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: 169
Date published: August 2, 2018
Status: Active

Detecting Long-term Changes in Forage Fish Populations in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Forage fish are small pelagic schooling fish that play a key role in transferring energy between plankton and top marine predators. Many seabirds, marine mammals, and commercial fish species depend on forage fish to grow and survive.

Date published: August 1, 2018
Status: Active

Terrestrial Influence on Glacial-Marine Food Webs

Where glaciers meet the sea in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), they create unique and productive marine habitats. Ringed by the continent’s tallest coastal mountains, 20% of the GOA coastal watershed is covered by glacial ice and the annual freshwater discharge into the GOA from glacial melt is comparable to that of the Mississippi river.

Date published: July 30, 2018
Status: Active

Aleutian Islands Ecosystem Recovery Studies

The Aleutian archipelago is a 2,000 km long chain of volcanically-derived treeless islands stretching from Unimak Island in the east to the Commander Islands in the west.  These volcanic islands support a wide range of species including large numbers of seabirds and marine mammal species, some of which are threatened and endangered, leading to a high level of federal management concern.

Date published: July 20, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Coastal Plain and NPR-A Research Bibliography

Selected Bibliography of USGS Research Conducted in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Coastal Plain (1002 Area) and/or the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska (NPRA)

Compiled as of 12/18/2018

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science Informing the Status and Trends of Migratory Birds

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science Informing Endangered Species Act Decisions and Recovery Planning

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science for Oil and Gas Leasing-related Decisions

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

Date published: July 10, 2018
Status: Active

Remotely Sensed Discharge

River discharge is an important component of the water cycle, and an accurate accounting of streamflow can be accomplished by monitoring the spatial and temporal variations in river discharge. The U.S. Geological Survey is actively pursuing remote-sensing platforms to compute river discharge using a combination of satellite-, high altitude-, drone-, and fixed-based platforms to directly...

Date published: June 29, 2018
Status: Active

Walrus Media/Contacts

If you have questions about walrus research or media inquiries regarding the USGS Alaska Science Center please contact Yvette Gillies or Steven Sobieszczyk.

Date published: June 29, 2018
Status: Active

Polar Bear Media/Contacts

If you have questions about research or media inquiries regarding the USGS Alaska Science Center please contact Yvette Gillies or Paul Laustsen.

Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

Glaciers and Climate Project

Scientists with the Glaciers and Climate Project study many of the pertinent impacts that glaciers present to society, such as altering hydrologic cycles, contributing to sea-level rise, and creating environmental hazards. 

Contacts: Louis Sass, III
Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Completed

Mountain Permafrost, Climate Change, and Rock Avalanches in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Release Date: JUNE 18, 2018

We usually hear about landslides and avalanches that are caused by large amounts of rainfall, the shaking from earthquakes, or a volcanic eruption, but we may be hearing more about avalanches caused by the (seemingly innocuous) melting of ice in the coming years.

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
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Year Published: 2020

Imaging the tectonic grain of the Northern Cordillera orogen using Transportable Array receiver functions

Azimuthal variations in receiver function conversions can image lithospheric structural contrasts and anisotropic fabrics that together compose tectonic grain. We apply this method to data from EarthScope Transportable Array in Alaska and additional stations across the northern Cordillera. The best‐resolved quantities are the strike and depth of...

Schulte-Pelkum, Vera; Caine, Jonathan; Jones, James V.; Becker, Thorsten W

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Year Published: 2020

Four decades of land-cover change on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska: Detecting disturbance-influenced vegetation shifts using landsat legacy data

Across Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, disturbance events have removed large areas of forest over the last half century. Simultaneously, succession and landscape evolution have facilitated forest regrowth and expansion. Detecting forest loss within known pulse disturbance events is often straightforward given that reduction in tree cover is a readily...

Baughman, Carson; Loehman, Rachel A.; Magness, Dawn R.; Saperstein, Lisa; Sherriff, Rosemary L.

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Year Published: 2020

Can oceanic prey effects on growth and time to fledging mediate terrestrial predator limitation of an at‐risk seabird?

Most seabird species nest colonially on cliffs or islands with limited terrestrial predation, so that oceanic effects on the quality or quantity of prey fed to chicks more often determine nest success. However, when predator access increases, impacts can be dramatic, especially when exposure to predators is extended due to slow growth from...

Knudson, Timothy; Lovvorn, James R.; Lawonn, M. James; Corcoran, Robin; Roby, Dan; Piatt, John F.; Pyle, William

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Year Published: 2020

High site fidelity does not equate to population genetic structure for common goldeneye and Barrow's goldeneye in North America

Delineation of population structure provides valuable information for conservation and management of species, as levels of demographic and genetic connectivity not only affect population dynamics but also have important implications for adaptability and resiliency of populations and species. Here, we measure population genetic structure and...

Brown, Joshua I.; Lavretsky, Philip; Wilson, Robert E.; Haughey, Christy; Boyd, W Sean; Esler, Daniel N.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.

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Year Published: 2020

Analyses on subpopulation abundance and annual number of maternal dens for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska

The long-term persistence of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) is threatened by sea-ice loss due to climate change, which is concurrently providing an opportunity in the Arctic for increased anthropogenic activities including natural resource extraction. Mitigating the risk of those activities, which can adversely affect the population dynamics of the...

Atwood, Todd C.; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.; Patil, Vijay P.; Durner, George M.; Douglas, David C.; Simac, Kristin S.
Atwood, T.C., Bromaghin, J.F., Patil, V.P., Durner, G.M., Douglas, D.C., and Simac, K.S., 2020, Analyses on subpopulation abundance and annual number of maternal dens for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1087, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201087.

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Year Published: 2020

Comparative genomics and genomic epidemiology of mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis strains

Two phenotypically distinct strains of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) were recognized in the 1930s but it was not until the introduction of restriction endonuclease analysis (REA) in the mid-1980s that these two strains, MAP-C and MAP-S, could be distinguished genetically. Since then, a plethora of molecular typing techniques...

Stevenson, Karen; Ahlstrom, Christina

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Year Published: 2020

Reliability of external characteristics to age Barrow’s goldeneye

Accurate assignment of age class is critical for understanding most demographic processes. For waterfowl, most techniques for determining age class require birds in hand, reducing utility for quickly and efficiently sampling a large portion of the population. As an alternative, we sought to establish an observation‐based methodology, achievable in...

Lewis, Tyler L.; Esler, Daniel N.; Hogan, Danica H.; Boyd, W Sean; Bowman, Timothy D.; Thompson, Jonathan

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Year Published: 2020

Focus areas for data acquisition for potential domestic resources of 11 critical minerals in Alaska—Aluminum, cobalt, graphite, lithium, niobium, platinum group elements, rare earth elements, tantalum, tin, titanium, and tungsten, chap. C of U.S. Geological Survey, Focus areas for data acquisition for potential domestic sources of critical minerals

Phase 2 of the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI) focuses on geologic belts that are favorable for hosting mineral systems that may contain select critical minerals. Phase 1 of the Earth MRI program focused on rare earth elements (REE), and phase 2 adds aluminum, cobalt, graphite, lithium, niobium, platinum-group metals, tantalum, tin...

Kreiner, Douglas C.; Jones, James V.
Kreiner, D.C., and Jones, J.V., 2020, Focus areas for data acquisition for potential domestic resources of 11 critical minerals in Alaska—Aluminum, cobalt, graphite, lithium, niobium, platinum group elements, rare earth elements, tantalum, tin, titanium, and tungsten, chap. C of U.S. Geological Survey, Focus areas for data acquisition for potential domestic sources of critical minerals: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1023, 20 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191023C.

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Year Published: 2020

A manipulative thermal challenge protocol for adult salmonids in remote field settings

Manipulative experiments provide stronger evidence for identifying cause-and-effect relationships than correlative studies, but protocols for implementing temperature manipulations are lacking for large species in remote settings. We developed an experimental protocol for holding adult Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and exposing them to...

Donnelly, Daniel S.; von Biela, Vanessa R.; McCormick, Stephen D.; Laske, Sarah M.; Carey, Michael P.; Waters, Shannon C.; Bowen, Lizabeth; Brown, Randy J; Larson, Sean; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2020

Transcriptomic response to elevated water temperatures in adult migrating Yukon River Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) declines are widespread and may be attributed, at least in part, to warming river temperatures. Water temperatures in the Yukon River and tributaries often exceed 18°C, a threshold commonly associated with heat stress and elevated mortality in Pacific salmon. Untangling the complex web of direct and...

Bowen, Lizabeth; von Biela, Vanessa R.; McCormick, Stephen D.; Regish, Amy M.; Waters, Shannon C.; Durbin-Johnson, Blythe; Britton, Monica; Settles, Matt; Donnelly, Daniel S.; Laske, Sarah M.; Carey, Michael P.; Brown, Randy J; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2020

Keystone predators govern the pathway and pace of climate impacts in a subarctic marine ecosystem

Predator loss and climate change are hallmarks of the Anthropocene yet their interactive effects are largely unknown. Here, we show that massive calcareous reefs, built slowly by the alga Clathromorphum nereostratum over centuries to millennia, are now declining because of the emerging interplay between these two processes. Such reefs,...

Rasher, Douglas B; Stenek, Robert S; Halfar, Jochen; Kroeker, Kristy J; Ries, Justin B.; Tinker, M. Tim; Chan, Phoebe T W; Fietzke, J; Kamenos, Nicolas; Konar, Brenda H.; Lefcheck, Jonathan S.; Norley, Christopher J D; Weitzman, Ben; Westfield, Isaac T; Estes, James A

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Year Published: 2020

Microbiomes from biorepositories? 16S rRNA bacterial amplicon sequencing of archived and contemporary intestinal samples of wild mammals (Eulipotyphla: Soricidae)

Interest in gut microbial community composition has exploded recently as a result of the increasing ability to characterize these organisms and a growing understanding of their role in host fitness. New technologies, such as next generation amplicon (16S rRNA) sequencing, have enabled identification of bacterial communities from samples of diverse...

Greiman, Stephen E.; Cook, Joseph A.; Odem, Timothy; Cranmer, Katelyn; Liphardt, Schuyler W; Menning, Damian M.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; 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: 983
Kashwitna River bridge debris
May 13, 2019

Kashwitna River bridge debris

Kashwitna River bridge debris

Kashwitna River bridge
May 7, 2019

Kashwitna River bridge

Kashwitna River bridge

Michael Carey and Vanessa von Biela on Canning River
April 27, 2019

Michael Carey and Vanessa von Biela on Canning River

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Hole in the ice from an auger
April 27, 2019

Hole in the ice from an auger on Canning River

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

April 27, 2019

Under Ice Habitat in Canning River Delta

In the Arctic, rivers are often thought to freeze completely during winter. Since fish need liquid water to survive, there are few places where they can live. Fish usually inhabit deep river channels and areas where springwater enters a stream. However, this video shows that winter habitat occurs in places we didn't expect, below the ice in the delta of a shallow river. 

Lowering minnow trap to fish
April 27, 2019

Lowering minnow trap to fish

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Minnow trap in icehole
April 27, 2019

Minnow trap in icehole

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Shublik Spring open water
April 27, 2019

Shublik Spring open water

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Canning River with bars
April 27, 2019

Canning River with bars

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Canning River with bars view
April 26, 2019

Canning River with bars view

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Vanessa von Biela with cut bank at Canning River
April 25, 2019

Vanessa von Biela with cut bank at Canning River

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Copper River sonar on a bridge
April 24, 2019

Copper River sonar on a bridge

Copper River sonar on a bridge

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 251
satellite image of brown resuspended volcanic ash cloud over Kodiak Island, Alaska
April 25, 2016

Two public events are scheduled next week in the City of Kodiak, Alaska about monitoring old volcanic ash resuspended by high winds. Scientists invite the local community to learn more about the potential impacts of resuspended volcanic ash and how to assist in volcano hazards research by collecting samples of the redistributed volcanic ash and dust.

USGS
April 20, 2016

You really are what you eat. That’s the taking-off point for a new polar bear study, conducted by U.S. Geological Survey researchers with an assist from the Oregon Zoo — and published this week in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
April 5, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Geological Survey released additional evidence that western Alaska remains a hot spot for avian influenza to enter North America. 

Image: Michelle Coombs
April 4, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Michelle Coombs as the next Scientist-in-Charge of the Alaska Volcano Observatory, a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

Suzette Kimball, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey presenting award to Nicholas Mastrodicasa
March 15, 2016

To commemorate the nation's first chief geographer, the USGS established the Henry Gannett Award. This year's recipient is Nicholas Mastrodicasa, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, for his leadership in the Alaska Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative and the development of an elevation requirements study for Alaska.

Aerial view of the Chenega village site at the head of Chenega Cove.
February 1, 2016

Minutes after the 1964 magnitude-9.2 Great Alaska Earthquake began shaking, a series of tsunami waves swept through the village of Chenega in Prince William Sound, destroying all but two of the buildings and killing 23 of the 75 inhabitants. 

Image: USGS Scientists Engaged in Field Work on the Aleutian Islands
January 12, 2016

New evidence for frequent large tsunamis at a remote island near Dutch Harbor, Alaska provides geological data to aid tsunami hazard preparedness efforts around the Pacific Rim. 

Alaska Geologic Map
January 5, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A new digital geologic map of Alaska is being released today providing land users, managers and scientists geologic information for the evaluation of land use in relation to resource extraction, conservation, natural hazards and recreation.

Caribou walking in a line in the winter in Northern Alaska
December 18, 2015

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer, of course, is another common name for caribou (Rangifer tarandus) a large, cold-adapted, herding herbivore related to deer, elk and moose.

Current probability of near-surface permafrost in Alaska
November 30, 2015

Using statistically modeled maps drawn from satellite data and other sources, U.S. Geological Survey scientists have projected that the near-surface permafrost that presently underlies 38 percent of boreal and arctic Alaska would be reduced by 16 to 24 percent by the end of the 21st century under widely accepted climate scenarios.

Planned US Topo map production schedule for the next three- year revision cycle
November 19, 2015

With the release of new US Topo maps for Illinois and South Dakota, the USGS has completed the second, three-year cycle of revising and updating electronic US Topo quadrangles. This means that since late 2009, the USGS has published nearly every map in the conterminous U.S., twice.

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.