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: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Alaska Streamflow Statistics

The USGS conducts various studies of streamflow statistics for data collected at streamflow-gaging stations. Streamflow statistics for gaged streams and methods for estimating those statistics for ungaged streams are used by water resource planners and managers for designing infrastructure, managing floodplains, and protecting life, property, and aquatic resources. The most recent USGS studies...

Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Arctic – Boreal Catchment Studies

Catchment hydrology focuses on the movement of water and solutes from landscapes to waterbodies. Our research addresses questions such as: Where is the stream water coming from? How long did it take to get here? What solutes, nutrients, and/or contaminants did the water pick up along the way? Because streams and lakes gather water and solutes, we can learn about the entire watershed by...

Contacts: Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Ylva Sjöberg
Date published: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Wolverine Glacier Ecosystem Studies

This project is an extension of the long-term Wolverine Glacier Benchmark Glacier project and is improving our understanding of solutes and nutrients in glacier basins, and how they fuel downstream ecosystems.

Contacts: Shad O'Neel, Ph.D., Louis Sass, III, Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Sara Sawicki, Jennifer Witter, Jason Geck
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 at the Fort Collins Science Center 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. ...

Date published: November 6, 2016
Status: Active

Seabirds at Sea

Helpful links for Seabirds at Sea

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

Fish growth rates and lake sulphate explain variation in mercury levels in ninespine stickleback (Pungitius pungitius) on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska

Mercury concentrations in freshwater food webs are governed by complex biogeochemical and ecological interactions that spatially vary and are often mediated by climate. The Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska (ACP) is a heterogeneous, lake-rich landscape where variability in mercury accumulation is poorly understood. Earlier research indicated that the...

Burke, Samantha M.; Zimmerman, Christian E.; Laske, Sarah M.; Koch, Joshua C.; Derry, Allison M.; Guernon, Stephanie; Branfireun, Brian A.; Swanson, Heidi K.

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Year Published: 2020

After-hatch and hatch year Buff-breasted Sandpipers (Calidris subruficollis) can be sexed accurately using morphometric measures

Determining the sex of birds quickly in the field can help in studies of behavior and distribution, and when selecting particular sexes for deploying tracking devices or collecting samples. However, discerning males from females is difficult in species that are plumage monomorphic and have overlapping sexual-size dimorphism, as in Buff-breasted...

Almeida, Juliana B.; Lopes, Iara F.; Oring, Lewis; Tibbitts, T. Lee; Pajot, Lisa M.; Lanctot, Richard B.

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Year Published: 2020

Mate fidelity improves survival and breeding propensity of a long‐lived bird

Evolutionary and behavioural ecologists have long been interested in factors shaping the variation in mating behaviour observed in nature. Although much of the research on this topic has focused on the consequences of mate choice and mate change on annual reproductive success, studies of a potential positive link between mate fidelity and adult...

Leach, Alan G.; Riecke, Thomas V.; Sedinger, James S.; Ward, David H.; Boyd, Sean

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Year Published: 2020

Mitochondrial genome diversity and population mitogenomics of Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) and Arctic dwelling gadoids

High-latitude fish typically exhibit a narrow thermal tolerance window, which may pose challenges when coping with temperatures that shift outside of a species’ range of tolerance. Due to its role in aerobic metabolism and energy balance, the mitochondrial genome is likely critical for the acclimation and adaptation to differing temperature...

Wilson, Robert E.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Sme, Noel; Gharrett, Anthony J.; Majewski, Andrew; Wedemeyer, Kate; Nelson, R. John; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2020

Sample-size considerations for a study of shorebird nest survival in the 1002 Area, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Authorization of lease sales for oil development in the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has highlighted gaps in information about biological communities in the area. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is planning a study to evaluate spatial variation in the nest survival of tundra-breeding shorebirds to identify hotspots...

Weiser, Emily L.
Weiser, E., 2020, Sample-size considerations for a study of shorebird nest survival in the 1002 Area, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1066, 18 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201066

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Year Published: 2020

Dietary fat concentrations influence fatty acid assimilation patterns in Atlantic pollock (Pollachius virens)

A key aspect in the use of fatty acids (FA) to estimate predator diets using Quantitative FA Signature Analysis (QFASA) is the ability to account for FA assimilation through the use of calibration coefficients (CC). Here, we tested the assumption that CC are independent of dietary fat concentrations by feeding Atlantic pollock (Pollachius virens)...

Budge, Suzanne M.; Townsend, Katherine; Lall, Santosh P; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.

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Year Published: 2020

Annual adult survival drives trends in Arctic-breeding shorebirds but knowledge gaps in other vital rates remain

Conservation status and management priorities are often informed by population trends. Trend estimates can be derived from population surveys or models, but both methods are associated with sources of uncertainty. Many Arctic-breeding shorebirds are thought to be declining based on migration and/or overwintering population surveys, but data are...

Weiser, Emily L.; Lanctot, Richard B.; Brown, Stephen C.; Gates, H. River; Bety, Joel; Boldenow, Megan L.; Brook, Rodney W.; Brown, Glen S.; English, Willow B.; Flemming, Scott A.; Franks, Samantha E.; Gilchrist, H. Grant; Giroux, Marie-Andree; Johnson, Andrew; Kendall, Steve; Kennedy, Lisa V.; Koloski, Laura; Kwon, Eunbi; Lamarre, Jean-Francois; Lank, David B.; Latty, Christopher J.; Lecomte, Nicolas; Liebezeit, Joseph R.; McGuire, Rebecca L; McKinnon, Laura; Nol, Erica; Payer, David C.; Perz, Johanna; Rausch, Jennie; Robards, Martin D.; Saalfeld, Sarah T.; Senner, Nathan R.; Smith, Paul A.; Soloviev, Mikhail; Solovyeva, Diana V; Ward, David H.; Woodard, Paul F.; Sandercock, Brett K.

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Year Published: 2020

Selected geologic maps of the Kodiak batholith and other Paleocene intrusive rocks, Kodiak Island, Alaska

Kodiak Island in southern Alaska is one of the premier examples globally for the study of forearc magmatism. This location contains two Paleocene intrusive belts that formed due to the subduction of a migrating spreading ridge and slab-window: the Kodiak batholith and the trenchward magmatic belt. These magmatic rocks are part of the Sanak-Baranof...

Farris, David W.; Haeussler, Peter J.
Farris, D.W., and Haeussler, P.J., 2020, Selected geologic maps of the Kodiak batholith and other Paleocene intrusive rocks, Kodiak Island, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3441, pamphlet 10 p., scale 1:50,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3441.

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Year Published: 2020

Geochronologic and Hf-isotope framework of Proterozoic rocks from central New Mexico, USA: Formation of the Mazatzal crustal province in an extended continental margin arc

The growth of southern Laurentia has been attributed to the accretion of juvenile arc terranes during the successive 1.74-1.68 Ga Yavapai and 1.65-1.60 Ga Mazatzal orogenies. However, in light of the increasing importance of the ca. 1.49-1.40 Ga Mesoproterozoic Picuris orogeny, the tectonic setting in which the Mazatzal crustal province and its...

Holland, Mark E.; Grambling, Tyler A.; Karlstrom, Karl E.; Jones, James V.; Nagotko, Kimberly N.; Daniel, Christopher G.

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Year Published: 2020

Submarine landslide kinematics derived from high-resolution imaging in Port Valdez, Alaska

Submarine landslides caused by strong ground shaking during the M9.2 1964 Great Alaska earthquake generated a tsunami that destroyed much of the old town of Valdez, Alaska, and was responsible for 32 deaths at that location. We explore structural details of the 1964 landslide deposit, as well as landslide deposits from earlier events, in order to...

Roland, Emily; Haeussler, Peter; Parsons, Thomas E.; Hart, Patrick E.

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Year Published: 2020

Observations on the structure of Surtsey

Comparison of investigations of the 1979 and 2017 cored boreholes coupled with continued observations of the dynamic surface of Surtsey has modified our concepts of the subsurface structure of the volcano. A geometrical analysis of the 2017 vertical and inclined cores indicates that near-surface layering dips westerly, indicating that the...

Moore, James G.; Jackson, Marie D.

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Year Published: 2020

Source model for Sabancaya volcano constrained by DInSAR and GNSS surface deformation observation

Sabancaya is the most active volcano of the Ampato-Sabancaya Volcanic Complex (ASVC) in southern Perú and has been erupting since 2016. The analysis of ascending and descending Sentinel-1 orbits (DInSAR) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) datasets from 2014 to 2019 imaged a radially symmetric inflating area, uplifting at a rate of 35 to...

Boixart, Gregorio; Cruz, Luis; Miranda, Rafael; Euillades, Pablo; Euillades, Leonardo; Battaglia, Maurizio

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
Sampling a stream in the mist in the Akilik River drainage
August 31, 2017

Sampling a stream from the Akilik River drainage

Sampling a stream from the Akilik River drainage 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.

Scientist walking up the Akilik River with a minnow trap to catch fish
August 31, 2017

Akilik River stream sampling

Hiking up a stream from the Akilik River drainage to set minnow traps for fish sampling. This is a stream type at the Boreal-Arctic transition of the Brooks Range, Noatak National Park and Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park.

A small arctic grayling near the bottom of the Imelyak River
August 31, 2017

Small arctic grayling in the Imelyak River, Brooks Range

Small arctic grayling hugging the bottom in the Imelyak River in the Brooks Range. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain
August 30, 2017

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain

A field of peatland surrounded by spruce and other understory plants in Alaska. Mountains can be seen in the background.
August 30, 2017

Thawing Peatlands, Alaska

Cores were collected from various areas of thawing permafrost-peatlands in Alaska. Permafrost thaw results in ground subsidence and inundation that kills black spruce and other understory plants living on the permafrost plateau. 

Glacier Creek sonar on a bridge
August 29, 2017

Glacier Creek sonar on a bridge

Glacier Creek sonar

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 255
USGS science for a changing world logo
October 25, 2011

Thawing permafrost in the Yukon River watershed may be a source of naturally occurring mercury being conveyed by rivers into the environment, according to USGS research scientists.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 13, 2011

Dr. David Shelly, a research seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, was named one of President Obama's recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 7, 2011

Stephen Gray has been selected as the center director of the Department of the Interior’s Alaska Climate Science Center, located at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, in Anchorage.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 13, 2011

Personal interviews with Alaska Natives in the Yukon River Basin provide unique insights on climate change and its impacts, helping develop adaptation strategies for these local communities.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 13, 2011

The USGS Alaska Science Center has released new high-resolution video of Pacific walruses hauling out near Point Lay, Alaska, in late August, 2011. 

Also available on the USGS Alaska Science Center walrus website are animations of the walruses’ movements as tracked by radio transmitters, and FAQs on the ongoing walrus studies.

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. 

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.