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: 170
Date published: August 21, 2018
Status: Active

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Migratory Birds

Migratory birds, and particularly those using habitats close to human settlements, may be infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria.  The USGS is working with public health professionals to understand the role of birds in the maintenance and dispersal of antibiotic resistant bacteria.  Additionally, the USGS is investigating how antibiotic resistant bacteria in birds may relate to public and...

Date published: August 20, 2018
Status: Active

Wetlands in the Quaternary Project

Wetlands accumulate organic-rich sediment or peat stratigraphically, making them great archives of past environmental change. Wetlands also act as hydrologic buffers on the landscape and are important to global biogeochemical cycling. This project uses wetland archives from a range of environments to better understand how vegetation, hydrology, and hydroclimate has changed on decadal to multi-...

Date published: August 20, 2018
Status: Active

Species Affected by Beak Deformities

At least 30 Alaskan bird species are affected and the geographic extent of the problem appears to be growing.  In addition to Alaskan observations, we have received increasing numbers of reports from other parts of North America and Europe.

Date published: August 19, 2018
Status: Active

Physical Description of Beak Deformities

The most commonly observed physical abnormalities among Alaskan birds are overgrown or crossed beaks.  The severity of the deformities varies, ranging from a nearly indiscernible “overbite” to beaks that are more than double their normal length.  The upper and lower parts of the beak are also frequently crossed or gapped.

Date published: August 18, 2018
Status: Active

Prevalence, Distribution and Timing of Beak Deformities in Birds

The rates of beak deformities documented in Black-capped Chickadees and Northwestern Crows in Alaska are the highest ever recorded within a wild bird population anywhere.

Date published: August 17, 2018
Status: Active

Beak Deformity's Effects on Birds

Birds with beak deformities often have difficulty foraging and preening, and may not be able to keep themselves warm and well-fed during cold winter months.  Although some birds with beak deformities breed successfully, they typically encounter more challenges than normal birds.

Date published: August 16, 2018
Status: Active

Possible Causes for Beak Deformities

Beak deformities can be caused by a variety of factors, including contaminants, nutritional deficiencies, disease, parasites, blunt trauma, or genetic abnormalities. We recently identified a novel picornavirus (Poecivirus) in Black-capped Chickadees with avian keratin disorder (AKD). Our results suggest that Poecivirus is the most likely factor responsible for beak deformities in Alaskan birds...

Date published: August 15, 2018
Status: Active

Literature Cited for Beak Deformities

Literature Cited in the Beak Deformity web pages

Date published: August 14, 2018
Status: Active

Links Related to Beak Deformity Research

Links, videos and news articles related to beak deformity research

Date published: August 13, 2018
Status: Active

Changing Arctic Ecosystems

The USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative will enhance the long-term science foundation needed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and other partners.

Date published: August 10, 2018
Status: Active

Loon Research

Scientists at the USGS Alaska Science Center have conducted research on Alaska’s three loon species since the late 1970s. Loons rely on freshwater lakes for nesting habitat and fish and invertebrates inhabiting lakes and marine ecosystems for food. All three loon species in Alaska occur within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) on Alaska’s northern coast. Research by the USGS is...

Contacts: Brian Uher-Koch
Date published: August 8, 2018
Status: Active

Streambed Scour at Bridges in Alaska

Streambed scour is the leading cause of bridge failure in the United States resulting in over 60 percent of all failures. The Alaska Science Center, in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Alaska Railroad, is researching streambed scour through scour monitoring, hydraulic modeling, and data collection during high flows.  

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: 2,578
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Year Published: 2020

High site fidelity does not equate to population genetic structure for common goldeneye and Barrow's goldeneye in North America

Delineation of population structure provides valuable information for conservation and management of species, as levels of demographic and genetic connectivity not only affect population dynamics but also have important implications for adaptability and resiliency of populations and species. Here, we measure population genetic structure and...

Brown, Joshua I.; Lavretsky, Philip; Wilson, Robert E.; Haughey, Christy; Boyd, W Sean; Esler, Daniel N.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.

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Year Published: 2020

Analyses on subpopulation abundance and annual number of maternal dens for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska

The long-term persistence of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) is threatened by sea-ice loss due to climate change, which is concurrently providing an opportunity in the Arctic for increased anthropogenic activities including natural resource extraction. Mitigating the risk of those activities, which can adversely affect the population dynamics of the...

Atwood, Todd C.; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.; Patil, Vijay P.; Durner, George M.; Douglas, David C.; Simac, Kristin S.
Atwood, T.C., Bromaghin, J.F., Patil, V.P., Durner, G.M., Douglas, D.C., and Simac, K.S., 2020, Analyses on subpopulation abundance and annual number of maternal dens for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1087, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201087.

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Year Published: 2020

Comparative genomics and genomic epidemiology of mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis strains

Two phenotypically distinct strains of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) were recognized in the 1930s but it was not until the introduction of restriction endonuclease analysis (REA) in the mid-1980s that these two strains, MAP-C and MAP-S, could be distinguished genetically. Since then, a plethora of molecular typing techniques...

Stevenson, Karen; Ahlstrom, Christina

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Year Published: 2020

Reliability of external characteristics to age Barrow’s goldeneye

Accurate assignment of age class is critical for understanding most demographic processes. For waterfowl, most techniques for determining age class require birds in hand, reducing utility for quickly and efficiently sampling a large portion of the population. As an alternative, we sought to establish an observation‐based methodology, achievable in...

Lewis, Tyler L.; Esler, Daniel N.; Hogan, Danica H.; Boyd, W Sean; Bowman, Timothy D.; Thompson, Jonathan

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Year Published: 2020

Focus areas for data acquisition for potential domestic resources of 11 critical minerals in Alaska—Aluminum, cobalt, graphite, lithium, niobium, platinum group elements, rare earth elements, tantalum, tin, titanium, and tungsten, chap. C of U.S. Geological Survey, Focus areas for data acquisition for potential domestic sources of critical minerals

Phase 2 of the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI) focuses on geologic belts that are favorable for hosting mineral systems that may contain select critical minerals. Phase 1 of the Earth MRI program focused on rare earth elements (REE), and phase 2 adds aluminum, cobalt, graphite, lithium, niobium, platinum-group metals, tantalum, tin...

Kreiner, Douglas C.; Jones, James V.
Kreiner, D.C., and Jones, J.V., 2020, Focus areas for data acquisition for potential domestic resources of 11 critical minerals in Alaska—Aluminum, cobalt, graphite, lithium, niobium, platinum group elements, rare earth elements, tantalum, tin, titanium, and tungsten, chap. C of U.S. Geological Survey, Focus areas for data acquisition for potential domestic sources of critical minerals: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1023, 20 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191023C.

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Year Published: 2020

A manipulative thermal challenge protocol for adult salmonids in remote field settings

Manipulative experiments provide stronger evidence for identifying cause-and-effect relationships than correlative studies, but protocols for implementing temperature manipulations are lacking for large species in remote settings. We developed an experimental protocol for holding adult Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and exposing them to...

Donnelly, Daniel S.; von Biela, Vanessa R.; McCormick, Stephen D.; Laske, Sarah M.; Carey, Michael P.; Waters, Shannon C.; Bowen, Lizabeth; Brown, Randy J; Larson, Sean; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2020

Transcriptomic response to elevated water temperatures in adult migrating Yukon River Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) declines are widespread and may be attributed, at least in part, to warming river temperatures. Water temperatures in the Yukon River and tributaries often exceed 18°C, a threshold commonly associated with heat stress and elevated mortality in Pacific salmon. Untangling the complex web of direct and...

Bowen, Lizabeth; von Biela, Vanessa R.; McCormick, Stephen D.; Regish, Amy M.; Waters, Shannon C.; Durbin-Johnson, Blythe; Britton, Monica; Settles, Matt; Donnelly, Daniel S.; Laske, Sarah M.; Carey, Michael P.; Brown, Randy J; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2020

Keystone predators govern the pathway and pace of climate impacts in a subarctic marine ecosystem

Predator loss and climate change are hallmarks of the Anthropocene yet their interactive effects are largely unknown. Here, we show that massive calcareous reefs, built slowly by the alga Clathromorphum nereostratum over centuries to millennia, are now declining because of the emerging interplay between these two processes. Such reefs,...

Rasher, Douglas B; Stenek, Robert S; Halfar, Jochen; Kroeker, Kristy J; Ries, Justin B.; Tinker, M. Tim; Chan, Phoebe T W; Fietzke, J; Kamenos, Nicolas; Konar, Brenda H.; Lefcheck, Jonathan S.; Norley, Christopher J D; Weitzman, Ben; Westfield, Isaac T; Estes, James A

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Year Published: 2020

Microbiomes from biorepositories? 16S rRNA bacterial amplicon sequencing of archived and contemporary intestinal samples of wild mammals (Eulipotyphla: Soricidae)

Interest in gut microbial community composition has exploded recently as a result of the increasing ability to characterize these organisms and a growing understanding of their role in host fitness. New technologies, such as next generation amplicon (16S rRNA) sequencing, have enabled identification of bacterial communities from samples of diverse...

Greiman, Stephen E.; Cook, Joseph A.; Odem, Timothy; Cranmer, Katelyn; Liphardt, Schuyler W; Menning, Damian M.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2020

Influenza A viruses remain infectious for more than seven months in northern wetlands of North America

In this investigation, we used a combination of field- and laboratory-based approaches to assess if influenza A viruses (IAVs) shed by ducks could remain viable for extended periods in surface water within three wetland complexes of North America. In a field experiment, replicate filtered surface water samples inoculated with duck swabs were...

Ramey, Andrew M.; Reeves, Andrew B.; Drexler, Judith Z.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; De La Cruz, Susan E. W.; Lang, Andrew S.; Leyson, Christina; Link, Paul T.; Prosser, Diann; Robertson, Gregory J.; Wight, Jordan; Youk, Sungsu; Spackman, Erica; Pantin-Jackwood, Mary; Poulson, Rebecca L.; Stallknecht, David E.

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Year Published: 2020

Drivers and consequences of apex predator diet composition in the Canadian Beaufort Sea

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) rely on annual sea ice as their primary habitat for hunting marine mammal prey. Given their long lifespan, wide geographic distribution, and position at the top of the Arctic marine food web, the diet composition of polar bears can provide insights into temporal and spatial ecosystem dynamics related to climate-...

Florko, Katie R. N.; Thiemann, Gregory W.; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.

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Year Published: 2020

Evidence of prevalent heat stress in Yukon River Chinook salmon

Migrating adult Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) are sensitive to warm water (>18 °C), with a range of consequences from decreased spawning success to early mortality. We examined the proportion of Yukon River Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) exhibiting evidence of heat stress to assess the potential that high temperatures contribute to...

von Biela, Vanessa R.; Bowen, Lizabeth; McCormick, Stephen D.; Carey, Michael P.; Donnelly, Daniel S.; Waters, Shannon C.; Regish, Amy M.; Laske, Sarah M.; Brown, Randy J; Larson, Sean; Zuray, Stan; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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: 983
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 in Alaska. 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. For more

...
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.

Beaver lodge and drained impoundment in tributary of the Noatak River, Noatak National Preserve
June 12, 2019

Beaver lodge and drained impoundment in tributary of the Noatak River

Beaver lodge and drained impoundment in tributary of the Noatak River, Noatak National Preserve

Impounded water above beaver dam on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve
June 12, 2019

Impounded water above beaver dam on the Wrench Creek

Impounded water above beaver dam on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve

Beaver dam and lodge on the Ahaliknak Creek, Noatak National Preserve
June 9, 2019

Beaver dam and lodge on the Ahaliknak Creek, Noatak National Preserve

Beaver dam and lodge on the Ahaliknak Creek, Noatak National Preserve

Chilkat River bridge
May 30, 2019

Chilkat River bridge

Chilkat River bridge

Chilkat River sonar on a bridge
May 30, 2019

Chilkat River sonar on a bridge

Chilkat River sonar on a bridge

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 253
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

Painting - Denali in Midsummer
June 21, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey has produced a new compilation of landscape-scale sediment and soil geochemical data for Alaska. This was last completed nearly 40 years ago in 1978, but the new effort uses modern modeling and analysis techniques to map 68 elements across a newly developed and updated geochemical atlas of Alaska.

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.

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:

Filter Total Items: 55