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 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

Effects of industrial and investigator disturbance on Arctic-nesting geese

Oil and gas development on the Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of Alaska, USA may have effects on Arctic-nesting birds. To estimate effects of industrial activity and investigator disturbance on avian productivity, we monitored nests of greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons) with digital cameras and periodic nest visits during 2013–2014 at 2...

Meixell, Brandt W.; Flint, Paul L.
Meixell, B. W. and P. L. Flint. 2017. Effects of industrial and investigator disturbance on Arctic-nesting geese. Journal of Wildlife Management 81(8):1372-1385. doi:10.1002/jwmg.21312

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Year Published: 2017

Environment and science

Alaska is part of an international circumpolar North, which makes the United States an Arctic nation. Alaska is a place of Indigenous ingenuity and adaptation, a place where environmental extremes challenge the ways of living. In its more recent history, Alaska has been a place of resources and influx-a land known best for what it provides. This...

Pearce, John M.; Talbot, Sandra L.
Pearce, J., and Talbot, S., 2017. Science and the Environment. In: North: Finding Place in Alaska. 2017. Decker, J. (ed.). 304 p. University of Washington Press ISBN-10: 0295741848.

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Year Published: 2017

High altitude flights by ruddy shelduck Tadorna ferruginea during trans-Himalayan migrations

Birds that migrate across high altitude mountain ranges are faced with the challenge of maintaining vigorous exercise in environments with limited oxygen. Ruddy shelducks are known to use wintering grounds south of the Tibetan Plateau at sea level and breeding grounds north of Himalayan mountain range. Therefore, it is likely these shelducks are...

Parr, N.; Bearhop, S.; Douglas, David C.; Takekawa, J.Y.; Prosser, Diann J.; Newman, S.H.; Perry, W.M.; Balachandran, S.; Witt, M.J.; Hou, Y.; Luo, Z.; Hawkes, L.A.
Parr, N., Bearhop, S., Douglas, D.C., Takekawa, J.Y., Prosser, D.J., Newman, S.H., Perry, W.M., Balachandran, S., Witt, M.J., Hou, Y., Luo, Z., and Hawkes, L.A., 2017, High altitude flights by ruddy shelduck Tadorna ferruginea during trans-Himalayan migrations: Journal of Avian Biology, vol. 48, no. 10, p. 1310-1315. doi: 10.1111/jav.01443

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Year Published: 2017

Use of swabs for sampling epithelial cells for molecular genetics analyses in Enteroctopus

We evaluated the efficacy of using swabs to collect cells from the epidermis of octopus as a non-invasive DNA source for classical genetic studies, and demonstrated value of the technique by incorporating it into an effort to determine, within a day, the lineage of captured, live Enteroctopus (E. dofleini or a cryptic lineage). The...

Hollenback, Nathan; Scheel, David; Gravley, Megan C.; Sage, George K.; Toussaint, Rebecca K.; Talbot, Sandra L.
Hollenbeck, N., Scheel, D., Gravely, M.C., Sage, G.K., Toussaint, R., and Talbot, S.L., 2017, Use of swabs for sampling epithelial cells for molecular genetics analyses in Enteroctopus: American Malacological Bulletin, vol. 35, no. 2, p. 145-157. doi: 10.4003/006.035.0207

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Year Published: 2017

Variation in abundance of Pacific Blue Mussel (Mytilus trossulus) in the Northern Gulf of Alaska, 2006–2015

Mussels are conspicuous and ecologically important components of nearshore marine communities around the globe. Pacific blue mussels (Mytilus trossulus) are common residents of intertidal habitats in protected waters of the North Pacific, serving as a conduit of primary production to a wide range of nearshore consumers including predatory...

Bodkin, James L.; Coletti, Heather A.; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Monson, Daniel; Esler, Daniel N.; Dean, Thomas A.
Bodkin, J.L., Coletti, H.A., Ballachey, B.E., Monson, D.H., Esler, D., and Dean, T.A. 2017. Variation in abundance of Pacific Blue Mussel (Mytilus trossulus) in the Northern Gulf of Alaska, 2006–2015: Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. vol. no. p. . doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2017.04.008

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Year Published: 2017

Demographic and temporal variations in immunity and condition of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the southern Beaufort Sea

Assessing the health and condition of animals in their natural environment can be problematic. Many physiological metrics, including immunity, are highly influenced by specific context and recent events to which researchers may be unaware. Thus, using a multifaceted physiological approach and a context-specific analysis encompassing multiple time...

Neuman-Lee, Lorin; Terletzky, Patricia; Atwood, Todd C.; Gese, Eric; Smith, Geoffrey; Greenfield, Sydney; Pettit, John; French, Susannah
Neuman-Lee, L.A., Terletzky, P.A., Atwood, T.C., Gese, E.M., Smith, G.D., Greenfield, S., Pettit, J., and French, S.S., 2017, Demographic and temporal variations in immunity and condition of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the southern Beaufort Sea: Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology, vol. 327, no. 5, p. 333-346. doi: 10.1002/jez.2112

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Year Published: 2017

Environmental and behavioral changes may influence the exposure of an Arctic apex predator to pathogens and contaminants

Recent decline of sea ice habitat has coincided with increased use of land by polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the southern Beaufort Sea (SB), which may alter the risks of exposure to pathogens and contaminants. We assayed blood samples from SB polar bears to assess prior exposure to the pathogens Brucella spp., Toxoplasma gondii, Coxiella...

Atwood, Todd C.; Duncan, Colleen G.; Patyk, Kelly A.; Nol, Pauline; Rhyan, Jack; McCollum, Matthew; McKinney, Melissa A.; Ramey, Andrew M.; Cerqueira-Cezar, Camila; Kwok, Oliver C H; Dubey, Jitender P; Hennager, S.G.
Atwood, T.C., Duncan, C., Patyk, K.A., Nol, P., Rhyan, J., McCollum, M., McKinney, M.A., Ramey, A.M., Cerqueira-Cézar, C.K., Kwok, O.C.H., Dubey, J.P., and Hennager, S., 2017, Environmental and behavioral changes may influence the exposure of an Arctic apex predator to pathogens and contaminants: no. 13193. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13496-9

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Year Published: 2017

Polar bear attacks on humans: Implications of a changing climate

Understanding causes of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) attacks on humans is critical to ensuring both human safety and polar bear conservation. Although considerable attention has been focused on understanding black (U. americanus) and grizzly (U. arctos) bear conflicts with humans, there have been few attempts to systematically collect, analyze,...

Wilder, James; Vongraven, Dag; Atwood, Todd C.; Hansen, Bob; Jessen, Amalie; Kochnev, Anatoly A.; York, Geoff; Vallender, Rachel; Hedman, Daryll; Gibbons, Melissa
Wilder, J.M., Vongraven, D., Atwood, T., Hansen, B., Jessen, A., Kochnev, A., York, G., Vallender, R., Hedman, D., and Gibbons, M., 2017, Polar bear attacks on humans: Implications of a changing climate: Wildlife Society Bulletin, vol. 41, no. 3, p. 537-547. doi: 10.1002/wsb.783

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Year Published: 2017

Relative influences of climate change and human activity on the onshore distribution of polar bears

Climate change is altering habitat for many species, leading to shifts in distributions that can increase levels of human-wildlife conflict. To develop effective strategies for minimizing human-wildlife conflict, we must understand the relative influences that climate change and other factors have on wildlife distributions. Polar bears (Ursus...

Wilson, Ryan R.; Regehr, Eric V.; St. Martin, Michelle; Atwood, Todd C.; Peacock, Elizabeth L.; Miller, Susanne; Divoky, George J.
Wilson, R.R., Regehr, E.V., St. Martin, M., Atwood, T.C., Peacock, E., Miller, S., Divoky, G., 2017, Relative influences of climate change and human activity on the onshore distribution of polar bears: Biological Conservation, vol. 214, p. 288-294. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.005

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Year Published: 2017

Temporal complexity of southern Beaufort Sea polar bear diets during a period of increasing land use

From 2000 to 2013, use of land as a seasonal habitat by polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea (SB) subpopulation substantially increased. This onshore use has been linked to reduced spatial and temporal availability of sea ice, as well as to the availability of subsistence‐harvested bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) bone...

McKinney, Melissa A.; Atwood, Todd C.; Iverson, Sara J.; Peacock, Elizabeth L.
McKinney, M.A., Atwood, T.C., Iverson, S.J., and Peacock, E., 2017, Temporal complexity of southern Beaufort Sea polar bear diets during a period of increasing land use: Ecosphere. vol. 9, no. 1, e01633. doi: 10.1002/ecs2.1633

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Year Published: 2017

Movements and habitat use of White-fronted Geese (Anser albifrons frontalis) during the remigial molt in arctic Alaska, USA

Proposed oil and gas leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska has raised questions about possible impacts of development on molting Greater White-fronted Geese (Anser albifrons frontalis) and their habitats. We used GPS transmitters to record fine-scale location data of molting and post-molt White-fronted Geese to assess patterns of...

Flint, Paul L.; Meixell, Brandt W.
Flint, P. L. and B. W. Meixell. 2017. Movements and habitat use of White-fronted geese during the remigial molt in Arctic Alaska, USA. Waterbirds 40(3):272-281. doi:10.1675/063.040.0308

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Year Published: 2017

Best practices for assessing forage fish fisheries-seabird resource competition

Worldwide, in recent years capture fisheries targeting lower-trophic level forage fish and euphausiid crustaceans have been substantial (∼20 million metric tons [MT] annually). Landings of forage species are projected to increase in the future, and this harvest may affect marine ecosystems and predator-prey interactions by removal or...

Sydeman, William J.; Thompson, Sarah Ann; Anker-Nilssen, Tycho; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Bennison, Ashley; Bertrand, Sophie; Boersch-Supan, Philipp; Boyd, Charlotte; Bransome, Nicole C.; Crawford, Robert J.M.; Daunt, Francis; Furness, Robert W.; Gianuca, Dimas; Gladics, Amanda; Koehn, Laura; Lang, Jennifer W.; Loggerwell, Elizabeth; Morris, Taryn L.; Phillips, Elizabeth M.; Provencher, Jennifer; Punt, André E..; Saraux, Claire; Shannon, Lynne; Sherley, Richard B.; Simeone, Alejandro; Wanless, Ross M.; Wanless, Sarah; Zador, Stephani
Sydeman, W. J., Thompson, S.A., Anker-Nilssen, T., Arimitsu, M.L., Bennison, A., Bertrand, S., Boersch-Supan, P., Boyd, C., Bransome, N.C., Crawford, R.J.M., Daunt, F., Furness, R.W., Gianuca, D., Gladics, A., Koehn, L., Lang, J.W., Logerwell, E., Morris, T.L., Phillips, E.M., Provencher, J., Punt, A.E., Saraux, C., Shannon, L., Sherley, R.B., Simeone, A., Wanless, R.M., Wanless, S., and Zador, S.G., 2017, Best practices for assessing forage fish fisheries-seabird resource competition: Fisheries Research vol. 194, p. 209-221. doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2017.05.018

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
Two men looking at equipment
April 19, 2016

Field Work - Scientists and Air-Quality Monitoring

Alaska Volcano Observatory scientist Mark Hansen working with Larsen Bay Mayor David Harmes on how the AVO-4 particulate monitor operates.

Scour under a bridge on the Kenai Peninsula
April 19, 2016

Scour under a bridge on the Kenai Peninsula

Scour under a bridge on the Kenai Peninsula in 2002.

Geologist doing field work in Alaska
April 14, 2016

Geologist and Helicopter

Geologist doing field work in Alaska

Large, imperfect geometric shapes in shades of brown surrounded by a fine-grained matrix, all including medium-sized blobs.
April 5, 2016

Photomicrograph of rock thin section: Gabbroic inclusion

Photomicrograph of gabbroic inclusion in Ogres Brow basaltic andesite. A rock thin section is created by gluing a small piece of rock onto a glass slide, then grinding it down to a thickness of 30 microns (the average human hair is about 100 microns in diameter) so that light shines through it when examined under the microscope. In this image, euhedral reddish-brown

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1,500 walruses resting on shore
April 4, 2016

1,500 walruses resting on shore

More than 1,500 walruses resting on shore at Cape Grieg in southeastern Bristol Bay.

A Boreal Chickadee with a slightly longer upper beak than the lower beak
March 31, 2016

Boreal Chickadee with a mildly deformed beak

A Boreal Chickadee with a mildly deformed beak.

March 30, 2016

Shaking in the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska

This video presents a visualization of how the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska, shook during the M7.1 January 24, 2016, Iniskin, 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 is useful to make decisions for improving the building's performance.

Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
Image: Imagery Provides Clues to 2005 Alaskan Landslide
March 14, 2016

Imagery Provides Clues to 2005 Alaskan Landslide

New imagery provides evidence that meltwater played a significant role in producing the Sept. 14, 2005 massive landslide that originated from just below the summit of the 10,616 feet high Mount Steller, Alaska. The slide was one of the largest, non-earthquake generated Alaskan landslides ever observed. The imagery confirms the existence of a channel system within nearby

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A Male Spectacled Eider in Alaska
March 14, 2016

A Male Spectacled Eider in Alaska

A male spectacled eider following implantation of a satellite transmitter in the Colville River delta in June 2009. After breeding numbers of spectacled eiders, a large sea duck, declined by 96 percent at a primary breeding area in Alaska, the species was listed as threatened. Potential risks to eiders include being subjected to increased exposure during storms in winter,

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Photo looking up at a man wearing safety gear and cold weather clothing holding a big drill with puffy white clouds in the sky.
January 31, 2016

Drilling into permafrost on Alaska's Arctic coast

On remote Barter Island, Alaska, Bruce Richmond (right) and Cordell Johnson drill into 500-foot-thick permafrost using a handheld drill with a 2-inch drill bit—a challenging task! It can take 3 hours to drill nearly 20 feet down. They collect samples of the frozen ground to better understand 

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Severely emaciated Common Murre carcass
January 13, 2016

Severely emaciated Common Murre carcass

A severely emaciated Common Murre carcass collected to determine the cause of death following a massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016.  Prince William Sound

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.