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

Regions L2 Landing Page Tabs

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: 171
Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Wetland Modeling

This project aims to improve our understanding of the role of wetlands in controlling streamflow in southcentral Alaska using a groundwater – surface water flow model that can recreate the dynamic interactions between streams and wetlands.

Contacts: Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Ty Ferre, Mike Gracz, Frankie Barker
Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Arctic Coastal Plain Studies

The Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) is a large region of low-lying, lake-rich land on the North Slope of Alaska. This region is underlain by thick ground ice, which is susceptible to erosion and thaw. These physical changes are likely to alter ecosystems by changing the availability of habitats and food resources upon which wildlife depends. Our studies on the ACP aim to understand the link between...

Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)

ABoVE: Vulnerability of inland waters and the aquatic carbon cycle to changing permafrost and climate across boreal northwestern North America.

Carbon released from thawing permafrost may fuel terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems or contribute to greenhouse gas emission, leading to a potential warming feedback and further thaw.

Contacts: Rob Striegl, Michelle Walvoord, Burke Minsley, Kimberly Wickland, Brian A Ebel, Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Bruce Wiley, Torre Jorgenson, Dave Butman, Rob Spencer
Date published: April 28, 2017
Status: Active

Boreal Partners in Flight

WELCOME to the Alaska Landbird Resource Information System, the official web site for Boreal Partners in Flight! Thanks for taking the time to learn more about the Boreal Partners in Flight program and our efforts to understand and conserve northern populations of landbirds.

Date published: April 18, 2017
Status: Active

Nome Creek Experimental Watershed

The Nome Creek Experimental Watershed (NCEW) has been the site of multiple studies focused on understanding hydrology, biogeochemistry, and ecosystem changes related to permafrost thaw and fire in the boreal forest.

Date published: April 12, 2017
Status: Active

Hydro-Ecology of Arctic Thawing (HEAT): Hydrology

The Arctic is warming at higher rates than much of the rest of the world. For Alaska, this results in changes in hydrology and ecosystems – permafrost is thawing, changing landscapes and releasing nutrients to soils and streams. 

Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Western Alaska Range Metallogeny and Tectonics

There are many different types of mineral deposits present in the Western Alaska Range: plutonic gold, porphyry copper-gold (Pebble prospect), epithermal gold, tin-silver skarns, sedimentary barite, mafic hosted nickle-platinum-group elements, uranium-thorium rare earth elements, and even a diamond prospect.

Date published: December 1, 2016
Status: Active

Riparian Ecology

Riparian ecologists in the AS Branch study interactions among flow, channel change, and vegetation along rivers across the western United States and worldwide. Our work focuses on issues relevant to the management of water and public lands, including dam operation, climate change, invasive species, and ecological restoration. Investigations take place on a range of scales. For example,...

Date published: November 6, 2016
Status: Active

Seabirds at Sea

Helpful links for Seabirds at Sea

Date published: November 6, 2016
Status: Active

NPPSD Resources and Protocols

List of resources and protocols used by the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD).

Date published: August 10, 2016
Status: Active

Molecular Ecology Lab (MEL)

The Molecular Ecology Laboratory applies genetic and genomic technologies to address a variety of complex questions and conservation issues facing the management of the Nation's fish and wildlife resources. Together with our partners, we design and implement studies to document genetic diversity and the distribution of genetic variation among individuals, populations, and species. Information...

Date published: July 26, 2016
Status: Active

HDgov: Multi-agency Website for Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

HDgov is an interactive and mobile-responsive online portal to interagency, academic, and non-government resources focused on the human dimensions of natural resource management. The web portal provides easy access to tools, publications, data, and methods that help ensure that the people side of natural resources is considered throughout the entire natural resource management process. The...

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: 2,440
Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

State of knowledge on current exposure, fate and potential health effects of contaminants in polar bears from the circumpolar Arctic

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is among the Arctic species exposed to the highest concentrations of long-range transported bioaccumulative contaminants, such as halogenated organic compounds and mercury. Contaminant exposure is considered to be one of the largest threats to polar bears after the loss of their Arctic sea ice habitat due to...

Routti, Heli; Atwood, Todd C.; Bechshoft, Thea; Boltunov, Andrei N.; Ciesielski, Tomasz M.; Desforges, Jean-Pierre; Dietz, Rune; Gabrielsen, Geir W.; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro; Letcher, Robert J.; McKinney, Melissa A.; Morris, A.; Riget, F.; Sonne, Christian; Styrishave, Bjarne; Tartu, Sabrina

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Monitoring long-term changes in forage fish distribution, abundance and body condition

We collected data on forage fish abundance, distribution and body condition in Prince William Sound, Alaska during summers in 2012 through 2016. This included acoustic – trawl surveys, aerial-acoustic surveys, opportunistic sampling where we encountered forage aggregations, and concurrent measurements of forage fish habitat. Acoustic indices of...

Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Piatt, John F.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Selecting a landscape model for natural resource management applications

Purpose of Review: Climate change and associated ecological impacts have challenged many conventional, observation-based approaches for predicting ecosystem and landscape responses to natural resource management. Complex spatial ecological models provide powerful, flexible tools which managers and others can use to make inferences about management...

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

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Remote sensing of river flow in Alaska—New technology to improve safety and expand coverage of USGS streamgaging

The U.S. Geological Survey monitors water level (water surface elevation relative to an arbitrary datum) and measures streamflow in Alaska rivers to compute and compile river flow records for use by water resource planners, engineers, and land managers to design infrastructure, manage floodplains, and protect life, property, and aquatic resources...

Conaway, Jeff; Eggleston, John R.; Legleiter, Carl J.; Jones, John W.; Kinzel, Paul J.; Fulton, John W.
Conaway, J.S., Eggleston, J., Legleiter, C.J., Jones, J.W., Kinzel, P.J., and Fulton, J.W., 2019, Remote sensing of river flow in Alaska—New technology to improve safety and expand coverage of USGS streamgaging: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2019-3024, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20193024.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms for use in a genetic stock identification system for greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons) subspecies wintering in California

California provides wintering habitat for most greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons [GWFG]) in the Pacific Flyway and this population has rapidly increased since the 1980s. Increased harvest of GWFG wintering in California may prevent agricultural depredation while providing increased hunting opportunities. However, changes in harvest...

Wilson, Robert E.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; DaCosta, Jeffrey M.; Ely, Craig R.; Sorenson, Michael D.; Talbot, Sandra L.
Wilson, R.E., Sonsthagen, S.A., DaCosta, J.M., Ely, C.R., Sorenson, M.D., and Talbot, S.L., 2019, Identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms for use in a genetic stock identification system for greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons) subspecies wintering in California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019-1040, 18 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191040.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Cloud cover and delayed herbivory relative to timing of spring onset interact to dampen climate change impacts on net ecosystem exchange in a coastal Alaskan wetland

Rapid warming in northern ecosystems over the past four decades has resulted in earlier spring, increased precipitation, and altered timing of plant–animal interactions, such as herbivory. Advanced spring phenology can lead to longer growing seasons and increased carbon (C) uptake. Greater precipitation coincides with greater cloud cover possibly...

Leffler, Josh; Beard, Karen H.; Kelsey, Katharine C.; Choi, Ryan T.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Welker, Jeffrey

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Monitoring annual trends in abundance of eelgrass (Zostera marina) at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, 2018

A lagoon-wide, point-sampling survey of eelgrass (Zostera marina) abundance was conducted in Izembek Lagoon, Alaska, August 7–16, 2018, the ninth year of annual surveys (2007–11, 2015–18). Mean predicted aboveground biomass of eelgrass across 116 sampled points was 238 grams per square meter (g m-2) (95 percent confidence interval: 203–278 g m-2)...

Ward, David H.; Amundson, Courtney L.
Ward, D.H., and Amundson, C.L., 2019, Monitoring annual trends in abundance of eelgrass (Zostera marina) at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, 2018: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019-1042, 8 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191042.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Phenological mismatch between season advancement and migration timing alters Arctic plant traits

1. Climate change is creating phenological mismatches between herbivores and their plant resources throughout the Arctic. While advancing growing seasons and changing arrival times of migratory herbivores has been shown to have consequences for herbivores and forage quality, developing mismatches are also likely to influence other traits of plants...

Choi, Ryan T.; Beard, Karen H.; Leffler, A. Joshua; Kelsey, Katharine C.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Welker, Jeffrey

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Alaska Shorebird Conservation Plan, Version III

In recognition of declines among perhaps half of Alaska’s breeding shorebirds, ongoing or emerging threats to shorebirds and their habitats, and considerable knowledge of Alaska’s shorebirds acquired over the past decade, the Alaska Shorebird Group decided that the Alaska Shorebird Conservation Plan was due for updates. Similar to Version II (2008...

Ruthrauff, Daniel R.
Alaska Shorebird Group. 2019. Alaska Shorebird Conservation Plan. Version III. Alaska Shorebird Group, Anchorage, AK, https://www.fws.gov/alaska/mbsp/mbm/shorebirds/plans.htm

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Satellite tracking of gulls and genomic characterization of fecal bacteria reveals environmentally mediated acquisition and dispersal of antimicrobial resistant Escherichia coli on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Gulls (Larus spp.) have frequently been reported to carry Escherichia coli exhibiting antimicrobial resistance (AMR E. coli); however, the pathways governing the acquisition and dispersal of such bacteria are not well-described. We equipped 17 landfill-foraging gulls with satellite transmitters and collected gull fecal samples longitudinally from...

Ahlstrom, Christina; Bonnedahl, Jonas; Woksepp, Hanna; Hernandez, Jorge; Reed, John; Tibbitts, Lee; Olsen, Björn; Douglas, David C.; Ramey, Andrew M.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

The rise of an apex predator following deglaciation

AimSea otters (Enhydra lutris) are an apex predator of the nearshore marine community and nearly went extinct at the turn of the 20th century. Reintroductions and legal protection allowed sea otters to re‐colonize much of their former range. Our objective was to chronicle the colonization of this apex predator in Glacier Bay, Alaska, to help...

Hooten, Mevin; Esslinger, George G.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Changes in behavior are unable to disrupt a trophic cascade involving a specialist herbivore and its food plant

Changes in ecological conditions can induce changes in behavior and demography of wild organisms, which in turn may influence population dynamics. Pacific black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) nesting in colonies on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) in western Alaska have declined substantially (~50%) since the turn of the century. Pacific black...

Lohman, Madeleine G; Riecke, Thomas V.; Acevedo, Cheyenne R; Person, Brian T.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Sedinger, James S.

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: 974
Glacier Creek sonar on a bridge
August 29, 2017

Glacier Creek sonar on a bridge

Glacier Creek sonar

A shorebird walking along the shore
August 25, 2017

Pacific Golden-Plover on the shore near Big Creek near Egegik, Alaska

Pacific Golden-Plover on the shore near Big Creek, Alaska.

A small shorebird walking along the mud
August 25, 2017

Black-bellied Plover on the mud shore of Big Creek near Egegik, Alaska

Black-bellied Plover on the mud shore of Big Creek, Alaska.

Black-legged Kittiwakes sitting on the side of a rock wall in Cook Inlet, Alaska
August 19, 2017

Black-legged Kittiwakes in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Black-legged Kittiwakes in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska. One bird on a nest.

Common Murres in their colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Adult touching bill to chick.
August 19, 2017

Common Murres in their colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Common Murres in their colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Common Murres in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska in 2017
August 19, 2017

Common Murres in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska in 2017

Common Murres in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska in 2017

A lot of small fish from a fyke net set near Kaktovik, AK.  Biologists sort through them.
August 7, 2017

The catch from a fyke net set near Kaktovik, Alaska

Biologists identify species, count, measure length, and release thousands of fish each year to understand how fish use nearshore habitats.

A fish trap set in the ocean along the shore near Kaktovik, AK
August 5, 2017

A fyke net set to catch nearshore fish near Kaktovik, Alaska

A fyke net or fish trap used for continuous sampling of nearshore fish in shallow waters. Fish swimming along the beach are stopped by a small-mesh net that guides them in to one of these two underwater fish traps that are set side by side. Researchers visit nets at least once a day to identify, count, and release fish.

Underwater view of fish inside a fyke net
August 5, 2017

Underwater image of fish captured by a fyke net

An underwater image of fish captured by a fyke net near Kaktovik, Alaska, Beaufort Sea, USA. The small silver fish with dark backs are young-of-year (age-0) Arctic cisco (Coregonus autumnalis) and the flatfish are Arctic flounder (Liopsetta glacialis).

Photo of USGS biological science tech Shannon Waters holding a salmon for release
July 31, 2017

Shannon Waters Releases Chinook Salmon, Alaska

USGS biological science technician Shannon Waters releases a Chinook Salmon into an Alaskan river.

Cross-sectional view of the earth beneath the seafloor, clear patterns show deformation.
July 31, 2017

Multichannel seismic-reflection profile, Sitka Sound

Multichannel seismic-reflection profile showing deformed and offset sediment layers below the outer continental shelf west of Sitka. The Sitka Sound fault is one of more than a dozen previously unmapped faults discovered in the July 2017 seismic-reflection data. Location of profile shown by yellow line on trackline map, above. km, kilometer; m, meter; s, second.

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 252
USGS science for a changing world logo
August 16, 2011

USGS Alaska Science Center researchers, in cooperation with the Native Village of Point Lay, will attempt to attach 35 satellite radio-tags to walruses on the northwestern Alaska coast in August as part of their ongoing study of how the Pacific walrus are responding to reduced sea ice conditions in late summer and fall.

USGS science for a changing world logo
August 1, 2011

Marine biologists are setting up camp in Forks this week, and sea otters will be their quarry on a three-week expedition. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Seattle Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium and other institutions are studying the health of local sea otters to assess the condition of Washington’s nearshore ecosystem. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
July 20, 2011

The U.S. Geological Survey is conducting a study that analyzes movements of 62 satellite-collared female polar bears over a 6-year period (2004-2009), providing a first description of swimming events within a population of polar bears. The results of the study have not yet been published, but  are already generating significant attention.

USGS science for a changing world logo
June 28, 2011

The Cook Inlet Region of Alaska contains an estimated mean of 19 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, about 600 million barrels of oil, and 46 million barrels of natural gas liquids, according to a new assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). This estimate is of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources, and includes both unconventional and conventional resources.

USGS science for a changing world logo
May 16, 2011

Marine biologists are gathering in Alaska this week to kick off a three-week expedition studying sea otters, as part of a joint U.S.-Canadian project to investigate the ecological health of the Pacific coastline.

The "Pacific Nearshore Project" is a multinational, multiagency project investigating sea otters as health indicators of coastal waters and marine resources from California nort

USGS science for a changing world logo
May 4, 2011

The U.S. Geological Survey assessment on the economic recoverability of undiscovered, conventional oil and gas resources within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) and adjacent state waters is now available online.

USGS
December 15, 2010

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Sea-ice habitats essential to polar bears would likely respond positively should more curbs be placed on global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new modeling study published today in the journal, Nature. 

USGS
November 17, 2010

Approximately 13 million metric tons of rare earth elements (REE) exist within known deposits in the United States, according to the first-ever nationwide estimate of these elements by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS
November 8, 2010

ANCHORAGE, Alaska ­– The highest rate of beak abnormalities ever recorded in wild bird populations is being seen in a number of species in the Northwest and Alaska, and scientists to this point have not been able to isolate the cause.

USGS
October 26, 2010

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates 896 million barrels of conventional, undiscovered oil and 53 trillion cubic feet of conventional, undiscovered non-associated gas within NPRA and adjacent state waters.

USGS
August 25, 2010

TACOMA, Wash. — Washington’s only “benchmark” glacier continues to lose mass as a result of changes in climate, according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS
August 25, 2010

Anchorage, Alaska — A secluded island in the Aleutian chain is revealing secrets of how land and marine ecosystems react to and recover from a catastrophic volcanic eruption that appeared at first glance to destroy all life on the island.

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.