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: November 29, 2017
Status: Active

USGS Transboundary River Monitoring in Southeast Alaska

The USGS Alaska Science Center operates super gages on the Alsek, Taku, Stikine, Unuk and Salmon Rivers. Discrete water quality, sediment, and biological sampling are also collected at each gage location. Discrete water quality samples are also collected annually at the Canada-Alaska border crossings of the Taku, Stikine, and Unuk Rivers. Water quality data collection began in 2018 on the Unuk...

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Completed

Geologic Map of Alaska

In January 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey released the first ever digital geologic map of Alaska. This map reflects more than a century of work and provides a visual context for the abundant mineral and energy resources found throughout the state. The map also is available to use in three different formats: a professional GIS database, a public interactive version via a web browser, and an...

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Pacific Nearshore Project

Sea otters are crucial indicators of the health of our nearshore waters and coastal resources, from kelp forests to fisheries. What clues does the sea otter's decline hold for our knowledge of ecosystem and global change? WERC's sea otter team and U.S. and Canadian researchers have teamed together to investigate. 

Relevance to USGS Missions:

This research project has direct...

Date published: September 5, 2017
Status: Active

Alaska Science Center Data Policy

The Data Policy for ASC staff and contractors requires that research data, computational models, software and scripts, web-based tools, and information products (collectively “data”) adhere to the following policy statements.

Date published: August 22, 2017
Status: Active

Beak Deformities in Landbirds

Over the past 20 years, Alaskans have witnessed a startling increase of beak deformities among Black-capped Chickadees and other species of resident birds. This disease, called avian keratin disorder (AKD), is characterized by debilitating beak overgrowth and other abnormalities of keratinized tissues. Affected birds have difficulty feeding and preening, and may suffer high rates of mortality...

Date published: August 10, 2017
Status: Active

Publication Briefs by the Alaska Science Center

These publication briefs feature research that informs partners and resource managers to make decisions relative to species habitat and status, natural resources, ecosystems, and human activities.

Contacts: Yvette Gillies
Date published: July 27, 2017
Status: Active

Goose Research

The USGS Alaska Science Center has had a focus on addressing science questions related to geese in Alaska for decades.  Information on these species is critical because all are important resources for subsistence and sport hunters in the state and outside of Alaska where these birds spend the winter.  The large majority of goose populations in Alaska breed on national wildlife refuges (managed...

Date published: July 27, 2017
Status: Active

Dabbling and Diving Duck Research

Dabbling and diving ducks, such as mallards, pintails and scaup, are widespread species throughout North America.  Additionally, their migratory flyways pass through Asia and North America overlap in Alaska.  Population trends of these species are closely tracked through aerial surveys by management agencies.  Results from these and other surveys are then used to formulate management actions...

Date published: July 27, 2017
Status: Active

Sea Duck Research

USGS research on sea ducks is designed to anticipate and address priority information needs of management agencies.  Additionally, work is focused on individual species biology, migration and population status and trends because until just recently, very little was known about sea ducks in Alaska.  

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Wildlife Disease and Environmental Health in Alaska

Environmental health is defined by connections between the physical environment, ecological health, and human health. Current research within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recognizes the importance of this integrated research philosophy, which includes study of disease and pollutants as they pertain to both wildlife and humans. Due to its key geographic location and significant wildlife...

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Landbird Research in Alaska

On this page, learn about USGS work on Beak Deformities and Boreal Partners in Flight.

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Waterfowl Research

Scientists at the USGS Alaska Science Center have conducted research on waterfowl species (ducks, geese, and swans) in Alaska since the 1970s. Because Alaska is an international crossroads of migratory bird flyways, with millions of birds from Asia and North America breeding in Alaska each summer, USGS research has also taken place in adjacent countries (Russia, Japan, Canada, Mexico) and in...

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: 2,613
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Year Published: 2020

Exploring regional scale metamorphic fabrics in the Yukon Tanana terrane and environs using quantitative domain analyses

Metamorphic rock fabrics such as foliations and lineations provide a rock record of numerous deformational characteristics in the Earth’s crust. When spatial information is combined with fabric data collected at points on geologic maps, the nature and consistency of metamorphic fabrics can be explored through structural domain analysis. This is...

Caine, Jonathan; Jones, James V.

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Year Published: 2020

Novel insights into serodiagnosis and epidemiology of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, a newly recognized pathogen in muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus)

Muskoxen are a key species of Arctic ecosystems and are important for food security and socio-economic well-being of many Indigenous communities in the Arctic and Subarctic. Between 2009 and 2014, the bacterium Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae was isolated for the first time in this species in association with multiple mortality events in Canada and...

Mavrot, F.; Orsel, K.; Hutchins, W.; Adams, Layne G.; Beckmen, K.; Blake, J.; Checkley, S.; Davison, T.; Di Francesco, J.; Elkin, B.; Leclerc, L.; Schneider, A.; Tomaselli, M.; Kutz, S.

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Year Published: 2020

Explaining mass balance and retreat dichotomies at Taku and Lemon Creek Glaciers, Alaska

We reanalyzed mass balance records at Taku and Lemon Creek Glaciers to better understand the relative roles of hypsometry, local climate and dynamics as mass balance drivers. Over the 1946–2018 period, the cumulative mass balances diverged. Tidewater Taku Glacier advanced and gained mass at an average rate of +0.25±0.28 m w.e. a–1, contrasting...

McNeil, Christopher J.; O'Neel, Shad; Loso, Michael ; Pelto, Mauri ; Sass, Louis C.; Baker, Emily; Campbell, Seth

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Year Published: 2020

Use of genetic mark-recapture to estimate breeding site fidelity and philopatry in a threatened sea duck population, Alaska-breeding Steller’s eiders

The Steller’s eider (Polysticta stelleri) is a sea duck that breeds in Arctic tundra regions of Russia and Alaska. The Alaska-breeding population is listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act because of a perceived contraction of their breeding range in North America. Understanding demographic rates of the listed population is...

Safine, David; Lindberg, Mark S.; Martin, Kate; Talbot, Sandra L.; Swem, Ted; Pearce, John M.; Stellrecht, Neesha; Sage, Kevin; Riddle, Ann E.; Fales, Kyrstal; Hollmen, Tuula E.

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Year Published: 2020

Through thick and thin: Sexing Bristle-thighed Curlews Numenius tahitiensis using measures of bill depth

Birds often exhibit diagnostic traits that differ among individuals of the same species with regard to factors like sex, age, or breeding status. Shorebirds exhibit a wide diversity of colors, shapes, and sizes of their bills, and these traits are commonly used to determine the sex of individuals. In curlews (genus Numenius), length alone...

Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Handel, Colleen M.; Tibbitts, Lee; Gill, Robert E.

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Year Published: 2020

Tracking the migration of Pacific Golden-Plovers from nonbreeding grounds at Moorea, French Polynesia, using Pinpoint GPS-Argos tags

We used Pinpoint GPS-Argos tags to track migration of Pacific Golden-Plovers Pluvialis fulva in 2017 and 2018 from Moorea Island, at the extreme southeastern edge of the species’ winter range. Of 20 tagged birds, 13 uploaded locations during all or part of their northward migration. The birds departed in mid-April traveling a long (8,250...

Johnson, Oscar W. ; Tibbitts, Lee; Weber, Michael F. ; Bybee, David R. ; Goodwill, Roger H. ; Bruner, Andrea ; Smith, Errika J. ; Buss, Emmalee L.; Waddell, Trinity Q.A. ; Brooks, Daxton ; Smith, Carolyn ; Meyer, Jean-Yves

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Year Published: 2020

Environmental DNA: An emerging tool for understanding aquatic biodiversity

Field surveys for aquatic organisms provide critical information that is important for robust resource management. However, such surveys are expensive and labor intensive, particularly in large, remote landscapes like those that characterize much of Alaska. Traditionally, characterizing aquatic biodiversity necessitated the physical capture and...

Simmons, Trey; Menning, Damian M.; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2020

Ecology of influenza A viruses in wild birds and wetlands of Alaska

Alaska represents a globally important region for the ecology of avian-origin influenza A viruses (IAVs) given expansive wetlands in this region which serve as habitat for numerous hosts of IAVs that disperse among four continents during the annual cycle. Extensive sampling of wild birds for IAVs in Alaska since 1991 has greatly extended...

Ramey, Andrew M.; Reeves, Andrew B.

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Year Published: 2020

Validation of a screening method for the detection of colistin-resistant E. coli containing mcr-1 in feral swine feces

A method was developed and validated for the detection of colistin-resistant Escherichia coli containing mcr-1 in the feces of feral swine. Following optimization of an enrichment method using EC broth supplemented with colistin (1 µg/mL) and vancomycin (8 µg/mL), aliquots derived from 100 feral swine fecal samples were spiked with of one of five...

Chandler, Jeffrey C; Franklin, Alan B.; Bevins, Sarah N.; Bentler, Kevin T; Bonnedahl, Jonas; Ahlstrom, Christina; Bisha, Bledar; Shriner, Susan A.

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Year Published: 2020

Sediment sources and transport by the Kahiltna Glacier and other catchments along the south side of the Alaska Range, Alaska

Erosion related to glacial activity produces enormous amounts of sediment. However, sediment mobilization in glacial systems is extremely complex. Sediment is derived from headwalls, slopes along the margins of glaciers, and basal erosion; however, the rates and relative contributions of each are unknown. To test and quantify conceptual models for...

ASTER Team; Matmon, Ari; Haeussler, Peter

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Year Published: 2020

Gulls as sources of environmental contamination by colistin-resistant bacteria

In 2015, the mcr-1 gene was discovered in Escherichia coli in domestic swine in China that conferred resistance to colistin, an antibiotic of last resort used in treating multi-drug resistant bacterial infections in humans. Since then, mcr-1 was found in other human and animal populations, including wild gulls. Because gulls could disseminate the...

Franklin, Alan B.; Ramey, Andrew M.; Bentler, Kevin T; Barret, Nicole L; McCurdy, Loredana M; Ahlstrom, Christina; Bonnedahl, Jonas; Shriner, Susan A.; Chandler, Jeffrey C

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Year Published: 2020

Post-release monitoring of a stranded and rehabilitated short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) reveals current-assisted travel

A subadult female short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), stranded on the northeastern Gulf of Mexico coast of Florida in June 2017, was rehabilitated for 38 days and then monitored with a satellite-linked, time-depth recording tag for 32 days after being released off the West Florida Shelf. The individual, “Gale,” appeared to...

Tyson Moore, Reny B; Douglas, David C.; Nollens, Hendrik H.; Wells, Randall S.

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: 984
USGS ecologists map and monitor vegetation and landscape characteristics at long-term ecological monitoring sites on the YKD
July 7, 2018

USGS ecologists map monitor vegetation and landscape characteristics

USGS ecologists map and monitor vegetation and landscape characteristics at long-term ecological monitoring sites on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, AK

A man wearing cold-weather gear and standing on a high coastal bluff points to an instrument that is mounted on short a pole.
July 5, 2018

Installing ground-shaking detection instrument

USGS scientist Cordell Johnson points to the Raspberry Shake, a sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking. Johnson mounted the Raspberry Shake to an aluminum pole which he will then drive into the ground to bury the instrument beneath the tundra. This process will help isolate it from the wind.

A small instrument with a USGS logo sticker with wires coming out of it is in a hole in the ground.
July 5, 2018

Sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking

This device, called a Raspberry Shake, is a sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking. It is being carefully buried in this shallow hole in the tundra, to isolate it from wind.

View of muddy, eroding coastal bluffs with a visible permafrost layer and tumbling tundra on top.
July 3, 2018

Actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island

Photograph of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, located on the northern coast of Alaska.

Two people stand atop a coastal cliff where the grassy edges are beginning to fall off onto the beach below.
July 3, 2018

Barter Island coastal bluff studies

Scientists Cordell Johnson, left, and Li Erikson stand atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska, a coastal area that is experiencing very high rates of erosion.

View of muddy, eroding coastal bluffs with a visible permafrost layer and a tumbling tundra layer on top.
July 3, 2018

Eroding bluffs in Kaktovik

View looking east of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, which is located on the northern coast of Alaska.

Two birds grabbing fish out of the ocean
June 28, 2018

Black-legged Kittiwakes forage on Pacific sand lance and capelin

Black-legged Kittiwakes forage on Pacific sand lance and capelin near their colony on Gull Island, Cook Inlet on June 28, 2018. 

A female McKay's Bunting songbird standing on the ground
June 17, 2018

Female McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

Female McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island.

A male McKay's Bunting songbird sitting on a rock
June 14, 2018

Male McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

Male McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

Fog on Yukon River
May 29, 2018

Fog on Yukon River

Fog along the Yukon River showing a Black Spruce dominated forest in the foreground, which is prone to wildfire.  Photo by Bruce Wylie, USGS

Large instruments waiting to loaded on a boat
May 7, 2018

Loading ocean bottom seismometers for deployment in the Gulf of Alaska

Ocean bottom seismometers being loaded onto the R/V Sikuliaq to be deployed on the sea floor in the Gulf of Alaska.

Man pointing to ground
May 2, 2018

Stratigraphic contact marking 1964 uplift of Montague Island, Alaska

Stratigraphic contact marking uplift of Montague Island, caused by slip on the Patton Bay fault system during the 1964 M9.2 Great ALaska Earthquake. 

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 252
US Topo map of the Cass, West Virginia quadrangle, March 2014.
April 24, 2014

US Topo maps now have a crisper, cleaner design - enhancing readability of maps for online and printed use. Map symbols are easier to read over the digital aerial photograph layer whether the imagery is turned on or off. Improvements to symbol definitions (color, line thickness, line symbols, area fills), layer order, and annotation fonts are additional features of this supplemental release.

March 27, 2014

Ever since the great magnitude 9.2 earthquake shook Alaska 50 years ago today, scientists have suspected that the quake's rupture halted at the southwestern tip of Kodiak Island due to a natural barrier.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 20, 2014

Why does the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake Matter 50 Years Later? Scientific experts will talk about a half-century of scientific and monitoring advances triggered by the 1964 events.

Houses damaged in the 1964 earthquake
March 19, 2014

The U.S. Geological Survey has released two new videos about the Great Alaska Earthquake of March 27, 1964 to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the largest earthquake ever recorded in the United States. The videos include rare vintage film footage and photos of the earthquake damage, combined with modern interviews with some of the same scientists who first investig

Uplifted sea floor at Cape Cleare on Montague Island in Prince William Sound.
March 18, 2014

To commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the largest earthquake ever recorded in the United States, the U.S. Geological Survey has reissued a series of landmark reports covering the results of investigations of the Great Alaska Earthquake of March 27, 1964.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 11, 2014

A recent U.S. Geological Survey-led study of the bar-tailed godwit, a shorebird known famously as the ultimate marathon champion of bird flight, suggests that these birds can sense broad weather patterns and optimally time their long, nonstop, transoceanic migrations to destinations thousands of miles away. 

Sea otter in kelp
February 28, 2014

Nearly 25 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill injured wildlife off the coast of Alaska, a new report issued today by the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that sea otters have returned to pre-spill numbers within the most heavily oiled areas of Prince William Sound.

1964 Great Alaska Earthquake flyer thumbnail
February 24, 2014

On March 27th, 1964, the second largest instrumentally recorded earthquake worldwide rocked southern Alaska for 4 to 5 minutes. In addition to the earthquake, the event triggered a major tsunami that caused casualties and damage from the Kodiak Islands to northern California.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 20, 2014

It's 1964 in Alaska. Imagine 4.5 minutes of powerful ground shaking underneath you from a magnitude 9.2 earthquake. You and your loved ones are then faced with resulting landslides and a devastating tsunami. You just experienced the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America. 

Photo of Santa Fe, New Mexico 2013 United States Topo map
January 22, 2014

The USGS, in cooperation with other Federal agencies, has posted new Idaho US Topo quadrangles (1,193) and New Mexico quads (1,980 maps) which include Public Land Survey System (PLSS). These are added to the growing list of states west of the Mississippi River to have PLSS data added to US Topo maps.

Image: Black Brant Geese
January 21, 2014

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey report that warming temperatures are leading to the creation of high quality habitats for geese along the Arctic coast of Alaska. This scientific finding is contrary to the deleterious effects that warming global temperatures are having on habitats of sea ice-dependent animals, such as polar bear and walrus.

A view of snow-covered Akutan Volcano.
January 9, 2014

Akutan Island, in Alaska’s east-central Aleutian Islands, hosts the City of Akutan and is home to the largest seafood production facility in North America. It also hosts Akutan Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the U.S.

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.