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: 169
Date published: August 2, 2018
Status: Active

Detecting Long-term Changes in Forage Fish Populations in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Forage fish are small pelagic schooling fish that play a key role in transferring energy between plankton and top marine predators. Many seabirds, marine mammals, and commercial fish species depend on forage fish to grow and survive.

Date published: August 1, 2018
Status: Active

Terrestrial Influence on Glacial-Marine Food Webs

Where glaciers meet the sea in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), they create unique and productive marine habitats. Ringed by the continent’s tallest coastal mountains, 20% of the GOA coastal watershed is covered by glacial ice and the annual freshwater discharge into the GOA from glacial melt is comparable to that of the Mississippi river.

Date published: July 30, 2018
Status: Active

Aleutian Islands Ecosystem Recovery Studies

The Aleutian archipelago is a 2,000 km long chain of volcanically-derived treeless islands stretching from Unimak Island in the east to the Commander Islands in the west.  These volcanic islands support a wide range of species including large numbers of seabirds and marine mammal species, some of which are threatened and endangered, leading to a high level of federal management concern.

Date published: July 20, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Coastal Plain and NPR-A Research Bibliography

Selected Bibliography of USGS Research Conducted in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Coastal Plain (1002 Area) and/or the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska (NPRA)

Compiled as of 12/18/2018

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science Informing the Status and Trends of Migratory Birds

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science Informing Endangered Species Act Decisions and Recovery Planning

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science for Oil and Gas Leasing-related Decisions

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

Date published: July 10, 2018
Status: Active

Remotely Sensed Discharge

River discharge is an important component of the water cycle, and an accurate accounting of streamflow can be accomplished by monitoring the spatial and temporal variations in river discharge. The U.S. Geological Survey is actively pursuing remote-sensing platforms to compute river discharge using a combination of satellite-, high altitude-, drone-, and fixed-based platforms to directly...

Date published: June 29, 2018
Status: Active

Walrus Media/Contacts

If you have questions about walrus research or media inquiries regarding the USGS Alaska Science Center please contact Yvette Gillies or Steven Sobieszczyk.

Date published: June 29, 2018
Status: Active

Polar Bear Media/Contacts

If you have questions about research or media inquiries regarding the USGS Alaska Science Center please contact Yvette Gillies or Paul Laustsen.

Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

Glaciers and Climate Project

Scientists with the Glaciers and Climate Project study many of the pertinent impacts that glaciers present to society, such as altering hydrologic cycles, contributing to sea-level rise, and creating environmental hazards. 

Contacts: Louis Sass, III
Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Completed

Mountain Permafrost, Climate Change, and Rock Avalanches in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Release Date: JUNE 18, 2018

We usually hear about landslides and avalanches that are caused by large amounts of rainfall, the shaking from earthquakes, or a volcanic eruption, but we may be hearing more about avalanches caused by the (seemingly innocuous) melting of ice in the coming years.

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: 2,661
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Year Published: 2021

Heatwave-induced synchrony within forage fish portfolio disrupts energy flow to top pelagic predators

During the Pacific marine heatwave of 2014–2016, abundance and quality of several key forage fish species in the Gulf of Alaska were simultaneously reduced throughout the system. Capelin (Mallotus catervarius), sand lance (Ammodytes personatus), and herring (Clupea pallasii) populations were at historically low levels, and within this community...

Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Piatt, John F.; Hatch, Scott; Suryan, Robert M.; Batten, Sonia; Bishop, Mary Anne; Campbell, Rob W.; Coletti, Heather; Cushing, Dan; Gorman, Kristen; Hopcroft, Russell R.; Kuletz, Kathy J.; Marsteller, Caitlin Elizabeth; McKinstry, Caitlin; McGowan, David; Moran, John; Pegau, W. Scott; Schaefer, Anne; Schoen, Sarah K.; Straley, Jan; von Biela, Vanessa R.

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Year Published: 2021

Airborne geophysical imaging of weak zones on Iliamna Volcano, Alaska: Implications for slope stability

Water‐saturated, hydrothermally altered rocks reduce the strength of volcanic edifices and increase the potential for sector collapses and far‐traveled mass flows of unconsolidated debris. Iliamna Volcano is an andesitic stratovolcano located on the western side of the Cook Inlet, ∼225 km southwest of Anchorage and is a source of repeated...

Peterson, Dana Elise; Finn, Carol A.; Bedrosian, Paul A.

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Year Published: 2021

Ground‐penetrating radar, electromagnetic induction, terrain, and vegetation observations coupled with machine learning to map permafrost distribution at Twelvemile Lake, Alaska

We collected ground‐penetrating radar (GPR) and frequency‐domain electromagnetic induction (FDEM) profiles in 2011 and 2012 to identify the extent of permafrost relative to surface biomass and solar insolation around Twelvemile Lake near Fort Yukon, Alaska. We compared a Landsat‐derived biomass estimate and modeled solar insolation from a digital...

Campbell, S.; Briggs, Martin A.; Roy, S.P.; Douglas, T. A.; Saari, S.

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Year Published: 2021

Multi-region assessment of chemical mixture exposures and predicted cumulative effects in USA wadeable urban/agriculture-gradient streams

Chemical-contaminant mixtures are widely reported in large stream reaches in urban/agriculture-developed watersheds, but mixture compositions and aggregate biological effects are less well understood in corresponding smaller headwaters, which comprise most of stream length, riparian connectivity, and spatial biodiversity. During 2014–2017,...

Bradley, Paul; Journey, Celeste A.; Romanok, Kristin; Breitmeyer, Sara; Button, Daniel T.; Carlisle, Daren M.; Huffman, Bradley; Mahler, Barbara; Nowell, Lisa H.; Qi, Sharon L.; Smalling, Kelly; Waite, Ian R.; Van Metre, Peter C.
Attribution: California Water Science Center, Colorado Water Science Center, Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Water Science Center, New Jersey Water Science Center, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center, Oklahoma-Texas Water Science Center, Oregon Water Science Center, South Atlantic Water Science Center (SAWSC), Water Resources, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, Region 2: South Atlantic-Gulf (Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Region 3: Great Lakes, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Region 5: Missouri Basin, Region 6: Arkansas-Rio Grande-Texas-Gulf, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Region 8: Lower Colorado Basin, Region 9: Columbia-Pacific Northwest, Region 10: California-Great Basin, Region 11: Alaska, Region 12: Pacific Islands (American Samoa, Hawaii, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands)

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Year Published: 2021

Extrinsically reinforced hybrid speciation within Holarctic ermine (Mustela spp.) produces an insular endemic

AimRefugial isolation during glaciation is an established driver of speciation; however, the opposing role of interglacial population expansion, secondary contact, and gene flow on the diversification process remains less understood. The consequences of glacial cycling on diversity are complex and especially so for archipelago species, which...

Colella, Jocelyn P.; Frederick, Lindsey; Talbot, Sandra L.; Cook, Joe

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Year Published: 2021

Tectonic and magmatic controls on the metallogenesis of porphyry deposits in Alaska

Porphyry Cu and Mo deposits and occurrences are found throughout Alaska; they formed episodically during repeated subduction and arc-continent collisions spanning the Silurian to Quaternary. Porphyry systems occur in continental-margin and island arcs, which are broadly grouped into pre-accretionary or post-accretionary arcs. Pre-Mesozoic...

Kreiner, Douglas C.; Jones, James V.; Kelley, Karen D.; Graham, Garth E.

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Year Published: 2021

Sr, Nd, Hf and Pb isotope geochemistry of Early Miocene shoshonitic lavas from the South Fiji Basin: Note

We present new Sr, Nd, Hf and Pb isotope data for Early Miocene shoshonitic and high-K lavas dredged from seamounts in the South Fiji Basin, southwest Pacific Ocean. Our analyses provide a useful reference dataset for this distinctive compositional suite. The shoshonitic lavas formed in an intra-oceanic back-arc basin setting and are broadly...

Mortimer, Nick; Bosch, Delphine; Laporte-Magoni, Christine; Todd, Erin; Gill, James B

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Year Published: 2021

Forecasting community reassembly using climate-linked spatio-temporal ecosystem models

Ecosystems are increasingly impacted by human activities, altering linkages among physical and biological components. Spatial community reassembly occurs when these human impacts modify the spatial overlap between system components, and there is need for practical tools to forecast spatial community reassembly at landscape scales using monitoring...

Thorson, James; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Barnett, Lewis; Cheng, Wei; Eisner, Lisa; Haynie, Alan; Hermann, Albert; Holsman, Kirsten; Kimmel, David; Lomas, Michael; Richar, Jon; Siddon, Elizabeth

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Year Published: 2021

Variability of lipids and fatty acids in Pacific walrus blubber

The variability of lipid content and fatty acid (FA) composition across blubber depth and body sites are important considerations for condition and diet studies of marine mammals. We investigated lipid and FA variability among inner and outer blubber layers, three body sites, four study years, and lactation status of adult female Pacific walruses...

Jay, Chadwick V.; Iverson, Sara J.; Fischbach, Anthony S.

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Year Published: 2021

Native American fire management at an ancient wildland–urban interface in the Southwest United States

The intersection of expanding human development and wildland landscapes—the “wildland–urban interface” or WUI—is one of the most vexing contexts for fire management because it involves complex interacting systems of people and nature. Here, we document the dynamism and stability of an ancient WUI that was apparently sustainable for more than 500 y...

Roos, Christopher; Swetnam, Thomas W.; Ferguson, T. J.; Liebmann, Matthew J.; Loehman, Rachel A.; Welch, John; Margolis, Ellis; Guiterman, Christopher H.; Hockaday, William; Aiuvalasit, Michael; Battillo, Jenna; Farella, Joshua; Kiahtipes, Christopher

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Year Published: 2021

Predictors of invertebrate biomass and rate of advancement of invertebrate phenology across eight sites in the North American Arctic

Average annual temperatures in the Arctic increased by 2–3 °C during the second half of the twentieth century. Because shorebirds initiate northward migration to Arctic nesting sites based on cues at distant wintering grounds, climate-driven changes in the phenology of Arctic invertebrates may lead to a mismatch between the nutritional...

Shaftel, Rebecca; Rinella, Daniel J.; Kwon, Eunbi; Brown, Stephen C.; Gates, H. River; Kendall, Steve; Lank, David B.; Liebezeit, Joseph R.; Payer, David C.; Rausch, Jennie; Saalfeld, Sarah T.; Sandercock, Brett K.; Smith, Paul A.; Ward, David H.; Lanctot, Richard B.

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Year Published: 2021

Poecivirus is present in individuals with beak deformities in seven species of North American birds

Avian keratin disorder (AKD), a disease of unknown etiology characterized by debilitating beak overgrowth, has increasingly affected wild bird populations since the 1990s. A novel picornavirus, poecivirus, is closely correlated with disease status in Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) in Alaska. However, our knowledge of the...

Zylberberg, Maxine; Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Handel, Colleen M.; Liu, Rachel; DeRisi, Joseph L.

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
Kashwitna River bridge debris
May 13, 2019

Kashwitna River bridge debris

Kashwitna River bridge debris

Kashwitna River bridge
May 7, 2019

Kashwitna River bridge

Kashwitna River bridge

Lowering minnow trap to fish
April 27, 2019

Lowering minnow trap to fish

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Minnow trap in icehole
April 27, 2019

Minnow trap in icehole

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Shublik Spring open water
April 27, 2019

Shublik Spring open water

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Canning River with bars
April 27, 2019

Canning River with bars

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Michael Carey and Vanessa von Biela on Canning River
April 27, 2019

Michael Carey and Vanessa von Biela on Canning River

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Hole in the ice from an auger
April 27, 2019

Hole in the ice from an auger on Canning River

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

April 27, 2019

Under Ice Habitat in Canning River Delta

In the Arctic, rivers are often thought to freeze completely during winter. Since fish need liquid water to survive, there are few places where they can live. Fish usually inhabit deep river channels and areas where springwater enters a stream. However, this video shows that winter habitat occurs in places we didn't expect, below the ice in the delta of a shallow river. 

Canning River with bars view
April 26, 2019

Canning River with bars view

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Vanessa von Biela with cut bank at Canning River
April 25, 2019

Vanessa von Biela with cut bank at Canning River

Supporting the project of winter habitat of juvenile Dolly Varden in the Canning River.

Copper River sonar on a bridge
April 24, 2019

Copper River sonar on a bridge

Copper River sonar on a bridge

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 study of fires and waterfowl surveys in the western boreal forest of North America. 
June 21, 2016

“These results suggest that waterfowl populations in the western boreal forest are resilient to forest fires and that current policies of limited fire suppression have not been detrimental to waterfowl populations." – Tyler Lewis, U.S. Geological Survey.

Permafrost area, Beaver Creek, Alaska.
June 20, 2016

The thawing of the planet’s permafrost is replumbing arctic environments, creating several hydrologic consequences and possibly some opportunities according to a new study published in Vadose Zone.

Scientist laying cable in a field
June 1, 2016

Fate of Alaska's large carbon reserves could affect greenhouse gas concentration.

satellite image of brown resuspended volcanic ash cloud over Kodiak Island, Alaska
April 25, 2016

Two public events are scheduled next week in the City of Kodiak, Alaska about monitoring old volcanic ash resuspended by high winds. Scientists invite the local community to learn more about the potential impacts of resuspended volcanic ash and how to assist in volcano hazards research by collecting samples of the redistributed volcanic ash and dust.

USGS
April 20, 2016

You really are what you eat. That’s the taking-off point for a new polar bear study, conducted by U.S. Geological Survey researchers with an assist from the Oregon Zoo — and published this week in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
April 5, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Geological Survey released additional evidence that western Alaska remains a hot spot for avian influenza to enter North America. 

Image: Michelle Coombs
April 4, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Michelle Coombs as the next Scientist-in-Charge of the Alaska Volcano Observatory, a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

Suzette Kimball, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey presenting award to Nicholas Mastrodicasa
March 15, 2016

To commemorate the nation's first chief geographer, the USGS established the Henry Gannett Award. This year's recipient is Nicholas Mastrodicasa, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, for his leadership in the Alaska Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative and the development of an elevation requirements study for Alaska.

Aerial view of the Chenega village site at the head of Chenega Cove.
February 1, 2016

Minutes after the 1964 magnitude-9.2 Great Alaska Earthquake began shaking, a series of tsunami waves swept through the village of Chenega in Prince William Sound, destroying all but two of the buildings and killing 23 of the 75 inhabitants. 

Image: USGS Scientists Engaged in Field Work on the Aleutian Islands
January 12, 2016

New evidence for frequent large tsunamis at a remote island near Dutch Harbor, Alaska provides geological data to aid tsunami hazard preparedness efforts around the Pacific Rim. 

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.