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

Habitat degradation affects the summer activity of polar bears

Understanding behavioral responses of species to environmental change is critical to forecasting population-level effects. Although climate change is significantly impacting species’ distributions, few studies have examined associated changes in behavior. Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) subpopulations have varied in their near-term responses to sea...

Ware, Jasmine V.; Rode, Karyn D.; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.; Douglas, David C.; Wilson, Ryan R.; Regehr, Eric V.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Durner, George M.; Pagano, Anthony M.; Olson, Jay; Robbins, Charles T.; Jansen, Heiko T
Ware, J.V., Rode, K.D., Bromaghin, J.F., Douglas, D.C., Wilson, R.R., Regehr, E.V., Amstrup, S.C., Durner, G.M., Pagano, A.M., Olson, J., Robbins, C.T., and Jansen, H.T., 2017, Oecologia. vol. 184, no. 1, p. 87-99. doi: 10.1007/s00442-017-3839-y

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Year Published: 2017

Performance and retention of lightweight satellite radio tags applied to the ears of polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

BackgroundSatellite telemetry studies provide information that is critical to the conservation and management of species affected by ecological change. Here we report on the performance and retention of two types (SPOT-227 and SPOT-305A) of ear-mounted Argos-linked satellite transmitters (i.e., platform transmitter terminal, or PTT) deployed on...

Wiig, Øystein; Born, Erik W.; Laidre, Kristin L.; Dietz, Rune; Jensen, Mikkel Villum; Durner, George M.; Pagano, Anthony M.; Regehr, Eric V.; St. Martin, Michelle; Atkinson, Stephen N.; Dyck, Markus
Wiig, Ø., Born, E.W., Laidre, K.L., Dietz, R., Jensen, M.V., Durner, G.M., Pagano, A.M., Regehr, E.V., St. Martin, M., Atkinson, S., and Dyck, M., 2017, Performance and retention of lightweight satellite radio tags applied to the ears of polar bears (Ursus maritimus): Animal Biotelemetry, vol. 5, no. 9, p. 1-11. doi: 10.1186/s40317-017-0124-0

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Year Published: 2017

Using tri-axial accelerometers to identify wild polar bear behaviors

Tri-axial accelerometers have been used to remotely identify the behaviors of a wide range of taxa. Assigning behaviors to accelerometer data often involves the use of captive animals or surrogate species, as their accelerometer signatures are generally assumed to be similar to those of their wild counterparts. However, this has rarely been tested...

Pagano, Anthony M.; Rode, Karyn D.; Cutting, A.; Owen, M.A.; Jensen, S.; Ware, J.V.; Robbins, C.T.; Durner, George M.; Atwood, Todd C.; Obbard, M.E.; Middel, K.R.; Thiemann, G.W.; Williams, T.M.
Pagano, A.M., Rode, K.D., Cutting, A., Owen, M.A., Jensen, S., Ware, J.V., Robbins, C.T., Durner, G.M., Atwood, T.C., Obbard, M.E., Middel, K.R., Thiemann, G.W., and Williams, T.M. 2017. Using tri-axial accelerometers to identify wild polar bear behaviors: Endangered Species Research vol. 32, p. 19-33. - DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00779

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Year Published: 2017

Variation in δ15N and δ13C values of forages for Arctic caribou: Effects of location, phenology and simulated digestion

RationaleThe use of stable isotopes for dietary estimates of wildlife assumes that there are consistent differences in isotopic ratios among diet items, and that the differences in these ratios between the diet item and the animal tissues (i.e., fractionation) are predictable. However, variation in isotopic ratios and fractionation of δ13C and...

Vansomeren, Lindsey L.; Barboza, Perry S.; Gustine, David D.; Bret-Harte, M. Syndonia
Vansomeren L.L., Barboza P.S., Gustine D.D., Syndonia Bret-Harte M. Variation in δ15N and δ13C values of forages for Arctic caribou: effects of location, phenology and simulated digestion Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 2017, 31, 813–820

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Year Published: 2017

Eastern Denali Fault surface trace map, eastern Alaska and Yukon, Canada

We map the 385-kilometer (km) long surface trace of the right-lateral, strike-slip Denali Fault between the Totschunda-Denali Fault intersection in Alaska, United States and the village of Haines Junction, Yukon, Canada. In Alaska, digital elevation models based on light detection and ranging and interferometric synthetic aperture radar data...

Bender, Adrian M.; Haeussler, Peter J.
Bender, A.M., and Haeussler, P.J., 2017, Eastern Denali Fault surface trace map, eastern Alaska and Yukon, Canada: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1049, 10 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171049.

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Year Published: 2017

Cessation of oil exposure in harlequin ducks after the Exxon Valdez oil spill: Cytochrome P4501A biomarker evidence

The authors quantified hepatic hydrocarbon-inducible cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A) expression, as ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activity, in wintering harlequin ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) captured in Prince William Sound, Alaska (USA), during 2011, 2013, and 2014 (22–25 yr following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill). Average EROD activity...

Esler, Daniel N.; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Dickson, Rian D.; Henderson, John D.
Esler, D., Ballachey, B.E., Bowen, L., Miles, A.K., Dickson, R.D., and Henderson, J.D., 2016, Cessation of oil exposure in harlequin ducks after the Exxon Valdez oil spill: Cytochrome P4501A biomarker evidence: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, vol. 36, no. 5, p. 1294-1300. doi: 10.1002/etc.3659

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Year Published: 2017

Divergence and gene flow in the globally distributed blue-winged ducks

The ability to disperse over long distances can result in a high propensity for colonizing new geographic regions, including uninhabited continents, and lead to lineage diversification via allopatric speciation. However, high vagility can also result in gene flow between otherwise allopatric populations, and in some cases, parapatric or divergence...

Nelson, Joel; Wilson, Robert E.; McCracken, Kevin G.; Cumming, Graeme; Joseph, Leo; Guay, Patrick-Jean; Peters, Jeffrey
Nelson, J. T., R. E. Wilson, K. G. McCracken, G. S. Cumming, L. Joseph, P-J. Guay, and J. L. Peters. 2017. Divergence and gene flow in the globally distributed blue-winged ducks. Journal of Avian Biology. doi:10.1111/jav.00998

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Year Published: 2017

Historical biogeography sets the foundation for contemporary conservation of martens (genus Martes) in northwestern North America

Effective conservation of insular populations requires careful consideration of biogeography, including colonization histories and patterns of endemism. Across the Pacific Northwest of North America, Pacific martens (Martes caurina) and American pine martens (Martes americana) are parapatric sister species with distinctive postglacial histories....

Dawson, Natalie G.; Colella, Jocelyn P.; Small, Maurine P.; Stone, Karen D.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Cook, Joseph A.
Dawson, N. G., J. P. Colella, M. P. Small, K. D. Stone, S. L. Talbot, and J. A. Cook. 2017. Historical biogeography sets the foundation for contemporary conservation of martens (genus Martes) in northwestern North America. Journal of Mammalogy 98(3):715-730. doi:10.1093/jmammal/gyx047

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Year Published: 2017

Spatial variation in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure in Barrow's goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) in coastal British Columbia

Barrow's goldeneyes are sea ducks that winter throughout coastal British Columbia (BC). Their diet consists primarily of intertidal blue mussels, which can accumulate PAHs; accordingly, goldeneyes may be susceptible to exposure through contaminated prey. In 2014/15, we examined total PAH concentrations in mussels from undeveloped and developed...

Willie, Megan; Esler, Daniel N.; Boyd, W. Sean; Molloy, Philip; Ydenberg, Ronald C.
Willie, M., Esler, D., Boyd, W.S., Molloy, P., and Ydenberg, P.C., 2017, Spatial variation in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure in Barrow's goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) in coastal British Columbia: Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 118, no. 1-2, p. 167-179. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.02.010

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Year Published: 2017

Potential effects of permafrost thaw on arctic river ecosystems

No abstract available.

O'Donnell, Jonathan A.; Zimmerman, Christian E.; Carey, Michael P.; Koch, Joshua C.
O'Donnel, J.A., C.E. Zimmerman, M.P. Carey, and J.C. Koch. 2017. Potential Effects of Permafrost Thaw on Arctic River Ecosystems. Alaska Park Science. 16:47-49.

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Year Published: 2017

A lake-centric geospatial database to guide research and inform management decisions in an Arctic watershed in northern Alaska experiencing climate and land-use changes

Lakes are dominant and diverse landscape features in the Arctic, but conventional land cover classification schemes typically map them as a single uniform class. Here, we present a detailed lake-centric geospatial database for an Arctic watershed in northern Alaska. We developed a GIS dataset consisting of 4362 lakes that provides information on...

Jones, Benjamin M.; Arp, Christopher D.; Whitman, Matthew S.; Nigro, Debora A.; Nitze, Ingmar; Beaver, John; Gadeke, Anne; Zuck, Callie; Liljedahl, Anna K.; Daanen, Ronald; Torvinen, Eric; Fritz, Stacey; Grosse, Guido

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Year Published: 2017

Fracture propagation and stability of ice shelves governed by ice shelf heterogeneity

Tabular iceberg calving and ice shelf retreat occurs after full‐thickness fractures, known as rifts, propagate across an ice shelf. A quickly evolving rift signals a threat to the stability of Larsen C, the Antarctic Peninsula's largest ice shelf. Here we reveal the influence of ice shelf heterogeneity on the growth of this rift, with implications...

Borstad, Chris; Mcgrath, Daniel; Allen Pope

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
August 31, 2015

Peeking into Permafrost

Barter Island sits at the top of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, and with the Arctic facing quickly rising temperatures, USGS wants to investigate what’s causing the North Slope bluffs to erode so quickly. This permafrost environment is complex, so USGS studies many facets-- from radon in the groundwater to sand grains along the coast-- of this frozen

Scientist cutting open head of dead sockeye salmon to get otolith (ear bone) for analysis
August 31, 2015

Collecting otoliths from sockeye salmon on the Salmon Lake shoreline

Chris Zimmerman removing otoliths from sockeye salmon carcasses on the shoreline of Salmon Lake.  Otoliths are used to read age of a fish and other chemical signatures over time.

Helicopter to pick up field personnel in Fortymile region north of Tok
August 13, 2015

Helicopter landing to pick up field personnel in Alaska

Helicopter landing to pick up field personnel after a day of geologic mapping and sampling in the Fortymile region north of Tok, Alaska.

A high alpine tributary of the Agashashok River
August 12, 2015

A high alpine tributary of the Agashashok River

A high alpine tributary of the Agashashok River.

Allen Bondurant measuring the depth to permafrost along a thermokarst lake shore.
August 11, 2015

Allen Bondurant measuring the depth to permafrost along a thermokarst lake shore.

Allen Bondurant measuring the depth to permafrost along a thermokarst lake shore.

Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
Mother and young caribou on Yukon-Alaska border
August 9, 2015

Mother and young caribou on Yukon-Alaska border

A mother caribou and her offspring, east of Chicken, Alaska (on the Yukon-Alaska border).

Scientist examining outcrops of strongly deformed and metamorphosed rock, Divide Mountain, Yukon-Tanana, eastern Alaska
August 9, 2015

Scientist examining strongly deformed and metamorphosed rock outcrops

USGS scientist examining outcrops of strongly deformed and metamorphosed rock along Divide Mountain in the Yukon-Tanana upland of eastern Alaska

Half-meter-thick quartz veins cut across outcrops of granitic gneiss on Divide Mountain along the Alaska-Yukon border
August 9, 2015

Quartz veins across outcrops of granitic gneiss on Divide Mt., Alaska

Half-meter-thick quartz veins cut across outcrops of granitic gneiss on Divide Mountain along the Alaska-Yukon border, August 2015

Dirt in a long cylinder
August 7, 2015

Sediment core showing tsunami deposits on Sitkalidak Island, Alaska

Sediment core showing sandy tsunami deposits over soil from an upland environment on Sitkalidak Island, Alaska.

Rob Wilson pipetting PCR products into a gel
August 5, 2015

Pipetting PCR products into an acrylamide gel

Rob Wilson pipetting PCR products into an acrylamide gel; after electrophoresis he'll be able to visualize fragment size differences within and among individuals.

Helicopter arriving to move geologists from Redoubt Volcano, Alaska
July 31, 2015

Helicopter arriving to move geologists from Redoubt Volcano, Alaska

Helicopter arriving to pick up geologists after retrieving geophysical equipment from the flanks of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska, July 2015

A hole in the ground with layers
July 31, 2015

Soil pit on Sitkalidak Island, Alaska

Soil pit exposing tsunami deposits on Sitkalidak Island, Alaska.

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.