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 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
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Year Published: 2017

Small mammals as indicators of climate, biodiversity, and ecosystem change

Climate is a driving evolutionary force for biodiversity in high-latitude Alaska. This region is complex and dynamic with high annual variation in temperature and light. Through deeper time, Alaska has experienced major climate extremes over much longer periodicity. For example, the Quaternary Period (the last ~2.5 million years), commonly known...

Hope, Andrew G.; Waltari, Eric; Morse, Nathan R.; Flamme, M.J.; Cook, Joseph A.; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2017

Combined analysis of roadside and off-road breeding bird survey data to assess population change in Alaska

Management interest in North American birds has increasingly focused on species that breed in Alaska, USA, and Canada, where habitats are changing rapidly in response to climatic and anthropogenic factors. We used a series of hierarchical models to estimate rates of population change in 2 forested Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) in Alaska based...

Handel, Colleen M.; Sauer, John R.
Handel, C.M., Sauer, J.R., 2017, Combined analysis of roadside and off-road breeding bird survey data to assess population change in Alaska. Condor 119(3):557-575.

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Year Published: 2017

New constraints on coseismic slip during southern Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes over the past 4600 years implied by tsunami deposits and marine turbidites

Forecasting earthquake and tsunami hazards along the southern Cascadia subduction zone is complicated by uncertainties in the amount of megathrust fault slip during past ruptures. Here, we estimate slip on hypothetical ruptures of the southern part of the megathrust through comparisons of late Holocene Cascadia earthquake histories derived from...

Priest, George R.; Witter, Robert C.; Zhang, Yinglong J.; Goldfinger, Chris; Wang, Kelin; Allan, Jonathan C.
Priest, G.R., Witter, R.C., Zhang, Y.J., Goldfinger, C., Wang, K., and Allan, J.C., 2017, New constraints on coseismic slip during southern Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes over the past 4,600 years implied by tsunami deposits and marine turbidites: Natural Hazards, doi:10.1007/s11069-017-2864-9

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Year Published: 2017

Detect and exploit hidden structure in fatty acid signature data

Estimates of predator diet composition are essential to our understanding of their ecology. Although several methods of estimating diet are practiced, methods based on biomarkers have become increasingly common. Quantitative fatty acid signature analysis (QFASA) is a popular method that continues to be refined and extended. Quantitative fatty acid...

Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.; Budge, Suzanne M.; Thiemann, Gregory W.
Bromaghin, J. F., S. M. Budge, and G. W. Thiemann. 2017. Detect and exploit hidden structure in fatty acid signature data. Ecosphere 8(7):e01896. 10.1002/ecs2.1896

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Year Published: 2017

Hydrologic impacts of changes in climate and glacier extent in the Gulf of Alaska watershed

High‐resolution regional‐scale hydrologic models were used to quantify the response of late 21st century runoff from the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) watershed to changes in regional climate and glacier extent. NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis data were combined with five Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 general circulation models (...

Beamer, Jordan; Hill, Dave; Mcgrath, Daniel; Arendt, Anthony A.; Kienholz, Christian

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Year Published: 2017

Tracer-based evidence of heterogeneity in subsurface flow and storage within a boreal hillslope

Runoff from boreal hillslopes is often affected by distinct soil boundaries, including the frozen boundary and the organic – mineral boundary (OMB), where highly porous and hydraulically-conductive organic material overlies fine-grained mineral soils. Viewed from the surface, ground cover appears as a patchwork on sub-meter scales, with thick,...

Koch, Joshua C.; Toohey, Ryan C.; Reeves, D.M.

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Year Published: 2017

Increased Arctic sea ice drift alters adult female polar bear movements and energetics

Recent reductions in thickness and extent have increased drift rates of Arctic sea ice. Increased ice drift could significantly affect the movements and the energy balance of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) which forage, nearly exclusively, on this substrate. We used radio-tracking and ice drift data to quantify the influence of increased drift on...

Durner, George M.; Douglas, David C.; Albeke, Shannon; Whiteman, John P.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Richardson, Evan; Wilson, Ryan R.; Ben-David, Merav
Durner GM, Douglas DC, Albeke SE, et al. Increased Arctic sea ice drift alters adult female polar bear movements and energetics. Glob Change Biol. 2017; 00: 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13746

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Year Published: 2017

Autonomous acoustic recorders reveal complex patterns in avian detection probability

Avian point‐count surveys are typically designed to occur during periods when birds are consistently active and singing, but seasonal and diurnal patterns of detection probability are often not well understood and may vary regionally or between years. We deployed autonomous acoustic recorders to assess how avian availability for detection (i.e.,...

Thompson, Sarah J.; Handel, Colleen M.; McNew, Lance B.
Thompson, S. J., C. M. Handel, and L. B. McNew. 2017. Autonomous acoustic recorders reveal complex patterns in avian detection probability. Journal of Wildlife Management 81(7):1228-1241. doi:10.1002/jwmg.21285

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Year Published: 2017

Decadal declines in avian herbivore reproduction: density-dependent nutrition and phenological mismatch in the Arctic

A full understanding of population dynamics depends not only on estimation of mechanistic contributions of recruitment and survival, but also knowledge about the ecological processes that drive each of these vital rates. The process of recruitment in particular may be protracted over several years, and can depend on numerous ecological...

Ross, Megan V.; Alisaukas, Ray T.; Douglas, David C.; Kellett, Dana K.
Ross, M.V., Alisauskas, R.T., Douglas, D.C., and Kellett, D.K. 2017. Decadal declines in avian herbivore reproduction: density-dependent nutrition and phenological mismatch in the arctic: Ecology. vol. no. p. doi: 10.1002/ecy.1856

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Year Published: 2017

Genetic assessment of the effects of streamscape succession on coho salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch colonization in recently deglaciated streams

Measures of genetic diversity within and among populations and historical geomorphological data on stream landscapes were used in model simulations based on approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) to examine hypotheses of the relative importance of stream features (geomorphology and age) associated with colonization events and gene flow for coho...

Scribner, Kim T.; Soiseth, Chad; McGuire, Jeffrey J.; Sage, G. Kevin; Thorsteinson, Lyman K.; Nielsen, J. L.; Knudsen, E.
Scribner, K. T., C. Soiseth, J. J. McGuire, G. K. Sage, L. K. Thorsteinson, J. L. Nielsen, and E. E. Knudsen. 2017. Genetic assessment of the effects of streamscape succession on coho salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch colonization in recently deglaciated streams. Journal of Fish Biology 91(1):195-218. doi:10.1111/jfb.13337

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Year Published: 2017

Glacierized headwater streams as aquifer recharge corridors, subarctic Alaska

Arctic river discharge has increased in recent decades although sources and mechanisms remain debated. Abundant literature documents permafrost thaw and mountain glacier shrinkage over the past decades. Here we link glacier runoff to aquifer recharge via a losing headwater stream in subarctic Interior Alaska. Field measurements in Jarvis Creek (...

Lilledahl, Anna K.; Gadeke, Anne; O'Neel, Shad; Gatesman, T. A.; Douglas, T. A.
Liljedahl, A. K., A. Gädeke, S. O'Neel, T. A. Gatesman, and T. A. Douglas (2017), Glacierized headwater streams as aquifer recharge corridors, subarctic Alaska, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 6876–6885, doi:10.1002/2017GL073834.

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Year Published: 2017

Morphological and molecular characterization of Sarcocystis arctica-like sarcocysts from the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) from Alaska, USA

The muscles of herbivores commonly harbor sarcocysts of parasites belonging to species in the genus Sarcocystis, but such muscle parasites are rare in carnivores. Here, we report Sarcocystis arctica-like sarcocysts in muscles of Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from Alaska, USA, for the first time. The tongues of 56 foxes were examined...

Cerqueira-Cézar, Camila K.; Thompson, Peter C.; Verma, Shiv K.; Mowery, Joseph; Calero-Bernal, Rafael; Antunes Murata, Fernando H.; Sinnett, David R.; Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Rosenthal, Benjamin M.; Dubey, Jitender P.
Cerqueira-Cézar, C. K., P. C. Thompson, S. Kumar Verma, J. Mowery, R. Calero-Bernal, F. H. Antunes Murata, D. R. Sinnett, C. R. Van Hemert, B. M. Rosenthal, and J. P. Dubey. 2017. Morphological and molecular characterization of Sarcocystis arctica-like sarcocysts from the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) from Alaska, USA. Parasitology Research 116(7):1871-1878. doi:10.1007/s00436-017-5462-6

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
Clams half buried in very fine, gray sediment.
December 31, 2015

Calyptogena spp. in Alaska

These clams (Calyptogena spp.) were discovered in about 1000 meter-deep waters off the southern tip of Alaska near a 250-meter-high cone rising from the seafloor and 10 kilometers from the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault. Evidence of fluid venting from the cone includes these clams, which live on nutrients produced by chemosynthetic bacteria that use components

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Map illustration showing fault lines and direction of tectonic plate movement along a stretch of the Alaskan coastline.
December 31, 2015

Study region along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault

Study region along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault offshore southeastern Alaska. Rectangles show locations of the two USGS-led marine geophysical surveys in May and August 2015. The third cruise was offshore Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, and southern Alaska in September 2015 (

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Map illustration showing bathymetry, or depth, and a fault offshore of the Alaskan coastline.
December 31, 2015

Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault

Enlarged details of Survey Area 1 showing new multibeam bathymetry data (rainbow colors) acquired on R/V Solstice near Cross Sound and Glacier Bay National Park, southeastern Alaska. Arrows highlight the surface expression, or trace, of the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault. Rectangle shows area of

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Illustrated map shows the seafloor off of Alaska, a fault runs through the middle and seafloor features are clearly offset.
December 31, 2015

Yakobi Sea Valley

Enlarged from previous figure, this map shows a string of basins along the fault and offset of the south wall of the Yakobi Sea Valley. Line A–B marks the location of multichannel seismic-reflection profile.

See location maps for this site, and the seismic profile

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Cross-section illustration showing structure beneath the seafloor with mostly horizontal lines but one clear offset section wher
December 31, 2015

Multichannel seismic-reflection profile

Multichannel seismic-reflection profile showing sediment layers beneath the seafloor disrupted by the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault near Cross Sound. The profile is approximately 16 kilometers across, and it extends approximately 370 meters beneath the seafloor.

For reference, see location maps:

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USGS biologist Gretchen Roffler weighs a newborn caribou calf in Denali National Park, Alaska
December 31, 2015

USGS biologist weighs a newborn caribou calf in Alaska

USGS biologist Gretchen Roffler weighs a newborn caribou calf in Denali National Park, Alaska.

USGS scientist Layne Adams places a radiocollar on a sedated large bull caribou in Denali National Park, Alaska
December 31, 2015

USGS scientist places radiocollar on a sedated bull caribou in Alaska

USGS scientist Layne Adams places a radiocollar on a sedated large bull caribou in Denali National Park, Alaska. 

Computer application screen showing seafloor features, depth on left, a volcano-like cone sticking up in middle with plume.
December 31, 2015

Sidescan sonar record off so. Alaska

Profile of newly discovered volcano-like cone in sonar record collected off southern Alaska. The cone’s summit is at about 1,000 meters water depth. Note fluid plume (blue) rising more than 700 meters upward from the summit.

USGS scientist leaning against a rock outcropping with trees in the background
December 31, 2015

Shearing of the Melozitna Granite

Geologist and cataclastic shear zones in the Melozitna granite in the Ruby batholith. This granite contains abundant monazite and high levels of thorium and rare earth elements. The shear zones accelerate erosion of the granite into streams, where the monazite that contains the rare earth elements can be concentrated. This area is part of the Bureau of Land Management's

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