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: 172
Date published: August 2, 2018
Status: Active

Cook Inlet Seabird and Forage Fish Study

A massive die-off of Common Murres was documented in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) during the fall and winter of 2015-2016 in association with a record-breaking marine heat wave in the GOA.

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report
Filter Total Items: 2,528
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Year Published: 2020

At the end of the road: Lessons learned from comparing model- and design-based approaches to estimate population sizes of boreal birds in Alberta, Canada

Estimating population abundance is a challenging task complicated by the amount, type, and quality of available data. Conservationists have relied on design-based estimates from Partners in Flight (PIF), which primarily uses roadside data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) to estimate populations sizes. However, the BBS was not...

Solymos, Peter; Toms, Judith D; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Cumming, Steven G.; Barker, Nicole K. S.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Stralberg, Diana; Crosby, Andrew D.; Denes, Francisco V; Hache, Samuel; Mahon, C Lisa; Schmiegelow, Fiona K A; Bayne, Erin M.

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Year Published: 2020

A red knot as a black swan: How a single bird shows navigational abilities during repeat crossings of the Greenland Icecap

Despite the wealth of studies on seasonal movements of birds between southern nonbreeding locations and High Arctic breeding locations, the key mechanisms of navigation during these migrations remain elusive. A flight along the shortest possible route between pairs of points on a sphere (‘orthodrome’) requires a bird to be able to assess its...

Kok, Eva; Tibbitts, Lee; Douglas, David C.; Howey, Paul; Dekinga, Anne; Gnep, Benjamin; Piersma, Theunis

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Year Published: 2020

U.S. Geological Survey 2018 Kīlauea Volcano eruption response in Hawai'i—After-action review

The 2018 Kīlauea Volcano eruption lasted 107 days, and now ranks as the most destructive event at Kilauea since 1790, and as one of the most costly volcanic disasters in U.S. history. Multiple simultaneous hazard events unfolded, including sustained seismic activity leading to collapse at the summit of Halema'uma'u crater and severe damage to the...

Williams, Dee M.; Avery, Vic F.; Coombs, Michelle L.; Cox, Dale A.; Horwitz, Lief R.; McBride, Sara K.; McClymont, Ryan J.; Moran, Seth C.
Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
Williams, D.M., Avery, V.F., Coombs, M.L., Cox, D.A., Horwitz, L.R., McBride, S.K., McClymont, R.J., and Moran, S.C., 2020, U.S. Geological Survey 2018 Kīlauea Volcano eruption response in Hawai'i—After-action review: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1041, 56 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201041.

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Year Published: 2020

Ground failure triggered by shaking during the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake

We developed an initial inventory of ground failure features from the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage earthquake. This inventory of 153 features is from ground-based observations soon after the earthquake (December 5–10) that include the presence or absence of liquefaction, landslides, and individual crack traces of lateral spreads and...

Grant, Alex R. R. ; Jibson, Randall W.; Witter, Robert C.; Allstadt, Kate E.; Thompson, Eric M.; Bender, Adrian M.
Grant, A.R.R., Jibson, R.W., Witter, R.C., Allstadt, K.E., Thompson, E.M., and Bender, A.M., 2020, Ground failure triggered by shaking during the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1043, 21 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201043.

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Year Published: 2020

Further information on the avifauna of St. Matthew and Hall Islands, Bering Sea, Alaska

In June and July 2018 and July 2019 we surveyed birds on St. Matthew and Hall islands, isolated in the central Bering Sea. Our surveys were focused on the McKay’s Bunting (Plectrophenax hyperboreus), Rock Sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis ptilocnemis), and Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) but encompassed all birds and yielded 13 species...

Robinson, Bryce W.; Withrow, Jack J.; Richardson, Rachel M.; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Gill, Robert E.; Johnson, Andrew S.; Lovette, Irby J.; Johnson, James A.; DeGange, Anthony R.; Romano, Marc D.

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Year Published: 2020

Geometric and material variability influences stress states relevant to coastal permafrost bluff failure

Scientific knowledge and engineering tools for predicting coastal erosion are largely confined to temperate climate zones that are dominated by non-cohesive sediments. The pattern of erosion exhibited by the ice-bonded permafrost bluffs in Arctic Alaska, however, is not well explained by these tools. Investigation of the oceanographic, thermal,...

Thomas, Matthew A.; Mota, Alejandro; Jones, Benjamin M.; Choens, R. Charles; Frederick, Jennifer M.; Bull, Diana L.

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Year Published: 2020

Does habitat partitioning by sympatric plovers affect nest survival?

The vertical structure and composition of vegetation can influence the quantity and quality of potential nesting sites for birds. Interspecific competition for high-quality nesting habitat may force some individuals into suboptimal habitat and lead to reduced reproductive success, eventually leading to changes in distribution or abundance. Large...

Overduijn, Kelly S; Handel, Colleen M.; Powell, Abby

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Year Published: 2020

Prioritizing habitats based on abundance and distribution of molting waterfowl in the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area of the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska

The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) encompasses more than 9.5 million hectares of federally managed land on the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska, where it supports a diversity of wildlife, including millions of migratory birds. Within the NPR-A, Teshekpuk Lake and the surrounding area provide important habitat for migratory...

Flint, Paul L.; Patil, Vijay; Shults, Bradley; Thompson, Sarah J.
Flint, P.L., Patil, V., Shults, B., and Thompson, S.J., 2020, Prioritizing habitats based on abundance and distribution of molting waterfowl in the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area of the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1034, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201034.

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Year Published: 2020

Ringed seal (Pusa hispida) seasonal movements, diving, and haul-out behavior in the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering Seas (2011–2017)

Continued Arctic warming and sea-ice loss will have important implications for the conservation of ringed seals, a highly ice-dependent species. A better understanding of their spatial ecology will help characterize emerging ecological trends and inform management decisions. We deployed satellite transmitters on ringed seals in the summers of 2011...

Von Duyke, Andrew L.; Douglas, David C.; Herreman, Jason K; Crawford, Justin A.

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Year Published: 2020

Individual and population fitness consequences associated with large carnivore use of residential development

Large carnivores are negotiating increasingly developed landscapes, but little is known about how such behavioral plasticity influences their demographic rates and population trends. Some investigators have suggested that the ability of carnivores to behaviorally adapt to human development will enable their persistence, and yet, others have...

Johnson, Heather E.; Lewis, David Bruce; Breck, Stewart

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Year Published: 2020

Novel insights into serodiagnosis and epidemiology of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, a newly recognized pathogen in muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus)

Muskoxen are a key species of Arctic ecosystems and are important for food security and socio-economic well-being of many Indigenous communities in the Arctic and Subarctic. Between 2009 and 2014, the bacterium Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae was isolated for the first time in this species in association with multiple mortality events in Canada and...

Mavrot, F.; Orsel, K.; Hutchins, W.; Adams, Layne G.; Beckmen, K.; Blake, J.; Checkley, S.; Davison, T.; Di Francesco, J.; Elkin, B.; Leclerc, L.; Schneider, A.; Tomaselli, M.; Kutz, S.

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Year Published: 2020

Explaining mass balance and retreat dichotomies at Taku and Lemon Creek Glaciers, Alaska

We reanalyzed mass balance records at Taku and Lemon Creek Glaciers to better understand the relative roles of hypsometry, local climate and dynamics as mass balance drivers. Over the 1946–2018 period, the cumulative mass balances diverged. Tidewater Taku Glacier advanced and gained mass at an average rate of +0.25±0.28 m w.e. a–1, contrasting...

McNeil, Christopher J.; O'Neel, Shad; Loso, Michael ; Pelto, Mauri ; Sass, Louis C.; Baker, Emily; Campbell, Seth

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: 989
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

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.

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.

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.

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 252
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.

Thermokarst
November 12, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Large and severe tundra fires cause top down permafrost thaw, playing a major role in altering Arctic landscapes according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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.