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: 180
Arctic glacier
Date Published: November 6, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Glaciers and Climate

Scientists with the USGS Glaciers and Climate Project study the process and impacts of glacier change, including sea-level rise, water resources, environmental hazards and ecosystem links. At the core of this research are mass balance measurements at five glaciers in the United States. These glaciers have been studied since the 1960s, to help us understand how glaciers respond to changes in...

Researchers deploying gravity corer off boat in Chukchi Sea.
Date Published: October 31, 2018
Status: Active

Land-Sea Linkages in the Arctic

The Arctic is undergoing historically unprecedented changes in weather, sea ice, temperature and ecosystems.  These changes have led to greater coastal erosion, greater export of freshwater, and changes to marine and terrestrial ecosystems, habitats, and productivity, among other trends. Meanwhile, many believe the Arctic “amplifies” large climate changes during both warm periods and ice ages...

A scenic of a Aleutian island with fireweed in full bloom
Date Published: October 22, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Science Center Seminar Series

The USGS Alaska Science Center has a monthly seminar series that runs from October through May.  This series highlights the multiple research programs that are taking place across all disciplines at the center.

Contacts: Yvette Gillies
Lingering oil in the sediments of Knight Island
Date Published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Genomic Mechanisms that Underlie Lack of Recovery of Prince William Sound Herring Following the 1990s Collapse

In the decades following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS), it has become increasingly apparent that oil can be toxic at extremely low concentrations to developing fish embryos including herring, where some toxic phenotypes may be apparent during embryogenesis, but some are delayed until later in life. Therefore, acute and lingering oil may act as an insidious selective force within...

Contacts: Paul Hershberger, Ph.D., Jacob Gregg, Ashley MacKenzie, William Richards, Andrew Whitehead, John Incardona, Nat Scholtz
Oil Tanker in Prince William Sound
Date Published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Herring Disease Program

Using an approach that involves a combination of field- and laboratory-based studies, we are investigating fish health factors that may be contributing to the failed recovery of Pacific herring populations in Prince William Sound, AK.  Field studies are providing infection and disease prevalence data to inform the population models, serological data that indicate the prior exposure history and...

Map of Alaska with red lines
Date Published: October 9, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Seismic Hazard Map

The National Seismic Hazard Maps developed by the USGS show the spatial probability of peak earthquake-driven ground motion levels. Since the last revisions to the map for Alaska in 2007, scientists have made significant advances in understanding active faulting, fault slip rates, and fault behavior.

Image: Geologic Studies on Sitkinak Island, Alaska
Date Published: October 9, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska-Aleutian Subduction Zone Studies

Our research team is exploring seismic and aseismic slip along the Alaska-Aleutian arc and studying the prehistoric record of megathrust earthquakes and tsunamis along the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone

Seismic and Aseismic Slip: Tectonic tremor and associated slow slip events represent a newly discovered part of the earthquake cycle. This research aims to...

Fault offset along the Queen Charlotte Fault
Date Published: October 9, 2018
Status: Active

Characterizing the Active Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault System

This research aims to better characterize the earthquake potential of the southern Fairweather Fault in order to provide more accurate fault source data for the USGS National Seismic Hazard Map. Our approach interrogates lidar data and satellite imagery, applies paleoseismological methods to examine earthquake history, and leverages partnerships with USGS scientists from Colorado and...

Small bird in a hand
Date Published: September 22, 2018
Status: Active

Monitoring and Research Boreal Partners in Flight Projects

Boreal Partners in Flight has five major regional projects designed to monitor broad-scale trends in populations of landbirds. There are also many projects throughout Alaska that address specific research questions or local monitoring needs.

Alaska Landbird Monitoring Survey emblem
Date Published: September 21, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Landbird Monitoring Survey

Alaska provides breeding habitats for 135 species of landbirds, half of which breed predominantly north of the U.S.-Canada border. The road-based North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) provides some data on population trends in Alaska but most northern species are inadequately monitored because of a paucity of roads. Boreal Partners in Flight thus developed the Alaska Landbird Monitoring...

Small yellow bird on a bush
Date Published: September 18, 2018
Status: Active

Festivals Celebrating Birds in Alaska

Here are a few festivals celebrating birds around the state of Alaska.

Small bird in a bush
Date Published: September 17, 2018
Status: Active

Meeting and Project Summaries for Boreal Partners in Flight

Information on topics discussed by Boreal Partners in Flight (BPIF) working groups organized by year.

Filter Total Items: 2,372
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Year Published: 2019

1200 years of Upper Missouri River streamflow reconstructed from tree rings

Paleohydrologic records can provide unique, long-term perspectives on streamflow variability and hydroclimate for use in water resource planning. Such long-term records can also play a key role in placing both present day events and projected future conditions into a broader context than that offered by instrumental observations. However,...

Martin, Justin; Pederson, Gregory T.; Woodhouse, Connie A.; Cook, Edward R; McCabe, Gregory J.; Wise, Erika K.; Erger, Patrick; Dolan, Larry; McGuire, Marketa; Gangopadhyay, Subhrendu; Chase, Katherine J.; Littell, Jeremy S.; Gray, Stephen; St. George, Scott; Friedman, Jonathan M.; Sauchyn, David J.; St. Jacques, Jannine; King, John W.

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Year Published: 2019

Surface water connectivity controls fish food web structure and complexity across local- and meta-food webs in Arctic Coastal Plain lakes

The need for theories that address food web assembly and complexity over multiple spatial scales are critical to understanding their stability and persistence. In a meta-food web – an integrated network of local food webs – spatial heterogeneity in physical processes may have profound effects on food web function and energy flow. In the Arctic,...

Laske, Sarah M.; Rosenberger, Amanda E.; Wipfli, Mark S.; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2019

A ship's ballasting history as an indicator of foraminiferal invasion potential--An example from Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA

We investigated the potential role of ballast sediment from coastal and transoceanic oil tankers arriving and de-ballasting in Port Valdez as a vector for the introduction of invasive benthic foraminifera in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Forty-one ballast sediment samples were obtained in 1998-1999 from 11 oil tankers that routinely discharged...

McGann, Mary; Ruiz, Gregory M.; Hines, Anson H.; Smith, George D.

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Year Published: 2019

User guide to the FireCLIME Vulnerability Assessment (VA) Tool: A rapid and flexible system for assessing ecosystem vulnerability to climate-fire interactions

Decisionmakers need better methods for identifying critical ecosystem vulnerabilities to changing climate and fire regimes. Climate-wildfire-vegetation interactions are complex and hinder classification and projection necessary for development of management strategies. One such vulnerability assessment (VA) is FireCLIME VA, which allows users to...

Friggens, Megan; Loehman, Rachel A.; Thode, Andi; Flatley, William T.; Evans, Alexander; Bunn, Windy; Wilcox, Craig; Mueller, Stephanie; Yocum, Larissa; Falk, Donald A.
Friggens, M.; Loehman, R.; Thode, A.; Flatley, W.; Evans, A.; Bunn, W.; Wilcox, C.; Mueller, S.; Yocom, L.; Falk, D. 2019. User guide to the FireCLIME Vulnerability Assessment (VA) tool: A rapid and flexible system for assessing ecosystem vulnerability to climate-fire interactions. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-395. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 42 p.

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Year Published: 2019

Annual winter site fidelity of Barrow's goldeneyes in the Pacific

Coastal regions on the Pacific north coast of North America provide important wintering habitat for many species of sea ducks. Although winter range and habitat preferences are well described for most species, fidelity to coastal wintering sites is generally undocumented. Fidelity is an important factor necessary for understanding interactions...

Willie, Megan; Esler, Daniel N.; Boyd, W. Sean; Bowman, Timothy D.; Schamber, Jason; Thompson, Jonathan

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Year Published: 2019

The 30 November 2018 Mw7.1 Anchorage Earthquake

The Mw">Mw 7.1 47 km deep earthquake that occurred on 30 November 2018 had deep societal impacts across southcentral Alaska and exhibited phenomena of broad scientific interest. We document observations that point to future directions of research and hazard mitigation. The rupture mechanism, aftershocks, and deformation of the...

West, Michael E.; Bender, Adrian; Gardine, Matthew; Gardine, Lea; Gately, Kara; Haeussler, Peter; Hassan, Wael; Meyer, Franz; Richards, Cole; Ruppert, Natalia; Tape, Carl; Thornley, John; Witter, Robert

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Year Published: 2019

Physiological and gene transcription assays to assess responses of mussels to environmental changes

Coastal regions worldwide face increasing management concerns due to natural and anthropogenic forces that have the potential to significantly degrade nearshore marine resources. The goal of our study was to develop and test a monitoring strategy for nearshore marine ecosystems in remote areas that are not readily accessible for sampling. Mussel...

Counihan, Katrina; Bowen, Lizabeth; Ballachey, Brenda; Coletti, Heather A.; Hollman, Tuula; Pister, Benjamin; Wilson, Tammy L

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Year Published: 2019

Effects of ocean climate on the length and condition of forage fish in the Gulf of Alaska

Climatic drivers of the size and body condition of forage fish in the North Pacific are poorly known. We hypothesized that length and condition of forage fish in the Gulf of Alaska (GoA) should vary in relation to ocean temperature on multiple scales. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed morphometric data for capelin (Mallotus catervarius) and...

Sarah Ann Thompson; Marisol Garcia-Reyes; William Sydeman; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Scott Hatch; Piatt, John F.

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Year Published: 2019

Circumpolar patterns of Arctic freshwater fish biodiversity: A baseline for monitoring

1. Climate change, biological invasions, and anthropogenic disturbance pose a threat to the biodiversity and function of Arctic freshwater ecosystems. Understanding potential changes in fish species distribution and richness is necessary, given the great importance of fish to the function of freshwater ecosystems and as a resource to humans....

Laske, Sarah M.; Amundsen, Per-Arne; Christoffersen, Kirsten; Erkinaro, Jaakko; Guðbergsson, Guðni; Hayden, Brian; Heino, Jani; Holmgren, Kerstin; Kahilainen, Kimmo K.; Lento, Jennifer; Orell, Panu; Östergren, Johan; Power, Michael; Rafikov, Ruslan; Romakkaniemi, Atso; Svenning, Martin-A.; Swanson, Heidi K.; Whitman, Matthew; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2019

Reanalysis of the U.S. Geological Survey Benchmark Glaciers: Long-term insight into climate forcing of glacier mass balance

Mountain glaciers integrate climate processes to provide an unmatched signal of regional climate forcing. However, extracting the climate signal via intercomparison of regional glacier mass balance records can be problematic when methods for extrapolating and calibrating direct glaciological measurements are mixed or inconsistent. To address this...

O'Neel, Shad; McNeil, Christopher J.; Sass, Louis C.; Florentine, Caitlyn; Baker, Emily; Peitzsch, Erich; McGrath, Daniel J; Fountain, Andrew G.; Fagre, Daniel B.

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Year Published: 2019

DNA Sequencing confirms Tundra Bean Goose (Anser serrirostris serrirostris) occurrence in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley in Arkansas, USA

—First sighting records of rare occurrences may become increasingly important for recognizing changes in distribution, changes in migratory strategies, or increases in hybridization. We focumented the first record of a Tundra Bean Goose in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, the outlet and historic floodplain for much of North America and one of the...

Osborne, Douglas C.; Wilson, Robert E.; Carlson, Lindsay; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2019

Factors promoting the recolonization of Oahu, Hawaii, by Bristle-thighed Curlews

Suitable habitat for Arctic-breeding migratory shorebirds is decreasing at their traditional wintering islands and atolls in the Central Pacific Flyway (i.e., Oceania) due to habitat degradation, reclamation, and sea-level rise. To maintain the size and resiliency of their populations, migratory shorebirds will need to expand their winter ranges...

Tibbitts, Lee; Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Underwood, Jared G.; Patil, Vijay P.

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: 989
Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcass in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass washed up in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

ANSEP student Tatiana Korthuis recording data
July 29, 2019

ANSEP student Tatiana Korthuis recording data on USGS research vessel

Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) student Tatiana Korthuis recording fish catch data on board the USGS research vessel Alaskan Gyre in Herring Bay, Alaska. This was part of a USGS study to monitor forage fish and seabirds in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Canada goose (Branta canadensis), Anchorage, AK
July 27, 2019

Canada goose (Branta canadensis), Anchorage, AK

Canada goose (Branta canadensis), Anchorage, AK

Common Murre on the water in Kachemak Bay, Alaska
July 25, 2019

A Common Murre on the water near its colony in Kachemak Bay, Alaska

Northern Fulmars, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and Common Murres have all been tested for and contained harmful algal bloom (HAB) toxins. Since 2015, the USGS has worked with a variety of stakeholders to develop testing methods and research projects to better understand the geographic extent, timing and impacts of algal toxins in Alaska marine ecosystems.

ANSEP student holds a red-throated loon
July 13, 2019

ANSEP student Jakob Sipary holds a red-throated loon, Alaska

Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) student Jakob Sipary holds a red-throated loon on the Canning River Delta, Alaska, July 2019 as part of a USGS study on loon marine habitat use areas. Jakob was an intern for the summer with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Taku Glacier, Alaska retreat
July 9, 2019

Taku Glacier, Alaska retreat

2019 Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) students during a four day and 83 kilometers ski traverse across Taku Glacier, carrying all their food, water, clothing, tents, and science gear as they help measure the mass balance along the way.

Kasilof River sonar on a bridge
June 28, 2019

Kasilof River sonar on a bridge

Kasilof River sonar on a bridge

Tazlina River bridge
June 28, 2019

Tazlina River bridge

Tazlina River bridge

A Common Murre holds a Pacific sand lance near Gull Island, Alaska
June 19, 2019

A Common Murre holds a Pacific sand lance near Gull Island in Alaska

Northern Fulmars, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and Common Murres have all been tested for and contained harmful algal bloom (HAB) toxins. Since 2015, the USGS has worked with a variety of stakeholders to develop testing methods and research projects to better understand the geographic extent, timing and impacts of algal toxins in Alaska marine ecosystems.

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 246
Repeat oblique photographs of Gulkana glaciers in Alaska.
September 28, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the longest continuous glacier research efforts in North America.

Scientists setting a trap for gulls at the landfill
September 26, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Some gulls in southcentral Alaska are carriers of antibiotic resistant strains of E. coli, according to a new study co-authored by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Ariel photo of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
September 20, 2016

New research from the U.S. Geological Survey and partners illustrates how climate change is perceived among different generations of indigenous residents in subarctic Alaska. While all subjects agreed climate change is occurring, the older participants observed more overall changes than the younger demographic.

Glacier National Park
September 7, 2016

A team of USGS scientists spent 10 days in the wilderness, exploring one of the fastest-moving faults in America

Arctic Cod
August 8, 2016

Information relating to fish biology, locations and effects of climate change will help guide future research and management decisions

Female scientist and young girls looking at scientific equipment
August 4, 2016

MEDIA ADVISORY

Twenty middle-school girls from Washington and Oregon are participating in the second annual “GeoGirls” outdoor volcano science program at Mount St. Helens, jointly organized by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mount St. Helens Institute.

vertical columns of volcanic rock at Devils Postpile National Monument
July 13, 2016

A new geologic map of the Long Valley Caldera, Mammoth Mountain, and the Middle Fork canyon of the San Joaquin River including Devils Postpile National Monument, recounts the geologic and volcanic history of the area east of the Sierra Nevada in far greater detail than any previously published report.

USGS
July 7, 2016

Alaska is a major producer of base and precious metals and has a high potential for additional undiscovered mineral resources. However, discovery is hindered by Alaska’s vast size, remoteness and rugged terrain. New methods are needed to overcome these obstacles in order to evaluate Alaska’s geology and mineral resource potential.

Female and her cub-of-the-year
June 29, 2016

“The scenarios predicted by our models are encouraging in that there are clear actions that humans can take to improve the chances that healthy polar bear populations persist in the future.” - Todd Atwood, USGS

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.

The Regional Office provides active input to a variety of external collaborations by:

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