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: September 25, 2019
Status: Active

Alaska Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI)

Our objective is to provide a strategic framework for planning, coordination, and execution of the USGS Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI) in Alaska. Earth MRI aims to improve knowledge of the U.S. geologic framework through new geological and geophysical mapping and to identify areas that have the potential to contain undiscovered critical mineral resources.

Date published: September 11, 2019
Status: Active

Seabird Die-offs in Alaska

Beginning in 2015, large numbers of dead seabirds have been appearing on beaches in most marine areas of Alaska. Although seabird die-offs are known to occur sporadically (e.g. 1970, 1989, 1993, 1997/1998, and 2004) in Alaska, these recent die-offs have been distinguished from past events by their increased frequency, duration, geographic extent, and number of different species involved. 

Date published: September 9, 2019
Status: Active

Tracking Data for Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)

Available here are tracking data of Blue-winged Teal, a duck species that breeds throughout much of North America and whose wintering range includes neotropical areas of the Caribbean and Central and South America, thus providing a migratory link between the continents of North and South America. These data were collected to better understand the timing and patterns of migratory movement of...

Date published: September 5, 2019
Status: Active

Tracking Data for Northern Pintails (Anas acuta)

Available here are tracking data of Northern Pintails, a duck species that, in Alaska, nests throughout the state and in adjacent regions of Russia and Canada. These data were collected to better understand the timing and patterns of migratory movements of Northern Pintails from wintering grounds in Japan as part of a project on the possible spread of Eurasian forms of avian influenza to North...

Date published: August 25, 2019
Status: Active

Condition of Forage Fish in Prince William Sound During the Marine Heatwave

Changes in the body condition of a key forage fish species, Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes personatus), are examined to understand how energy transfer to predators may have been disrupted during the recent marine heatwave in the North Pacific (late 2013 to mid 2016).

Date published: August 21, 2019
Status: Completed

Potential Landslide Paths and Implications for Tsunami Hazards in Glacier Bay, Alaska – An Initial Investigation

Glacier Bay and its inlets are a popular destination for cruise ships and passenger boats; about 540,000 people visited Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (GBNPP) in 2017. A typical tour of the Bay traverses the entire length up to the glacier calving viewpoints in the Johns Hopkins and Tarr Inlets.  A 2018 article “Landslides and Giant Waves” by the National Park Service (NPS) states, “...

Date published: August 2, 2019
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, 2019
Status: Active

North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database

The North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) includes more than 460,000 survey transects that were designed and conducted by numerous partners primarily to census seabirds at sea.

Date published: July 31, 2019
Status: Active

USGS Alaska Science Center Wildlife Tracking Data Collection

Understanding the short- and long-distance movements of wildlife is critical for a wide variety of ecological research questions and management decisions. Since the mid-1980s, the USGS Alaska Science Center has used information from telemetry devices on wildlife species to determine locations of animals throughout their annual cycles, understand patterns of habitat use, quantify time spent on...

Date published: July 22, 2019
Status: Active

Tracking Data for Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa)

Available here are tracking data of Marbled Godwits, a large-bodied shorebird that, in Alaska, nests in the southwestern portion of the state. These data were collected to better understand the timing and patterns of migratory movements and seasonal use of different coastal areas in the Pacific region.

Date published: July 11, 2019
Status: Active

Harmful Algal Bloom Toxins in Alaska Seabirds

Elevated ocean temperatures are linked to the development of harmful algal blooms (HABs). Toxins from these blooms may pose health threats to marine organisms, including seabirds. Since 2015, the USGS has worked with a variety of stakeholders to develop testing methods and research projects to better understand the geographic extent, timing and impacts of algal toxins in Alaska marine...

Date published: June 28, 2019
Status: Active

Seismic Seiches

Definition of seismic seiches and examples dating back to their first public mention in 1755.

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: 2,661
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Year Published: 2021

Alaska Landbird Conservation Plan

Alaska is a land of extremes. The diversity of its avifauna reflects the heterogeneity of its landscape, with more than 500 species of birds recorded in the state. Species inhabiting primarily terrestrial habitats, known collectively as landbirds, constitute the largest and most ecologically diverse component of the Alaska avifauna. Habitats used...

Handel, Colleen M.; Stenhouse, Iain; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Booms, Travis L.; Cady, Melissa N.; Carrothers, Cheryl A.; DeCicco, Lucas H.; de Zeeuw, Maureen L.; Flamme, Melanie J.; Hagelin, Julie; Handel, Colleen M.; Johnson, James A.; Kirchoff, Matthew D.; Kissling, Michelle L.; Lewis, Stephen B.; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Nigro, Debora A.; Perkins, Deborah E.; Renner, Heather M.; Savage, Susan E.; Sowl, Kristine M.; Sharbaugh, Susan M.; Stenhouse, Iain J; Van Hemert, Caroline R.

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Year Published: 2021

Diffusion modeling reveals effects of multiple release sites and human activity on a recolonizing apex predator

BackgroundReintroducing predators is a promising conservation tool to help remedy human-caused ecosystem changes. However, the growth and spread of a reintroduced population is a spatiotemporal process that is driven by a suite of factors, such as habitat change, human activity, and prey availability. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are apex predators...

Eisaguirre, Joseph M.; Willliams, Perry J.; Lu, Xinyi; Kissling, Michelle L.; Beatty, William S.; Esslinger, George G.; Womble, Jamie N.; Hooten, Mevin

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Year Published: 2021

GIS-based identification of areas that have resource potential for lode gold in Alaska

Several comprehensive, data-driven geographic information system (GIS) analyses were conducted to assess prospectivity for lode gold in Alaska. These analyses use available geospatial datasets of lithologic, geochemical, mineral occurrence, and geophysical data to build models for recognizing different types of gold deposits within physiographic...

Karl, Susan M.; Kreiner, Douglas C.; Case, George N.D.; Labay, Keith A.; Shew, Nora B.; Granitto, Matthew; Wang, Bronwen; Anderson, Eric D.
Karl, S.M., Kreiner, D.C., Case, G.N.D., Labay, K.A., Shew, N.B., Granitto, M., Wang, B., and Anderson, E.D., 2021, GIS-based identification of areas that have resource potential for lode gold in Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1041, 75 p., 9 plates, https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211041.

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Year Published: 2021

Chemical analysis of archived stream-sediment samples, Alaska

Geochemical data are presented for more than 1,500 archived stream-sediment samples and accompanying quality control samples. The archived sediments were reanalyzed to improve the stream geochemical dataset for Alaska and to support ongoing U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) studies. Sediment samples were primarily from the USGS Mineral Resources...

Wang, Bronwen; Case, George N.D.; Granitto, Mathew; Labay, Keith A.; Shew, Nora B.; Ingraham, Andrew D.; Azain, Jaime S.; Bueghly, Zachary C.; Karl, Susan M.; Kelley, Karen D.
Wang, B., Case, G.N.D., Granitto, M., Labay, K.A., Shew, N.B., Ingraham, A.D., Bueghly, Z.C., Azain, J.S., Karl, S.M., and Kelley, K.D., 2021, Chemical analysis of archived stream-sediment samples, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1058, 13 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211058.

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Year Published: 2021

Comparison of historical water temperature measurements with landsat analysis ready data provisional surface temperature estimates for the Yukon River in Alaska

Water temperature is a key element of freshwater ecological systems and a critical element within natural resource monitoring programs. In the absence of in situ measurements, remote sensing platforms can indirectly measure water temperature over time and space. The Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center has processed archived...

Baughman, Carson; Conaway, Jeff

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Year Published: 2021

Physiomorphic transformation in extreme endurance migrants: Revisiting the case of bar-tailed godwits preparing for trans-pacific flights

In a 1998 paper entitled “Guts don’t fly: small digestive organs in obese bar-tailed godwits,” Piersma and Gill (1998) showed that the digestive organs were tiny and the fat loads huge in individuals suspected of embarking on a non-stop flight from Alaska to New Zealand. It was suggested that prior to migratory departure, these godwits...

Piersma, Theunis; Gill, Robert E.; Ruthrauff, Daniel R.

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Year Published: 2021

Translocations maintain genetic diversity and increase connectivity in sea otters, Enhydra lutris

Sea otters, Enhydra lutris, were once abundant along the nearshore areas of the North Pacific. The international maritime fur trade that ended in 1911 left 13 small remnant populations with low genetic diversity. Subsequent translocations into previously occupied habitat resulted in several reintroduced populations along the coast of North...

Larson, Shawn E.; Gagne, Roderick B.; Bodkin, James L.; Murray, Michael J.; Ralls, Katherine; Bowen, Lizabeth; Leblois, Raphael; Piry, Sylvain; Penedo, Maria Cecilia; Tinker, M. Tim; Ernest, Holly B.

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Year Published: 2021

Sea otter population collapse in southwest Alaska: Assessing ecological covariates, consequences, and causal factors

Sea otter (Enhydra lutris) populations in southwest Alaska declined substantially between about 1990 and the most recent set of surveys in 2015. Here we report changes in the distribution and abundance of sea otters, and covarying patterns in reproduction, mortality, body size and condition, diet and foraging behavior, food availability, health...

Tinker, M Tim; Bodkin, James L; Bowen, Lizabeth; Ballachey, Brenda; Bentall, Gena; Burdin, Alexander; Coletti, Heather; Esslinger, George G.; Hatfield, Brian; Kenner, Michael C.; Kloecker, Kimberly A.; Konar, Brenda; Miles, A. Keith; Monson, Daniel; Murray, Michael J.; Weitzman, Ben; Estes, James A

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Year Published: 2021

Diet composition and body condition of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in relation to sea ice habitat in the Canadian High Arctic

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) rely on sea ice for hunting marine mammal prey. Declining sea ice conditions associated with climate warming have negatively affected polar bears, especially in the southern portion of their range. At higher latitudes, the transition from multi-year ice to thinner annual ice has been hypothesized to increase...

Florko, Katie R. N.; Thiemann, Gregory W.; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.; Richardson, Evan S.

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Year Published: 2021

Diverse patterns of migratory timing, site use, and site fidelity by Alaska-breeding Whimbrels

Birds that conduct long-distance migrations exhibit varied patterns of consistency in migratory timing and site use. Understanding variation in these traits among populations can help uncover mechanisms driving migratory behaviors and identify potential population threats. Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus) are long-distance migratory shorebirds with a...

Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Harwood, Christopher M.; Tibbitts, Lee; Warnock, Nils; Gill, Robert E.

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Year Published: 2021

Alaska landbird montoring survey: Alaska regional protocol framework for monitoring landbirds using point counts

Alaska provides habitat for 143 species of landbirds that occur regularly in the state, about half of which breed predominantly north of the border between the contiguous United States and Canada. The road-based North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) provides some data on population trends in Alaska, but most northern populations are...

Handel, Colleen M.; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Cady, Melissa N.; Granfors, Diane A.

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Year Published: 2021

Willow drives changes in arthropod communities of northwestern Alaska: ecological implications of shrub expansion

Arthropods serve as complex linkages between plants and higher-level predators in Arctic ecosystems and provide key ecosystem services such as pollination and nutrient cycling. Arctic plant communities are changing as tall woody shrubs expand onto tundra, but potential effects on arthropod abundance and food web structure remain unclear. Changes...

McDermott, Molly E.; Doak, Patricia; Handel, Colleen M.; Breed, Greg A.; Mulder, Christa

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: 976
Geologist at Yukon Tanana Uplands Alaska
December 31, 2019

Geologist at Yukon Tanana Uplands Alaska

Geologist at Yukon Tanana Uplands Alaska.  This is part of the Earth MRI project.

Keychain in Inupiaq for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting
December 3, 2019

Keychain in Inupiaq for USGS outreach activities about bird banding

Keychain developed for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting in Inupiaq and English. Inupiaq translation provided by Qaiyaan and Jana Harcharek.

Tundra swan on the Colville River Delta
October 31, 2019

Tundra swan on the Colville River Delta, Alaska

Tundra swan on the Colville River Delta, Alaska 2013.

October 31, 2019

Animation depicting seasonal cycles on Alaska's Arctic bluffs

In the spring, winter sea ice thaws and moves offshore leaving the coast exposed to increased wave action and relatively warm water temperatures that, when in contact with the bluff, erodes the toe of the bluff. Additionally, warm air temperatures during the spring and summer months thaw the upper layers of permafrost causing erosion or sloughing of the bluff face above

October 24, 2019

Climate Adaptation Planning with Alaska-Based Adaptation Tools

The dynamic landscape and climate of Alaska presents many challenges to the over 200 communities that live in rural areas of the state and have a wide variety of resource needs. Coastal and riverine erosion, flooding, wildfire, permafrost dynamics and increasing temperatures act as drivers for many of these landscape changes. Both the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science

Beaver dam and lodge on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve
October 16, 2019

Beaver dam and lodge on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve

Beaver dam and lodge on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve

Beaver dam complex and lodge at the confluence of Wrench Creek and Kelly River, Noatak National Preserve
October 16, 2019

Beaver dam complex and lodge at the confluence

Beaver dam complex and lodge at the confluence of Wrench Creek and Kelly River, Noatak National Preserve

Adult Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) caught in impounded water above beaver dam. >2 5rKM from coast
October 9, 2019

Adult Pacific salmon caught in impounded water above beaver dam

Adult Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) caught in impounded water above beaver dam. >25 rKM (river KM) from coast.

Keychain for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting
September 17, 2019

Keychain for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting

Keychain developed for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting in Yup'ik and English. Yup'ik translation provided by Jakob Sipary, Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP).

Please see description for full content of infographic
September 10, 2019

Gas Hydrates in Alaska 2019

The Alaska North Slope is rich in gas hydrate-bearing formations which contain significant natural gas resources. The USGS has released a geologically based assessment for how much of these resources is technically recoverable.

53.8 trillion cubic feet
Estimate of the undiscovered technically recoverable amount of natural gas that is stored in

...
Water chemistry measurements on the Alaska Peninsula
September 6, 2019

Hydrologist takes water chemistry measures on the Alaska Peninsula

Laura Hubbard of the USGS Upper Midwest Water Science Center takes water chemistry measures on the Alaska Peninsula as part of research to understand how long influenza viruses remain viable in the environment.  

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 255
Image shows a drill rig on the snow against a twilight sky
April 26, 2019

In the far north of Alaska, near the giant Prudhoe Bay oil field, an international research consortium has been studying the potential of an altogether different energy source.  In late December of 2018, drilling operations confirmed the existence of two high-quality reservoirs that were fully saturated with a potential alternative fuel source: gas hydrate.

A man standing on a log in the grass near a bay
March 5, 2019

Recent geological studies of a key section of the Aleutian Island chain of Alaska suggest Aleutian tsunamis may occur more frequently than previously understood.

Map of earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska, November 30, 2018
November 30, 2018

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck north of Anchorage, Alaska, on November 30, 2018, at 8:29 a.m. local time (17:29:28 UTC).  For the most up-to-date information, please visit the USGS event page, and for estimates of casualties and damage, visit the USGS Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) website.

man standing on dock next to large white ship
August 6, 2018

Researchers from NOAA, U.S. Geological Survey and their partners have completed the first high-resolution, comprehensive mapping of one of the fastest moving underwater tectonic faults in the world, located in southeastern Alaska. This information will help communities in coastal Alaska and Canada better understand and prepare for the risks from earthquakes and tsunamis that can occur when faults suddenly move.

Animated GIF of polar bears interacting on the ice
February 1, 2018

In June of 2014, the USGS released the first-ever polar bear point-of-view footage, offering a never-seen-before perspective from the top Arctic predator.

Map showing part of southern Alaska and Gulf of Alaska, with orange star in Gulf & white dots strung out along Aleutian Islands
January 30, 2018

One week ago, on January 23rd at 12:31 a.m. local time, Alaskans were rocked by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake, with an epicenter in the Gulf of Alaska, about 350 miles southwest of Anchorage, and about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak Island.

Image shows a map of Florida with USGS groundwater monitoring stations
January 24, 2018

At 12:32 am Alaska time on January 23, 2018, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake shook Alaska residents out of their beds and set off fears of a tsunami all down the West Coast. Fortunately, the tsunami was only a few inches in height, but within an hour of the earthquake in Alaska, waves of a different sort were hitting far away in Florida. 

Regional map showing the Gulf of Alaska and epicenter of M7.9 earthquake
January 23, 2018

The USGS has up-to-date details on the January 23, 2018 event.

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:

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