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 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: 2,678
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Year Published: 2014

Comparative population structure of cavity-nesting sea ducks

A growing collection of mtDNA genetic information from waterfowl species across North America suggests that larger-bodied cavity-nesting species exhibit greater levels of population differentiation than smaller-bodied congeners. Although little is known about nest-cavity availability for these species, one hypothesis to explain differences in...

Pearce, John M.; Eadie, John M.; Savard, Jean-Pierre L.; Christensen, Thomas K.; Berdeen, James; Taylor, Eric J.; Boyd, Sean; Einarsson, Árni
Pearce, J. M., J. M. Eadie, J-P. L. Savard, T. K. Christensen, J. Berdeen, E. J. Taylor, S. Boyd, A. Einarsson, and S. L. Talbot. 2014. Comparative population structure of cavity-nesting sea ducks. The Auk 131(2):195-207. doi:10.1642/AUK-13-071.1

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Year Published: 2014

Geochronology of plutonic rocks and their tectonic terranes in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, southeast Alaska: Chapter E in Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, 2008-2009

We have identified six major belts and two nonbelt occurrences of plutonic rocks in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and characterized them on the basis of geologic mapping, igneous petrology, geochemistry, and isotopic dating. The six plutonic belts and two other occurrences are, from oldest to youngest: (1) Jurassic (201.6–145.5 Ma)...

Brew, David A.; Tellier, Kathleen E.; Lanphere, Marvin A.; Nielsen, Diane C.; Smith, James G.; Sonnevil, Ronald A.
Geochronology of plutonic rocks and their tectonic terranes in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, southeast Alaska: Chapter E in Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, 2008-2009; 2014; PP; 1776-E; Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, 2008-2009 (Professional Paper 1776); Brew, David A.; Tellier, Kathleen E.; Lanphere, Marvin A.; Nielsen, Diane C.; Smith, James G.; Sonnevil, Ronald A.

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Year Published: 2014

2013 update on sea otter studies to assess recovery from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, Prince William Sound, Alaska

On March 24, 1989, the tanker vessel Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling an estimated 42 million liters of Prudhoe Bay crude oil. Oil spread in a southwesterly direction and was deposited on shores and waters in western Prince William Sound (WPWS). The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) was one of more than 20 nearshore...

Ballachey, Brenda E.; Monson, Daniel H.; Esslinger, George G.; Kloecker, Kimberly A.; Bodkin, James L.; Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith
2013 update on sea otter studies to assess recovery from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, Prince William Sound, Alaska; 2014; OFR; 2014-1030; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Monson, Daniel H.; Esslinger, George G.; Kloecker, Kimberly; Bodkin, James; Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith

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Year Published: 2014

Isotopic nitrogen in fecal fiber as an indicator of winter diet in caribou and muskoxen

RATIONALE: The ratios of stable nitrogen isotopes (δ15N values) in excreta have been used to examine aspects of trophic and nutritional ecology across taxa. Nitrogen fractions in feces of herbivores include endogenous (e.g., sloughed intestinal cells, unresorbed digestive secretions, and microbial debris) and dietary sources. For animals such as...

Gustine, David D.; Barboza, Perry S.; Addison, Jennifer; Shively, Rachel; Oliver, Lola
Isotopic nitrogen in fecal fiber as an indicator of winter diet in caribou and muskoxen; 2014; Article; Journal; Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry; Gustine, David D.; Barboza, Perry S.; Addison, Jennifer; Shively, Rachel; Oliver, Lola

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Year Published: 2014

Polar bears exhibit genome-wide signatures of bioenergetic adaptation to life in the Arctic environment

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) face extremely cold temperatures and periods of fasting, which might result in more severe energetic challenges than those experienced by their sister species, the brown bear (U. arctos). We have examined the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes of polar and brown bears to investigate if polar bears demonstrate lineage-...

Welch, Andreanna J.; Bedoya-Reina, Oscar C.; Carretero-Paulet, Lorenzo; Miller, Webb; Rode, Karyn D.; Lindqvist, Charlotte
Welch, A. J., O. C. Bedoya-Reina, L. Carretro-Paulet, W. Miller, K. D. Rode, and C. Lindqvist. 2014. Polar bears exhibit genome-wide signatures of bioenergetic adaptation to life in the Arctic environment. Genome Biology and Evolution 6(2):433-450. doi:10.1093/gbe/evu025

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Year Published: 2014

Reconstruction of historic sea ice conditions in a sub-Arctic lagoon

Historical sea ice conditions were reconstructed for Izembek Lagoon, Bering Sea, Alaska. This lagoon is a crucial staging area during migration for numerous species of avian migrants and a major eelgrass (Zostera marina) area important to a variety of marine and terrestrial organisms, especially Pacific Flyway black brant geese (Branta bernicla...

Petrich, Chris; Tivy, Adrienne C.; Ward, David H.

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Year Published: 2014

Synthesis of nearshore recovery following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill: sea otter liver pathology and survival in Western Prince William Sound, 2001 – 2008

We examined livers and liver biopsies collected from captured sea otters in WPWS, 2001–2008, to determine whether indicators of liver health correlated with history of oil contamination from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Sea otters captured in oiled areas had a significantly higher proportion of livers with gross pathological change,...

Ballachey, Brenda E.; Monson, Daniel H.; Kloecker, Kimberly A.; Esslinger, George G.; Mohr, F.C.; Lipscomb, T.P.; Murray, M.J.; Howlin, S.
Ballachey, B.E., D.H. Monson, K.A. Kloecker, G.G. Esslinger, F.C. Mohr, T.P. Lipscomb, M.J. Murray, and S. Howlin. 2014. Synthesis of nearshore recovery following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill: Sea otter liver pathology and survival in Western Prince William Sound, 2001 – 2008, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Restoration Project Final Report (Restoration Projects 070808 and 070808A), U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska.

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Year Published: 2014

Assessing streamflow sensitivity to variations in glacier mass balance

The mountains ringing the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) receive upwards of 4–8 m yr−1 of precipitation (Simpson et al.2005; Weingartner et al. 2005; O’Neel 2012), much of which runs off into productive coastal waters. The alpine landscape is heavily glacierized, and storage and turnover of water by glaciers substantially influences the regional surface...

O'Neel, Shad; Hood, Eran; Arendt, Anthony; Sass, Louis C.
Assessing streamflow sensitivity to variations in glacier mass balance; 2014; Article; Journal; Climatic Change; O'Neel, Shad; Hood, Eran; Arendt, Anthony; Sass, Louis

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Year Published: 2014

Validation of adipose lipid content as a body condition index for polar bears

Body condition is a key indicator of individual and population health. Yet, there is little consensus as to the most appropriate condition index (CI), and most of the currently used CIs have not been thoroughly validated and are logistically challenging. Adipose samples from large datasets of capture biopsied, remote biopsied, and harvested polar...

McKinney, Melissa A.; Atwood, Todd C.; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Iverson, Sara J.; Peacock, Elizabeth L.
Validation of adipose lipid content as a body condition index for polar bears; 2014; Article; Journal; Ecology and Evolution; McKinney, Melissa A.; Atwood, Todd; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Iverson, Sara J.; Peacock, Elizabeth

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Year Published: 2014

Tsunami impact to Washington and northern Oregon from segment ruptures on the southern Cascadia subduction zone

This paper explores the size and arrival of tsunamis in Oregon and Washington from the most likely partial ruptures of the Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ) in order to determine (1) how quickly tsunami height declines away from sources, (2) evacuation time before significant inundation, and (3) extent of felt shaking that would trigger evacuation....

Priest, George R.; Zhang, Yinglong; Witter, Robert C.; Wang, Kelin; Goldfinger, Chris; Stimely, Laura
Tsunami impact to Washington and northern Oregon from segment ruptures on the southern Cascadia subduction zone; 2014; Article; Journal; Natural Hazards; Priest, George R.; Zhang, Yinglong; Witter, Robert C.; Wang, Kelin; Goldfinger, Chris; Stimely, Laura

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Year Published: 2014

Late Devonian–Mississippian(?) Zn-Pb(-Ag-Au-Ba-F) deposits and related aluminous alteration zones in the Nome Complex, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

Stratabound base-metal sulfide deposits and occurrences are present in metasedimentary rocks of the Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic Nome Complex on south-central Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Stratabound and locally stratiform deposits including Aurora Creek (Zn-Au-Ba-F), Wheeler North (Pb-Zn-Ag-Au-F), and Nelson (Zn-Pb- Cu-Ag), consist of lenses...

Slack, John F.; Till, Alison; Belkin, Harvey E.; Shanks, Wayne C.

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Year Published: 2014

Seismicity within a propagating ice shelf rift: the relationship between icequake locations and ice shelf structure

Iceberg calving is a dominant mass loss mechanism for Antarctic ice shelves, second only to basal melting. An important known process involved in calving is the initiation and propagation of through-penetrating fractures called rifts; however, the mechanisms controlling rift propagation remain poorly understood. To investigate the mechanics of ice...

Heeszel, David S.; Fricker, Helen A.; Bassis, Jeremy N.; O'Neel, Shad; Walter, Fabian
Seismicity within a propagating ice shelf rift: the relationship between icequake locations and ice shelf structure; 2014; Article; Journal; Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface; Heeszel, David S.; Fricker, Helen A.; Bassis, Jeremy N.; O'Neel, Shad; Walter, Fabian

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
One of two trawl winches on the  R/V Alaskan Gyre
December 31, 1969

One of two trawl winches on the R/V Alaskan Gyre

One of two trawl winches on the  R/V Alaskan Gyre

Pink salmon captured near Kaktovik, Alaska
December 31, 1969

Pink salmon captured near Kaktovik, Alaska

Pink salmon captured near Kaktovik, Alaska

Biologist adjusts a fish wheel trap on the Yukon River
December 31, 1969

Randy Brown adjusts a fish wheel trap on the Yukon River

Randy Brown adjusts a fish wheel trap on the Yukon River that will catch Chinook salmon.

Benthic invertebrates captured in a bottom trawl
December 31, 1969

Benthic invertebrates captured in a bottom trawl

Benthic invertebrates captured in a bottom trawl. This was from the Ecosystem Shifts in Arctic Seas project.

Jannelle Trowbridge sorts through benthic invertebrates for bivalves
December 31, 1969

Jannelle Trowbridge sorts through benthic invertebrates for bivalves

ANSEP intern Jannelle Trowbridge sorts through a catch of benthic invertebrates for bivalves on the Norseman II. This was from the Ecosystem Shifts in Arctic Seas project. 

Underwater photo of young of year Arctic cisco
December 31, 1969

Underwater photo of young of year Arctic cisco

Underwater photo of young of year Arctic cisco

Bring in the mid-water trawl on the R/V Alaskan Gyre
December 31, 1969

Starting to bring in the mid-water trawl on the R/V Alaskan Gyre

Bring in the mid-water trawl on the R/V Alaskan Gyre

2015 benthic field sampling team
December 31, 1969

2015 benthic field sampling team

The 2015 benthic field sampling team Jannelle Trowbridge, Vanessa von Biela, Carolynn Harris, and Thomas Nguyen. This was from the Ecosystem Shifts in Arctic Seas project.

Biologist with a Chinook salmon in a large net from a boat on the Yukon River
December 31, 1969

Vanessa von Biela with a Chinook salmon on the Yukon River

Vanessa von Biela with a Chinook salmon on the Yukon River.

Eroding coastline of the Beaufort Sea on Arey Island near Kaktovik
December 31, 1969

Beaufort Sea coastline on Arey Island with eroding cliff near Kaktovik

Eroding coastline of the Beaufort Sea on Arey Island near Kaktovik. 

Flock of birds over Arey Island near Kaktovik on the coastline of the Beaufort Sea
December 31, 1969

Beaufort Sea coastline on Arey Island with flock of birds

Flock of birds over Arey Island near Kaktovik on the coastline of the Beaufort Sea.

Biologists sorting through buckets of benthic invertebrates looking for bivalves onboard the Norseman II in the Chukchi Sea
December 31, 1969

Biologists sorting through benthic invertebrates for bivalves

Biologists sorting through buckets of benthic invertebrates looking for bivalves onboard the Norseman II in the Chukchi Sea.

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