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 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: October 22, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Science Center Seminar Series

The USGS Alaska Science Center has a monthly seminar series that runs from October through May.  This series highlights the multiple research programs that are taking place across all disciplines at the center.

Contacts: Yvette Gillies
Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Genomic Mechanisms that Underlie Lack of Recovery of Prince William Sound Herring Following the 1990s Collapse

In the decades following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS), it has become increasingly apparent that oil can be toxic at extremely low concentrations to developing fish embryos including herring, where some toxic phenotypes may be apparent during embryogenesis, but some are delayed until later in life. Therefore, acute and lingering oil may act as an insidious selective force within...

Contacts: Paul Hershberger, Ph.D., Jacob Gregg, Ashley MacKenzie, William Richards, Andrew Whitehead, John Incardona, Nat Scholtz
Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Herring Disease Program

Using an approach that involves a combination of field- and laboratory-based studies, we are investigating fish health factors that may be contributing to the failed recovery of Pacific herring populations in Prince William Sound, AK.  Field studies are providing infection and disease prevalence data to inform the population models, serological data that indicate the prior exposure history and...

Date published: October 9, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Seismic Hazard Map

The National Seismic Hazard Maps developed by the USGS show the spatial probability of peak earthquake-driven ground motion levels. Since the last revisions to the map for Alaska in 2007, scientists have made significant advances in understanding active faulting, fault slip rates, and fault behavior.

Date published: October 9, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska-Aleutian Subduction Zone Studies

Our research team is exploring seismic and aseismic slip along the Alaska-Aleutian arc and studying the prehistoric record of megathrust earthquakes and tsunamis along the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone

Seismic and Aseismic Slip: Tectonic tremor and associated slow slip events represent a newly discovered part of the earthquake cycle. This research aims to...

Date published: October 9, 2018
Status: Active

Characterizing the Active Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault System

This research aims to better characterize the earthquake potential of the southern Fairweather Fault in order to provide more accurate fault source data for the USGS National Seismic Hazard Map. Our approach interrogates lidar data and satellite imagery, applies paleoseismological methods to examine earthquake history, and leverages partnerships with USGS scientists from Colorado and...

Date published: September 22, 2018
Status: Active

Monitoring and Research Boreal Partners in Flight Projects

Boreal Partners in Flight has five major regional projects designed to monitor broad-scale trends in populations of landbirds. There are also many projects throughout Alaska that address specific research questions or local monitoring needs.

Date published: September 21, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Landbird Monitoring Survey

Alaska provides breeding habitats for 142 species of landbirds, half of which breed predominantly north of the U.S.-Canada border. The road-based North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) provides some data on population trends in Alaska but most northern species are inadequately monitored because of a paucity of roads. Boreal Partners in Flight thus developed the Alaska Landbird Monitoring...

Date published: September 18, 2018
Status: Active

Festivals Celebrating Birds in Alaska

Here are a few festivals celebrating birds around the state of Alaska.

Date published: September 17, 2018
Status: Active

Meeting and Project Summaries for Boreal Partners in Flight

Information on topics discussed by Boreal Partners in Flight (BPIF) working groups organized by year.

Date published: August 21, 2018
Status: Active

Background of Beak Deformity Research

Large numbers of Black-capped Chickadees with abnormal beaks were reported in south-central Alaska in the late 1990s.  More recently, similar beak deformities have appeared in other species throughout the state. At least 30 Alaskan bird species are affected and the geographic extent of the problem appears to be growing.  In addition to Alaskan observations, we have received increasing numbers...

Date published: August 21, 2018
Status: Active

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Migratory Birds

Migratory birds, and particularly those using habitats close to human settlements, may be infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria.  The USGS is working with public health professionals to understand the role of birds in the maintenance and dispersal of antibiotic resistant bacteria.  Additionally, the USGS is investigating how antibiotic resistant bacteria in birds may relate to public and...

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: 2,602
Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2021

Diversity of diatoms, benthic macroinvertebrates, and fish varies in response to different environmental correlates in Arctic rivers across North America

Climate change poses a significant threat to Arctic freshwater biodiversity, but impacts depend upon the strength of organism response to climate‐related drivers. Currently, there is insufficient knowledge about Arctic freshwater biodiversity patterns to guide assessment, prediction, and management of biodiversity change.As part of the Circumpolar...

Lento, Jennifer; Laske, Sarah M.; Lavoie, Isabelle; Bogan, Daniel; Brua, Bob; Campeau, Stéphane; Chin, Krista; Culp, Joseph M.; Levenstein, Brianna; Power, Michael; Saulnier-Talbot, Émilie; Shaftel, Rebecca; Swanson, Heidi K.; Whitman, Matthew; Zimmerman, Christian E.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2021

Lake trout growth is sensitive to spring temperature in southwest Alaska lakes

In high‐latitude lakes, air temperature is an important driver of ice cover thickness and duration, which in turn influence water temperature and primary production supporting lake consumers and predators. In lieu of multidecadal observational records necessary to assess the response of lakes to long‐term warming, we used otolith‐based growth...

von Biela, Vanessa R.; Black, Bryan A.; Young, Daniel B.; van der Sleen, Peter; Bartz, Krista K.; Zimmerman, Christian E.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Coastal permafrost erosion

Highlights• Since the early 2000s, erosion of permafrost coasts in the Arctic has increased at 13 of 14 sites with observational data that extend back to ca. 1960 and ca. 1980, coinciding with warming temperatures, sea ice reduction, and permafrost thaw.• Permafrost coasts along the US and Canadian Beaufort Sea experienced the largest increase in...

Jones, Benjamin M.; Irrgang, Anna M; Farquharson, Louise M.; Lantuit, Hugues; Whalen, Dustin; Ogorodov, Stanislav; Grigoriev, Mikhail; Tweedie, Craig E.; Gibbs, Ann E.; Strzelecki, Matt C; Baranskaya, Alisa; Belova, Nataliya; Sinitsyn, Anatoly; Kroon, Art; Maslakov, Alexey; Vieira, Gonçalo; Grosse, Guido; Overduin, Paul; Nitze, Ingmar; Maio, Christopher V.; Overbeck, Jacquelyn R.; Bendixen, Mette; Zagórski, Piotr; Romanovsky, Vladimir

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Changing storm conditions in response to projected 21st century climate change and the potential impact on an arctic barrier island–lagoon system—A pilot study for Arey Island and Lagoon, eastern Arctic Alaska

Executive SummaryArey Lagoon, located in eastern Arctic Alaska, supports a highly productive ecosystem, where soft substrate and coastal wet sedge fringing the shores are feeding grounds and nurseries for a variety of marine fish and waterfowl. The lagoon is partially protected from the direct onslaught of Arctic Ocean waves by a barrier island...

Erikson, Li H.; Gibbs, Ann E.; Richmond, Bruce M.; Storlazzi, Curt D.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Ohman, Karin
Erikson, L.H., Gibbs, A.E., Richmond, B.M., Storlazzi, C.D., Jones, B.M., and Ohman, K.A., 2020, Changing storm conditions in response to projected 21st century climate change and the potential impact on an arctic barrier island–lagoon system—A pilot study for Arey Island and Lagoon, eastern Arctic Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1142, 68, p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201142.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Effects of fish populations on Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica) and Yellow-billed Loon (G. adamsii) lake occupancy and chick production in northern Alaska

Predator populations are vulnerable to changes in prey distribution or availability. With warming temperatures, lake ecosystems in the Arctic are predicted to change in terms of hydrologic flow, water levels, and connectivity with other lakes. We surveyed lakes in northern Alaska to understand how shifts in the distribution or availability of fish...

Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Wright, Kenneth G.; Uher-Koch, Hannah R.; Schmutz, Joel A.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Alaska and Landsat

Alaska’s landscapes are changing at a more rapid rate than those of the lower 48. Its large size makes the collection of aerial surveys—a biannual occurrence for the conterminous United States—cost-prohibitive. That means the Landsat series of land imaging satellites offer the only publicly available, up-to-date imagery of land conditions for...

U.S. Geological Survey, 2020, Alaska and Landsat: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2020–3068, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20203068.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Permafrost mapping with electrical resistivity tomography in two wetland systems north of the Tanana River, Interior Alaska

Surface-based 2D electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) surveys were used to characterize permafrost distribution at wetland sites on the alluvial plain north of the Tanana River, 20 km southwest of Fairbanks, Alaska, in June and September 2014. The sites were part of an ecologically-sensitive research area characterizing biogeochemical response...

Conaway, Christopher H.; Johnson, Cordell; Lorenson, Thomas; Turetsky, Merritt R.; Euskirchen, Eugénie S.; Waldrop, Mark; Swarzenski, Peter W.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

2017 Volcanic activity in Alaska—Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory

The Alaska Volcano Observatory responded to eruptions, significant and minor volcanic unrest, and seismic events at 16 volcanic centers in Alaska during 2017. The most notable volcanic activity consisted of a major eruption at Bogoslof Island, continuing intermittent dome growth and ash eruptions from Mount Cleveland, the end of the Pavlof Volcano...

Dixon, James P.; Cameron, Cheryl E.; Iezzi, Alexandra M.; Power, John A.; Wallace, Kristi L.; Waythomas, Christopher F.
Dixon, J.P., Cameron, C.E., Iezzi, A.M., Power, J.A., Wallace, K., and Waythomas, C.F., 2020, 2017 Volcanic activity in Alaska—Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5102, 61 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205102.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

2016 Volcanic activity in Alaska—Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory

The Alaska Volcano Observatory responded to eruptions, volcanic unrest or suspected unrest, and seismic events at 15 volcanic centers in Alaska during 2016. The most notable volcanic activity consisted of eruptions at Pavlof and Bogoslof volcanoes. Both eruptions produced significant ash clouds that affected regional air travel. Mount Cleveland...

Cameron, Cheryl E.; Dixon, James P.; Waythomas, Christopher F.; Iezzi, Alexandra M.; Wallace, Kristi L.; McGimsey, Robert G.; Bull, Katharine F.
Cameron, C.E., Dixon, J.P., Waythomas, C.F., Iezzi, A.M., Wallace, K.L., McGimsey, R.G., and Bull, K.F., 2020, 2016 Volcanic activity in Alaska—Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5125, 63 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205125.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Cretaceous to Oligocene magmatic and tectonic evolution of the western Alaska Range: insights from U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology

New U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar ages integrated with geologic mapping and observations across the western Alaska Range constrain the distribution and tectonic setting of Cretaceous to Oligocene magmatism along an evolving accretionary plate margin in south-central Alaska. These rocks were emplaced across basement domains that include Neoproterozoic to...

Jones, James V.; Todd, Erin; Box, Stephen E.; Haeussler, Peter; Holm-Denoma, Christopher; Karl, Susan M.; Graham, Garth E.; Bradley, Dwight C.; Kylander-Clark, Andrew R.C.; Friedman, Richard M.; Layer, Paul W.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Record fledging count from a seven-egg clutch in the Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

Cooper's Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) typically lay 3–5 eggs per clutch, rarely 6 eggs, and there are 2 accounts of 7-egg clutches and 1 record of a maximum 8-egg clutch for the species. Brood sizes of 3–5 young are common and the previous maximum brood count is 6 young. However, in 2019, we found an urban nest in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, with 7...

Rosenfield, Robert N.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Riddle-Berntsen, Ann Elizabeth; Kuhel, Evan

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

This chapter comprises the following sections: names, taxonomy, subspecies and distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, movements and home range, activity patterns, feeding ecology, reproduction and growth, behavior, parasites and diseases, status in the wild, and status in captivity.

Rode, Karyn D.; Obbard, Martyn E.; Belikov, Stanislav; Derocher, Andrew E.; Durner, George M.; Thiemann, Gregory; Tryland, Morten; Letcher, Robert J.; Meyersen, Randi; Sonne, Christian; Jenssen, Bjorn; Dietz, Rune; Vongraven, Dag

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
Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses on beach in Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Close up of Short-tailed Shearwater carcass in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses and debris on beach in Bristol Bay
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses and debris on beach in Bristol Bay

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on rocky beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019.

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass near beach shoreline in Bristol Bay

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019.

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcass and debris on beach, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019.

Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcass in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

ANSEP student Tatiana Korthuis recording data
July 29, 2019

ANSEP student Tatiana Korthuis recording data on USGS research vessel

Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) student Tatiana Korthuis recording fish catch data on board the USGS research vessel Alaskan Gyre in Herring Bay, Alaska. This was part of a USGS study to monitor forage fish and seabirds in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 251
Annotated aerial photo of crescent shaped island surrounded by open ocean.
March 3, 2017

Bogoslof volcano, located in the Aleutian Islands about 98 km (61 mi) northwest of Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, is in an active eruption sequence that began in mid-December 2016 and continues today.

A small bird with distinctive orange-brown feathers around its neck and blue feathers on head, sitting on a small shrub
March 2, 2017

Scientists can now predict which avian species are most sensitive to the increasingly dominant shrub habitat spreading across Alaska, a capability that will be useful for natural resource agencies in Alaska charged with managing these resources.

USGS
February 16, 2017

A new study shows that harlequin ducks in coastal areas of Alaska’s Kodiak and Unalaska islands are exposed to environmental sources of mercury and that mercury concentrations in their blood are associated with their local food source, mainly blue mussels.

Image shows an undersea gas hydrate formation with shellfish on it.
February 9, 2017

A recent interpretive review of scientific literature performed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Rochester sheds light on the interactions of gas hydrates and climate.

Dr. Christian Zimmerman, USGS Alaska Science Center Director
February 1, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.

USGS
January 12, 2017

Water users around the country can now view the past and simulated future of hydrologic processes. 

USGS scientist placing a tracking collar on a caribou.
December 19, 2016

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer and caribou are large, cold-adapted, herding herbivores related to deer, elk and moose.

To learn more about how these arctic antler-bearers spend the other 364 days of the year, we talked to USGS caribou expert Dr. Layne Adams, who has studied these animals for more than 30 years.

Repeat oblique photographs of Gulkana glaciers in Alaska.
September 28, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the longest continuous glacier research efforts in North America.

Scientists setting a trap for gulls at the landfill
September 26, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Some gulls in southcentral Alaska are carriers of antibiotic resistant strains of E. coli, according to a new study co-authored by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Ariel photo of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
September 20, 2016

New research from the U.S. Geological Survey and partners illustrates how climate change is perceived among different generations of indigenous residents in subarctic Alaska. While all subjects agreed climate change is occurring, the older participants observed more overall changes than the younger demographic.

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.

The Regional Office provides active input to a variety of external collaborations by:

Filter Total Items: 55