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

PeRL: A circum-Arctic Permafrost Region Pond and Lake database

Ponds and lakes are abundant in Arctic permafrost lowlands. They play an important role in Arctic wetland ecosystems by regulating carbon, water, and energy fluxes and providing freshwater habitats. However, ponds, i.e., waterbodies with surface areas smaller than 1. 0 × 104 m2, have not been inventoried on global and regional scales. The...

Muster, Sina; Roth, Kurt; Langer, Moritz; Lange, Stephan; Cresto Aleina, Fabio; Bartsch, Annett; Morgenstern, Anne; Grosse, Guido; Jones, Benjamin M.; Sannel, A.B.K.; Sjoberg, Ylva; Gunther, Frank; Andresen, Christian; Veremeeva, Alexandra; Lindgren, Prajna R.; Bouchard, Frédéric; Lara, Mark J.; Fortier, Daniel; Charbonneau, Simon; Virtanen, Tarmo A.; Hugelius, Gustaf; Palmtag, J.; Siewert, Matthias B.; Riley, William J.; Koven, Charles; Boike, Julia

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Year Published: 2017

Puffins reveal contrasting relationships between forage fish and ocean climate in the North Pacific

Long-term studies of predator food habits (i.e., ‘predator-based sampling’) are useful for identifying patterns of spatial and temporal variability of forage nekton in marine ecosystems. We investigated temporal changes in forage fish availability and relationships to ocean climate by analyzing diet composition of three puffin species (horned...

Sydeman, William J.; Piatt, John F.; Thompson, Sarah Ann; Garcia-Reyes, Marisol; Hatch, Scott A.; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Slater, Leslie; Williams, Jeffrey C.; Rojek, Nora A.; Zador, Stephani G.; Renner, Heather M.
Sydeman, W.J., J.F. Piatt, S.A. Thompson, M. Garcia-Reyes, S. Hatch, M.L. Arimitsu, L. Slater, J. Williams, N. Rojek, S.G. Zador, and H. Renner. 2017. Puffins reveal contrasting relationships between forage fish and ocean climate in the North Pacific. Fisheries Oceanography 26:4, 379-395. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/fog.12204

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Year Published: 2017

Landsat-based trend analysis of lake dynamics across northern permafrost regions

Lakes are a ubiquitous landscape feature in northern permafrost regions. They have a strong impact on carbon, energy and water fluxes and can be quite responsive to climate change. The monitoring of lake change in northern high latitudes, at a sufficiently accurate spatial and temporal resolution, is crucial for understanding the underlying...

Nitze, Ingmar; Grosse, Guido; Jones, Benjamin M.; Arp, Christopher D.; Ulrich, Mathias; Federov, Alexander; Veremeeva, Alexandra

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Year Published: 2017

Younger-Dryas cooling and sea-ice feedbacks were prominent features of the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in Arctic Alaska

Declining sea-ice extent is currently amplifying climate warming in the Arctic. Instrumental records at high latitudes are too short-term to provide sufficient historical context for these trends, so paleoclimate archives are needed to better understand the functioning of the sea ice-albedo feedback. Here we use the oxygen isotope values of wood...

Gaglioti, Benjamin V.; Mann, Daniel H.; Wooller, Matthew J.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Wiles, Gregory C.; Groves, Pamela; Kunz, Michael L.; Baughman, Carson; Reanier, Richard E.

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Year Published: 2017

A genetic signature of the evolution of loss of flight in the Galapagos cormorant

INTRODUCTIONChanges in the size and proportion of limbs and other structures have played a key role in the evolution of species. One common class of limb modification is recurrent wing reduction and loss of flight in birds. Indeed, Darwin used the occurrence of flightless birds as an argument in favor of his theory of natural selection. Loss of...

Burga, Alejandro; Wang, Weiguang; Ben-David, Eyal; Wolf, Paul C.; Ramey, Andrew M.; Verdugo, Claudio; Lyons, Karen; Parker, Patricia G.; Kruglyak, Leonid
Alejandro Burga, Weiguang Wang, Eyal Ben-David, Paul C. Wolf, Andrew M. Ramey, Claudio Verdugo, Karen Lyons, Patricia G. Parker, Leonid Kruglyak. 2017. A genetic signature of the evolution of loss of flight in the Galapagos cormorant. Science Vol. 356, Issue 6341, DOI: 10.1126/science.aal3345

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Year Published: 2017

Migration trends of Sockeye Salmon at the northern edge of their distribution

Climate change is affecting arctic and subarctic ecosystems, and anadromous fish such as Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. are particularly susceptible due to the physiological challenge of spawning migrations. Predicting how migratory timing will change under Arctic warming scenarios requires an understanding of how environmental factors drive...

Carey, Michael P.; Zimmerman, Christian E.; Keith, Kevin D.; Schelske, Merlyn; Lean, Charles; Douglas, David C.
Carey, M.P., C.E. Zimmerman, K.D. Keith, M. Schelske, C. Lean, D.C. Douglas. 2017. Migration trends of Sockeye Salmon at the northern edge of their distribution. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 146:791-802.

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Year Published: 2017

Duckling survival of mallards in Southland, New Zealand

The southern portion of New Zealand's South Island is a productive area for mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) despite a notable lack of permanent or semi-permanent wetlands. Most broods are reared in pastures that may or may not be flooded with ephemeral water. In recent years, there has been an increased conversion from continuous to sporadic grazing...

Garrick, Erin; Amundson, Courtney L.; Seddon, Phillip J.

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Year Published: 2017

Seasonal and spatial variabilities in northern Gulf of Alaska surface water iron concentrations driven by shelf sediment resuspension, glacial meltwater, a Yakutat eddy, and dust

Phytoplankton growth in the Gulf of Alaska (GoA) is limited by iron (Fe), yet Fe sources are poorly constrained. We examine the temporal and spatial distributions of Fe, and its sources in the GoA, based on data from three cruises carried out in 2010 from the Copper River (AK) mouth to beyond the shelf break. April data are the first to describe...

Crusius, John; Schroth, Andrew W.; Resing, Joseph A.; Cullen, Jay; Campbell, Robert W.
Crusius, J., A. W. Schroth, J. A. Resing, J. Cullen, and R. W. Campbell (2017), Seasonal and spatial variabilities in northern Gulf of Alaska surface water iron concentrations driven by shelf sediment resuspension, glacial meltwater, a Yakutat eddy, and dust, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 31, doi:10.1002/2016GB005493.

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Year Published: 2017

Ecological change drives a decline in mercury concentrations in southern Beaufort Sea polar bears

We evaluated total mercury (THg) concentrations and trends in polar bears from the southern Beaufort Sea subpopulation from 2004 to 2011. Hair THg concentrations ranged widely among individuals from 0.6 to 13.3 μg g–1 dry weight (mean: 3.5 ± 0.2 μg g–1). Concentrations differed among sex and age classes: solitary adult females ≈ adult females...

McKinney, Melissa A.; Atwood, Todd C.; Pedro, Sara; Peacock, Elizabeth L.
McKinney, M.A., Atwood, T.C., Pedro, S., and Peacock, E., 2017, Ecological Change Drives a Decline in Mercury Concentrations in Southern Beaufort Sea Polar Bears: Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 51, no. 14, p. 7814-7822. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b00812

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Year Published: 2017

Seasonal movements of the Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) in western North America as revealed by satellite telemetry

The Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) is a widespread raptor whose abundance and distribution fluctuates in response to the varying amplitudes of its prey, which are predominately microtines. Previous efforts to describe the seasonal movements of Short-eared Owls have been hindered by few band recoveries and the species' cryptic and irruptive...

Johnson, James A.; Booms, Travis L.; DeCicco, Lucas H.; Douglas, David C.
Johnson, J.A., Booms, T.L., DeCicco, L.H., and Douglas, D.C., 2017, Seasonal movements of the Short-Eared Owl (Asio flammeus) in Western North America as revealed by satellite telemetry: Journal of Raptor Research, vol. 51, no. 2, p. 115-128. doi: 10.3356/JRR-15-81.1

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Year Published: 2017

Uncertainties in forecasting the response of polar bears to global climate change

Several sources of uncertainty affect how precisely the future status of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) can be forecasted. Foremost are unknowns about the future levels of global greenhouse gas emissions, which could range from an unabated increase to an aggressively mitigated reduction. Uncertainties also arise because different climate models...

Butterworth, Andy; Douglas, David C.; Atwood, Todd C.
Douglas, D.C. and Atwood, T.C., 2017, Uncertainties in forecasting the response of polar bears to global climate change: pp 463-473 in Marine Mammal Welfare: Human Induced Change in the Marine Environment and its Impacts on Marine Mammal Welfare, A. Butterworth (ed.). Springer, Cham, Switzerland. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-46994-2_25

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Year Published: 2017

Sculpted by water, elevated by earthquakes—The coastal landscape of Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Within Glacier Bay National Park in southeastern Alaska, the Fairweather Fault represents the onshore boundary between two of Earth’s constantly moving tectonic plates: the North American Plate and the Yakutat microplate. Satellite measurements indicate that during the past few decades the Yakutat microplate has moved northwest at a rate of nearly...

Witter, Robert C.; LeWinter, Adam; Bender, Adrian M.; Glennie, Craig; Finnegan, David
Witter, R.C., LeWinter, A., Bender, A., Glennie, C., and Finnegan, D., 2017, Sculpted by water, elevated by earthquakes—The coastal landscape of Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 177, https://doi.org/10.3133/gip177.

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
Image shows a woman sitting on a rock in a stream
December 31, 2015

Panning for Rare Earths

A contracted field assistant pans for monazite and rare earth minerals in Wolf Creek, which cuts through the Melozitna granite. This area is part of the Bureau of Land Management's Central Yukon Planning Area, which USGS did a mineral assessment of in 2015.

Emperor geese at the shoreline in Kodiak
December 15, 2015

Emperor geese at the shoreline in Kodiak

Emperor geese at the shoreline in Kodiak.

greatly magnified image of volcanic ash
November 13, 2015

Scanning Electron Microscope image of volcanic ash

Scanning Electron Microscope image of resuspended volcanic ash from the 1912 Novarupta-Katmai deposits in the Katmai region, picked up during high winds on November 1, 2015 and carried to Larsen Bay on Kodiak Island, AK. Sample collected by Sherry Harmes of Larsen Bay.

A Red-breasted Nuthatch
October 9, 2015

A Red-breasted Nuthatch captured at an Anchorage banding station

A Red-breasted Nuthatch captured at an Anchorage banding station

Female and cub polar bear on land near Kaktovik, Alaska
September 12, 2015

Female and cub polar bear on land near Kaktovik, Alaska

Female and cub polar bear on land near Kaktovik, Alaska

Image: Repairing Seismic Stations in Alaska
September 9, 2015

Repairing Seismic Stations in Alaska

USGS\AVO seismologist works to replace an old seismometer at seismic station LSSA on Little Sitkin Volcano in the western Aleutian Arc.

Image: Repairing Seismic Stations in Alaska
September 9, 2015

Repairing Seismic Stations in Alaska

AVO seismologists work to repair a seismic station on Little Sitkin Volcano in the western Aleutians Islands.

Earth MRI - Yukon Tanana Uplands Alaska
September 8, 2015

Earth MRI - Yukon Tanana Uplands Alaska

Earth MRI - Yukon Tanana Uplands Alaska

A minnow trap underwater with Dolly Varden inside
August 31, 2015

Dolly Varden in a minnow trap in the Agashashok River drainage

Dolly Varden in a minnow trap in the Agashashok River drainage. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

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.