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: 174
Date published: July 27, 2017
Status: Active

Dabbling and Diving Duck Research

Dabbling and diving ducks, such as mallards, pintails and scaup, are widespread species throughout North America.  Additionally, their migratory flyways pass through Asia and North America overlap in Alaska.  Population trends of these species are closely tracked through aerial surveys by management agencies.  Results from these and other surveys are then used to formulate management actions...

Date published: July 27, 2017
Status: Active

Sea Duck Research

USGS research on sea ducks is designed to anticipate and address priority information needs of management agencies.  Additionally, work is focused on individual species biology, migration and population status and trends because until just recently, very little was known about sea ducks in Alaska.  

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Wildlife Disease and Environmental Health in Alaska

Environmental health is defined by connections between the physical environment, ecological health, and human health. Current research within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recognizes the importance of this integrated research philosophy, which includes study of disease and pollutants as they pertain to both wildlife and humans. Due to its key geographic location and significant wildlife...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Landbird Research in Alaska

On this page, learn about USGS work on Beak Deformities and Boreal Partners in Flight.

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Waterfowl Research

Scientists at the USGS Alaska Science Center have conducted research on waterfowl species (ducks, geese, and swans) in Alaska since the 1970s. Because Alaska is an international crossroads of migratory bird flyways, with millions of birds from Asia and North America breeding in Alaska each summer, USGS research has also taken place in adjacent countries (Russia, Japan, Canada, Mexico) and in...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Polar Bear Research

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are one of 4 marine mammal species managed by the U.S. Department of Interior. The USGS Alaska Science Center leads long–term research on polar bears to inform local, state, national and international policy makers regarding conservation of the species and its habitat. Our studies, ongoing since 1985, are focused on population dynamics, health and...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Shorebird Research

With its vast size and geographic position at the northern end of several migration pathways, Alaska is a critically important site for the world’s shorebirds. Thirty-seven shorebird species regularly breed in Alaska. Most of these species conduct epically long migrations to take advantage of Alaska’s abundant food resources and breeding habitat, making Alaska a global resource for shorebirds...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Terrestrial Mammal Ecology Research

Understanding the population dynamics, predator/prey relationships and habitat ecology of terrestrial mammals, such as caribou and muskoxen, is critical for the management of these species and their habitats in Alaska.

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Walrus Research

The Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) is one of 4 marine mammal species managed by the U.S. Department of Interior. The USGS Alaska Science Center conducts long–term research on Pacific walruses to inform local, state, national and international policy makers regarding conservation of the species and its habitat. The goal of our current research efforts is to refine and...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Nearshore Marine Ecosystem Research

Nearshore ecosystems include many resources that are of high ecological, recreational, subsistence, and economic value. They also are subject to influences from a wide variety of natural and human-caused perturbations, which can originate in terrestrial or oceanic environments. Our research is designed to evaluate sources of variation in the nearshore and how they influence resources of high...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Habitat Dynamics

The Habitat Dynamics Project examines how short and long-term changes in the environment affect the distribution and survival of wildlife populations. 

Contacts: David Douglas
Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Avian Influenza Research

Since 2006, the USGS Alaska Science Center has been part of the State and Federal interagency team for the detection and response to highly pathogenic (HPAI) viruses in North America. Avian influenza or "bird flu" is a viral disease that primarily infects domestic poultry and wild birds. Avian influenza viruses are naturally occurring in wild birds such as ducks, geese, swans, and gulls. These...

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: 2,679
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Year Published: 2020

Influenza A viruses remain infectious for more than seven months in northern wetlands of North America

In this investigation, we used a combination of field- and laboratory-based approaches to assess if influenza A viruses (IAVs) shed by ducks could remain viable for extended periods in surface water within three wetland complexes of North America. In a field experiment, replicate filtered surface water samples inoculated with duck swabs were...

Ramey, Andrew M.; Reeves, Andrew B.; Drexler, Judith Z.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; De La Cruz, Susan E. W.; Lang, Andrew S.; Leyson, Christina; Link, Paul T.; Prosser, Diann; Robertson, Gregory J.; Wight, Jordan; Youk, Sungsu; Spackman, Erica; Pantin-Jackwood, Mary; Poulson, Rebecca L.; Stallknecht, David E.

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Year Published: 2020

Drivers and consequences of apex predator diet composition in the Canadian Beaufort Sea

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) rely on annual sea ice as their primary habitat for hunting marine mammal prey. Given their long lifespan, wide geographic distribution, and position at the top of the Arctic marine food web, the diet composition of polar bears can provide insights into temporal and spatial ecosystem dynamics related to climate-...

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

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Year Published: 2020

Evidence of prevalent heat stress in Yukon River Chinook salmon

Migrating adult Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) are sensitive to warm water (>18 °C), with a range of consequences from decreased spawning success to early mortality. We examined the proportion of Yukon River Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) exhibiting evidence of heat stress to assess the potential that high temperatures contribute to...

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

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Year Published: 2020

Identifying reliable indicators of fitness in polar bears

Animal structural body size and condition are often measured to evaluate individual health, identify responses to environmental change and food availability, and relate food availability to effects on reproduction and survival. A variety of condition metrics have been developed but relationships between these metrics and vital rates are rarely...

Rode, Karyn D.; Atwood, Todd C.; Thiemann, Gregory; St. Martin, Michelle; Wilson, Ryan R.; Durner, George M.; Regehr, Eric V.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Sage, Kevin; Pagano, Anthony M.; Simac, Kristin S.

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Year Published: 2020

The Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment

The Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment (AACSE) is a shoreline‐crossing passive‐ and active‐source seismic experiment that took place from May 2018 through August 2019 along an ∼700  km">∼700  km∼700  km long section of the Aleutian subduction zone spanning Kodiak Island and the Alaska...

Barcheck, C. Grace; Abers, Geoffrey A.; Adams, Aubreya N.; Bécel, Anne; Collins, John A.; Gaherty, James B.; Haeussler, Peter; Li, Zongshan; Moore, Ginevra; Onyango, Evans; Roland, Emily C.; Sampson, Daniel E; Schwartz, Susan Y.; Sheehan, Anne F; Shillington, Donna J.; Shore, Patrick J; Webb, Spahr; Wiens, Douglas A; Worthington, Lindsay L

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Year Published: 2020

Bioclimatic modeling of potential vegetation types as an alternative to species distribution models for projecting plant species shifts under changing climates

Land managers need new tools for planning novel futures due to climate change. Species distribution modeling (SDM) has been used extensively to predict future distributions of species under different climates, but their map products are often too coarse for fine-scale operational use. In this study we developed a flexible, efficient, and robust...

Keane, Robert; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Loehman, Rachel A.

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Year Published: 2020

Hydrology and geomorphology of the Taiya River near the West Creek Tributary, southeast Alaska

The Taiya River flows through the Chilkoot Trail Unit of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in southeast Alaska, which was founded to preserve cultural and historical resources and further understanding of natural processes active in the surrounding coastal-to-subarctic basin. Riverine processes exert an important influence on...

Curran, Janet H.
Curran, J.H., 2020, Hydrology and geomorphology of the Taiya River near the West Creek Tributary, southeast Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5059, 57 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205059.

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Year Published: 2020

A synthesis of ten years of chemical contaminant monitoring data in National Park Service - Southeast and southwest Alaska networks

With the exception of PAHs and trace metals, which were detected at 100% of the sites, all of the other contaminants were detected at varying frequencies. PBBs, Mirex and Endosulfans were not detected in any of the samples and Chlorpyrifos was only detected in five samples across four sites. Chlordanes were present at 79% of the sites while...

Rider, Mary; Apeti, Dennis; Jacob, Annie; Kimbrough, Kimani L.; Davenport, Erik; Bower, Michael R.; Colletti, Heather A; Esler, Daniel N.

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Year Published: 2020

Citizen science collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska

Citizen science is science undertaken by the public, usually in collaboration with professional scientific institutions. It encourages citizens to tackle real-world scientific problems and augments traditional science by expanding the coverage of data collection and by reducing costs of fieldwork in remote locations. Information collected by...

Powers, Elizabeth; Williams, Dee
Powers, E.M., and Williams, D.M., 2020, Citizen science collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2020-3026, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20203026.

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Year Published: 2020

DNA metabarcoding of feces to infer summer diet of Pacific walruses

Environmental conditions in the Chukchi Sea are changing rapidly and may alter the abundance and distribution of marine species and their benthic prey. We used a metabarcoding approach to identify potentially important prey taxa from Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) fecal samples (n = 87). Bivalvia was the most dominant class of...

Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Jay, Chadwick V.; Cornman, Robert S.; Fischbach, Anthony S.; Grebmeier, Jacqueline M.; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2020

Wildfire-initiated talik development exceeds current thaw projections: Observations and models from Alaska's continuous permafrost zone

As the Arctic warms and wildfire occurrence increases, talik formation in permafrost regions is projected to expand and affect the cycling of water and carbon. Yet, few unified field and modeling studies have examined this process in detail, particularly in areas of continuous permafrost. We address this gap by presenting multimethod,...

Rey, David; Walvoord, Michelle A.; Minsley, Burke J.; Ebel, Brian A.; Voss, Clifford I.; Singha, Kamini

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
Image shows a river winding through a green landscape
December 31, 2017

Fish Creek Watershed in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Fish Creek wanders through the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 22.8 million acre region managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Alaska's North Slope. USGS has periodically assessed oil and gas resource potential there. These assessments can be found here.

Image shows squares of permafrost
December 31, 2017

Permafrost in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Permafrost forms a grid-like pattern in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 22.8 million acre region managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Alaska's North Slope. USGS has periodically assessed oil and gas resource potential there. These assessments can be found here.

Emperor geese standing near the shoreline on Kodiak Island
December 31, 2017

Emperor geese near Kodiak.

Emperor geese gathered near the shoreline on Kodiak Island.

Glacier off Sargent Icefield
December 31, 2017

Glacier off Sargent Icefield

Landscape view of an un-named glacier off the Sargent Icefield, directly across from Wolverine Glacier, above the Nellie Juan River, in Alaska. Taken during a visit to a wolverine glacier field site as part of a study to examine how alpine areas are changing as temperatures rise in Alaska. 

Map of coastline showing lines that ships followed, collecting data along the way, near labeled sites of earthquakes.
December 31, 2017

Research vessel tracklines offshore of southeast Alaska

Tracklines along which R/V Ocean Starr (2017, red lines) and R/V Norseman (2016, black lines) conducted seismic-reflection surveys, overlaid on high-resolution bathymetry (color background). Yellow stars represent earthquakes of magnitude (M) 7 and greater since 1900. Short yellow lines are locations of seismic-reflection profiles (shown below) along 

...
November 20, 2017

Return to the Alaska Wilderness

A team of USGS scientists spent two weeks in the isolated Glacier Bay National Park, exploring one of the fastest-moving faults in North America.
 

3 men leaning over big yellow metal grab bucket on the deck of a ship. Dark sediment is visible inside bucket
September 28, 2017

Examining bucket of seafloor sediment collected off southeast Alaska

USGS research geophysicist Danny Brothers (right) and colleagues examine the surface of a sediment grab sample just pulled onto the deck of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully. The sample was collected from the top of a mud volcano north of the border between southeast Alaska and British Columbia. Expedition scientists are investigating the Queen Charlotte

...
Two women stand at plywood table on which rest three long plastic tubes full of dark seafloor sediment.
September 17, 2017

Sampling core fluid from sediment cores collected off southeast Alaska

Mary McGann (left, USGS) and Rachel Lauer (University of Calgary) sample pore fluids from sediment cores collected aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault offshore of southeast Alaska. Expedition scientists will use their findings to better understand the history of the fault and the hazards it poses to

...
Salcha River sonar near Salchaket
September 13, 2017

Salcha River sonar near Salchaket

Salcha River sonar near Salchaket

Tazlina River sonar
September 13, 2017

Tazlina River sonar

Tazlina River sonar

Saffron cod captured near Kaktovik Alaska
August 31, 2017

Saffron cod captured near Kaktovik Alaska

Saffron cod (Eleginus gracilis) captured near Kaktovik Alaska

Scientist walking up the Imelyak River
August 31, 2017

Sampling the Imelyak River in the Brooks Range

Sampling the Imelyak River in the Boreal-Arctic transition of the Brooks Range in Noatak National Park and Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 255
Photo of Santa Fe, New Mexico 2013 United States Topo map
January 22, 2014

The USGS, in cooperation with other Federal agencies, has posted new Idaho US Topo quadrangles (1,193) and New Mexico quads (1,980 maps) which include Public Land Survey System (PLSS). These are added to the growing list of states west of the Mississippi River to have PLSS data added to US Topo maps.

Image: Black Brant Geese
January 21, 2014

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey report that warming temperatures are leading to the creation of high quality habitats for geese along the Arctic coast of Alaska. This scientific finding is contrary to the deleterious effects that warming global temperatures are having on habitats of sea ice-dependent animals, such as polar bear and walrus.

A view of snow-covered Akutan Volcano.
January 9, 2014

Akutan Island, in Alaska’s east-central Aleutian Islands, hosts the City of Akutan and is home to the largest seafood production facility in North America. It also hosts Akutan Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the U.S.

Image: Banding Together to Learn and Preserve
November 21, 2013

25 Years of Goose Banding and Conservation through Federal and Tribal Partnership on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in Western Alaska

USGS
July 1, 2013

Wilderness pilots, hikers, boaters and people in Alaskan communities can now report online to authorities if they witness falling ash or an ash cloud from an erupting volcano. The  Alaska Volcano Observatory has developed a new online tool for reporting visible volcanic ash. 

USGS
May 30, 2013

Multiple sources of Alaskan geochemical information have united into one online resource. 

USGS
May 27, 2013

USGS releases more than 400 updated US Topo maps of Alaska

USGS
April 1, 2013

Twenty-five years of monitoring and studying Alaska's volcanoes by the Alaska Volcano Observatory have improved global understanding of how volcanoes work and how to live safely with volcanic eruptions. Timely warnings from AVO throughout its 25-year history have helped reduce the impact of erupting volcanoes, protecting lives, property, and economic well-being.

USGS
January 30, 2013

The upper Cook Inlet is the world's coldest site that regularly supports wintering shorebirds.  The rock sandpiper is the only shorebird found in this region during winter and is a species that is uniquely adapted to survive the winter chill, according to new research by biologists with the USGS Alaska Science Center.  

USGS
January 23, 2013

Invasive northern pike in southcentral Alaska are opportunistic and adaptable predators that feed on multiple native fish species when their preferred prey, native salmonids, are no longer abundant, according to a new study released in Ecology of Freshwater Fish. 

USGS
June 26, 2012

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Shrews are among a diverse group of small mammals that have rapidly evolved in response to climate change, according to a new study released this month.

USGS
January 23, 2012

ANCHORAGE — A new report maps out erosion history and hazards for 74 miles of the Matanuska River, a braided river in Southcentral Alaska that has damaged and threatened houses, roads and public facilities for decades. 

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.