Unified Interior Regions

Region 11: Alaska

Alaska Science Center

Alaska Science Center

4210 University Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: (907) 786-7000

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Volcano Science Center

Volcano Science Center

4230 University Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: (907) 786-7497

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Climate Adaptation Science Center

Climate Adaptation Science Center

4230 University Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: 907-301-7830

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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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report
Filter Total Items: 2,642
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Year Published: 2012

Long-term effects of the 'Exxon Valdez' oil spill: Sea otter foraging in the intertidal as a pathway of exposure to lingering oil

The protracted recovery of some bird and mammal populations in western Prince William Sound (WPWS), Alaska, and the persistence of spilled 'Exxon Valdez' oil in intertidal sediments, suggests a pathway of exposure to consumers that occupy nearshore habitats. To evaluate the hypothesis that sea otter (Enhydra lutris) foraging allows access to...

Bodkin, James L.; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Coletti, Heather A.; Esslinger, George G.; Kloecker, Kimberly A.; Rice, Stanley D.; Reed, John A.; Monson, Daniel H.
Bodkin, J. L., B. E. Ballachey, H. A. Coletti, G. G. Esslinger, K. A. Kloecker, S. D. Rice, J. A. Reed, and D. H. Monson. 2012. Long-term effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill: Sea otter foraging in the intertidal as a pathway of exposure to lingering oil. Marine Ecology Progress Series 447:273-287. doi:10.3354/meps09523

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Year Published: 2012

A circumpolar monitoring framework for polar bears

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) occupy remote regions that are characterized by harsh weather and limited access. Polar bear populations can only persist where temporal and spatial availability of sea ice provides adequate access to their marine mammal prey. Observed declines in sea ice availability will continue as long as greenhouse gas...

Vongraven, Dag; Aars, Jon; Amstrup, Steven C.; Atkinson, Stephen N.; Belikov, Stanislav; Born, Erik W.; DeBruyn, T.D.; Derocher, Andrew E.; Durner, George M.; Gill, Michael J.; Lunn, Nicholas J.; Obbard, Martyn E.; Omelak, Jack; Ovsyanikov, Nikita; Peacock, Elizabeth L.; Richardson, E.E.; Sahanatien, Vicki; Stirling, Ian; Wiig, Øystein
Vongraven, D., J. Aars, S. C. Amstrup, S. N. Atkinson, S. E. Belikov, E. W. Born, T. D. DeBruyn, A. E. Derocher, G. M. Durner, N. J. Lunn, M. E. Obbard, J. Omelak, N. Ovsyanikov, E. Peacock, E. S. Richardson, V. Sahanatien, I. Stirling, and Ø. Wiig. 2012. A circumpolar monitoring framework for polar bears. Ursus 23(sp2):1-66. doi:10.2192/URSUS-D-11-00026.1

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Year Published: 2012

Predation rates, timing, and predator composition for Scoters (Melanitta spp.) in marine habitats

Studies of declining populations of sea ducks have focused mainly on bottom-up processes with little emphasis on the role of predation. We identified 11 potential predators of White-winged Scoters (Melanitta fusca (L., 1758)) and Surf Scoters (Melanitta perspicillata (L., 1758)) in North American marine habitats. However, of 596 Scoters marked...

Anderson, Eric J.; Esler, Daniel N.; Sean, Boyd W.; Evenson, Joseph; Nysewander, David R.; Ward, David H.; Dickson, Rian D.; Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Vanstratt, C.S.; Hupp, Jerry W.
Anderson, E. M., D. Esler, W. S. Boyd, J. R. Evenson, D. R. Nysewander, D. H. Ward, R. D. Dickson, B. D. Uher-Koch, C. S. VanStratt, and J. W. Hupp. 2012. Predation rates, timing, and predator composition for scoters (Melanitta spp.) in marine habitats. Canadian Journal of Zoology 90(1):42-50. doi:10.1139/z11-110

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Year Published: 2012

Range overlap and individual movements during breeding season influence genetic relationships of caribou herds in south-central Alaska

North American caribou (Rangifer tarandus) herds commonly exhibit little nuclear genetic differentiation among adjacent herds, although available evidence supports strong demographic separation, even for herds with seasonal range overlap. During 1997–2003, we studied the Mentasta and Nelchina caribou herds in south-central Alaska using...

Roffler, Gretchen H.; Adams, Layne G.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Sage, George K.; Dale, Bruce W.
Range overlap and individual movements during breeding season influence genetic relationships of caribou herds in south-central Alaska; 2012; Article; Journal; Canadian Journal of Zoology; Roffler, Gretchen H.; Adams, Layne G.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Sage, George K.; Dale, Bruce W.

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Year Published: 2012

Diversity of nitrogen isotopes and protein status in caribou: implications for monitoring northern ungulates

Nutritional condition is an important determinant of productivity and survival in caribou (Rangifer tarandus). We used samples of excreta (n  =  1,150) to estimate diet composition from microhistology and 2 isotopic proxies of protein status for 2 ecotypes of caribou in 4 herds in late winter (2006–2008). Isotopes of nitrogen (δ15N in parts per...

Gustine, David D.; Barboza, Perry S.; Lawler, James P.; Adams, Layne G.; Parker, Kathy L.; Arthur, Steve M.; Shults, Brad S.
Diversity of nitrogen isotopes and protein status in caribou: implications for monitoring northern ungulates; 2012; Article; Journal; Journal of Mammalogy; Gustine, David D.; Barboza, Perry S.; Lawler, James P.; Adams, Layne G.; Parker, Kathy L.; Arthur, Steve M.; Shults, Brad S.

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Year Published: 2012

Small population size of Pribilof Rock Sandpipers confirmed through distance-sampling surveys in Alaska

The Rock Sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis) is endemic to the Bering Sea region and unique among shorebirds in the North Pacific for wintering at high latitudes. The nominate subspecies, the Pribilof Rock Sandpiper (C. p. ptilocnemis), breeds on four isolated islands in the Bering Sea and appears to spend the winter primarily in Cook Inlet, Alaska....

Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Tibbitts, T. Lee; Gill, Robert E.; Dementyev, Maksim N.; Handel, Colleen M.
Ruthrauff, D. R., T. L. Tibbitts, R. E. Gill, Jr., M. N. Dementyev, and C. M. Handel. 2012. Small population size of Pribilof Rock Sandpipers confirmed through distance-sampling surveys in Alaska. Condor 114(3):544-551. DOI: 10.1525/cond.2012.110109

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Year Published: 2012

Assessment of pingo distribution and morphometry using an IfSAR derived digital surface model, western Arctic Coastal Plain, Northern Alaska

Pingos are circular to elongate ice-cored mounds that form by injection and freezing of pressurized water in near-surface permafrost. Here we use a digital surface model (DSM) derived from an airborne Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR) system to assess the distribution and morphometry of pingos within a 40,000 km2 area on...

Jones, Benjamin M.; Grosse, G.; Hinkel, Kenneth M.; Arp, C.D.; Walker, S.; Beck, R.A.; Galloway, J.P.
Assessment of pingo distribution and morphometry using an IfSAR derived digital surface model, western Arctic Coastal Plain, Northern Alaska; 2012; Article; Journal; Geomorphology; Jones, B. M.; Grosse, G.; Hinkel, K. M.; Arp, C. D.; Walker, S.; Beck, R. A.; Galloway, J. P.

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Year Published: 2012

Contrasting extreme long-distance migration patterns in bar-tailed godwits Limosa lapponica

Migrating birds make the longest non-stop endurance flights in the animal kingdom. Satellite technology is now providing direct evidence on the lengths and durations of these flights and associated staging episodes for individual birds. Using this technology, we compared the migration performance of two subspecies of bar-tailed godwit Limosa...

Battley, Phil F.; Warnock, Nils; Tibbitts, T. Lee; Gill, Robert E.; Piersma, Theunis; Hassell, Chris J.; Douglas, David C.; Mulcahy, Daniel M.; Gartrell, Brett D.; Schuckard, Rob; Melville, David S.; Riegen, Adrian C.
Battley, P. F., N. Warnock, T. L. Tibbitts, R. E. Gill, Jr., T. Piersma, C. J. Hassell, D. C. Douglas, D. M. Mulcahy, B. D. Gartrell, R. Schuckard, D. S. Melville, and A. C. Riegen. 2012. Contrasting extreme long-distance migration patterns in Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica. Journal of Avian Biology 43(1):21-32. doi:10.1111/j.1600-048X.2011.05473.x

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Year Published: 2012

Functional ecology of saltglands in shorebirds: Flexible responses to variable environmental conditions

1. Birds of marine environments have specialized glands to excrete salt, the saltglands. Located on the skull between the eyes, the size of these organs is expected to reflect their demand, which will vary with water turnover rates as a function of environmental (heat load, salinity of prey and drinking water) and organismal (energy demand,...

Gutierrez, J.S.; Dietz, M.W.; Masero, J.A.; Gill, Robert E.; Dekinga, Anne; Battley, Phil F.; Sanchez-Guzman, J. M.; Piersma, Theunis

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Year Published: 2012

Genetic and morphological divergence among Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) populations breeding in north-central and western North America

Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) populations breeding in the northern portion of the species' range exhibit variation in morphological traits that conforms to predictions based on differences in prey size, tree stand density, and migratory behavior. We examined genetic structure and gene flow and compared divergence at morphological traits (PST...

Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Rosenfield, Robert N.; Bielefeldt, John; Murphy, Robert K.; Stewart, Andrew C.; Stout, William C.; Driscoll, Timothy G.; Bozek, Michael A.; Sloss, Brian L.; Talbot, Sandra L.
Sonsthagen, S. A., R. N. Rosenfield, J. Bielefeldt, R. K. Murphy, A. C. Stewart, W. E. Stout, T. G. Driscoll, M. A. Bozek, B. L. Sloss, and S. L. Talbot. 2012. Genetic and morphological divergence among Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) populations breeding in north-central and western North America. The Auk 129(3):427-437. doi:10.1525/auk.2012.11166

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Year Published: 2012

Microanatomy of passerine hard-cornified tissues: Beak and claw structure of the black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

The microanatomy of healthy beaks and claws in passerine birds has not been well described in the literature, despite the importance of these structures in avian life. Histological processing of hard‐cornified tissues is notoriously challenging and only a few reports on effective techniques have been published. An emerging epizootic of beak...

Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Handel, Colleen M.; Blake, J.E.; Swor, R.M.; O'Hara, T. M.

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Year Published: 2012

Microsatellite marker isolation and development for the giant Pacific Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini)

We isolated and developed 18 novel microsatellite markers for the giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) and examined them for 31 individuals from Prince William Sound (PWS), Alaska. These loci displayed moderate levels of allelic diversity (averaging 11 alleles per locus) and heterozygosity (averaging 65%). Seven loci deviated from Hardy...

Toussaint, Rebecca K.; Sage, G. Kevin; Talbot, Sandra L.; Scheel, David
Toussaint, R. K., G. K. Sage, S. L. Talbot, and D. Scheel. 2011. Microsatellite marker isolation and development for the giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini). Conservation Genetics 4:545-548. doi:10.1007/s12686-011-9588-z

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