnecker, D.U., 2017, Drivers and environmental responses to the changing annual snow cycle of northern Alaska: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Early Online Release. doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0201.1

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
Scientist leaning over side of R/V Alaskan Gyre adjusting the multibeam arm
May 3, 2016

Tom Parsons preparing the multibeam arm on the R/V Alaskan Gyre

Scientist leaning over side of R/V Alaskan Gyre adjusting the multibeam arm

Dead birds on the beach
May 2, 2016

Dead Common Murres found on the beach along the Alaska Peninsula

Dead Common Murres found on the beach along the Alaska Peninsula May 2, 2016. This bird was part of the large die-off of Common Murres across the Gulf of Alaska in 2015-2016.

Scientists search for beachcast Common Murres
May 2, 2016

Scientists search for beachcast Common Murres

Sarah Schoen and pilot Chris Klosterman search for beachcast Common Murres along the Alaska Peninsula following the massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016.  Wide Bay, Alaska Peninsula

Tony DeGange searches for Common Murre carcasses
May 2, 2016

Tony DeGange searches for Common Murre carcasses

Retired USGS biologist Tony DeGange searches for Common Murre carcasses along the Alaska Peninsula following the massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016.  Puale Bay, Alaska Peninsula

A Common Murre carcass decomposes
May 2, 2016

A Common Murre carcass decomposes

A Common Murre carcass decomposes along the Alaska Peninsula following the massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016.  Portage Bay, Alaska Peninsula.

Tony DeGange searches for Common Murre carcasses above the high tide line
May 2, 2016

Tony DeGange searches for Common Murre carcasses above the high tide

Retired USGS biologist Tony DeGange searches for Common Murre carcasses above the high tide line on the Alaska Peninsula following the massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016. Wide Bay, Alaska Peninsula

Sarah Schoen identifies and counts Common Murre carcasses
May 2, 2016

Sarah Schoen identifies and counts Common Murre carcasses

USGS biologist Sarah Schoen identifies and counts Common Murre carcasses on the Alaska Peninsula following the massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016. Wide Bay, Alaska Peninsula

Common Murre carcass decomposes just above the high tide
May 2, 2016

Common Murre carcass decomposes just above the high tide

A Common Murre carcass decomposes just above the high tide line along the Alaska Peninsula following the massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016.  Wide Bay, Alaska Peninsula

Common Murre carcass decomposes along the Alaska Peninsula
May 2, 2016

Common Murre carcass decomposes along the Alaska Peninsula

A Common Murre carcass decomposes along the Alaska Peninsula following the massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016.  Wide Bay, Alaska Peninsula.

April 30, 2016

Polar Bear - POV Cams (Spring 2016)

This short clip is representative of a large amount of video footage of an adult female polar bear, equipped with a point of view camera, that is used by scientists to study polar bear behavior and feeding rates. Camera were attached to 10 animals in the southern Beaufort Sea over the course of several years, and stay on the animals for about 2 weeks until it is retrieved

Alaska Surveying
April 25, 2016

Alaska Surveyors Circa 1924

Alaska surveying crew circa 1924 using alidade and plane table; transportation by dogsled. USGS photo files.

Spectacled eider male and female flying near the Colville River in 2013.
April 20, 2016

Pair of spectacled eiders flying near the Colville River in 2013

Spectacled eider male and female flying near the Colville River in 2013.

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.