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: 174
Lowe River Flood outside of Valdez, Alaska
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.  

Many types of small fish laid out on the table for counting
Date Published: August 2, 2018
Status: Active

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

Forage fish are an important node in marine food webs because they link primary and secondary producers with higher trophic levels.

2 Black-legged Kittiwakes, one captured Pacific sand lance
Date Published: August 2, 2018
Status: Active

Cook Inlet Seabird and Forage Fish Study

A massive die-off of Common Murres was documented in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) during the fall and winter of 2015-2016 in association with a record-breaking marine heat wave in the GOA.

A bucket of the trawl catch of forage fish
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.

Kasatochi volcano as seen from 17,000 feet ASL....
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.

Snow Goose near the Colville River, northern Alaska
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

Two Black Brant in a wetland near the Colville River Delta
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...

A Yellow-billed Loon swimming in a small lake
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...

A satellite tagged Pacific walrus on a piece of sea ice
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...

UAS discharge measurement Tanana River Train Bridge AK
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...

Pacific walrus hauled out on ice
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 Paul Laustsen.

Polar bear after darting before going down
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.

Filter Total Items: 2,397
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Year Published: 2019

A ship's ballasting history as an indicator of foraminiferal invasion potential--An example from Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA

We investigated the potential role of ballast sediment from coastal and transoceanic oil tankers arriving and de-ballasting in Port Valdez as a vector for the introduction of invasive benthic foraminifera in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Forty-one ballast sediment samples were obtained in 1998-1999 from 11 oil tankers that routinely discharged...

McGann, Mary; Ruiz, Gregory M.; Hines, Anson H.; Smith, George D.

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Year Published: 2019

User guide to the FireCLIME Vulnerability Assessment (VA) Tool: A rapid and flexible system for assessing ecosystem vulnerability to climate-fire interactions

Decisionmakers need better methods for identifying critical ecosystem vulnerabilities to changing climate and fire regimes. Climate-wildfire-vegetation interactions are complex and hinder classification and projection necessary for development of management strategies. One such vulnerability assessment (VA) is FireCLIME VA, which allows users to...

Friggens, Megan; Loehman, Rachel A.; Thode, Andi; Flatley, William T.; Evans, Alexander; Bunn, Windy; Wilcox, Craig; Mueller, Stephanie; Yocum, Larissa; Falk, Donald A.
Friggens, M.; Loehman, R.; Thode, A.; Flatley, W.; Evans, A.; Bunn, W.; Wilcox, C.; Mueller, S.; Yocom, L.; Falk, D. 2019. User guide to the FireCLIME Vulnerability Assessment (VA) tool: A rapid and flexible system for assessing ecosystem vulnerability to climate-fire interactions. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-395. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 42 p.

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Year Published: 2019

Annual winter site fidelity of Barrow's goldeneyes in the Pacific

Coastal regions on the Pacific north coast of North America provide important wintering habitat for many species of sea ducks. Although winter range and habitat preferences are well described for most species, fidelity to coastal wintering sites is generally undocumented. Fidelity is an important factor necessary for understanding interactions...

Willie, Megan; Esler, Daniel N.; Boyd, W. Sean; Bowman, Timothy D.; Schamber, Jason; Thompson, Jonathan

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Year Published: 2019

The 30 November 2018 Mw7.1 Anchorage Earthquake

The Mw">Mw 7.1 47 km deep earthquake that occurred on 30 November 2018 had deep societal impacts across southcentral Alaska and exhibited phenomena of broad scientific interest. We document observations that point to future directions of research and hazard mitigation. The rupture mechanism, aftershocks, and deformation of the...

West, Michael E.; Bender, Adrian; Gardine, Matthew; Gardine, Lea; Gately, Kara; Haeussler, Peter; Hassan, Wael; Meyer, Franz; Richards, Cole; Ruppert, Natalia; Tape, Carl; Thornley, John; Witter, Robert

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Year Published: 2019

Physiological and gene transcription assays to assess responses of mussels to environmental changes

Coastal regions worldwide face increasing management concerns due to natural and anthropogenic forces that have the potential to significantly degrade nearshore marine resources. The goal of our study was to develop and test a monitoring strategy for nearshore marine ecosystems in remote areas that are not readily accessible for sampling. Mussel...

Counihan, Katrina; Bowen, Lizabeth; Ballachey, Brenda; Coletti, Heather A.; Hollman, Tuula; Pister, Benjamin; Wilson, Tammy L

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Year Published: 2019

Effects of ocean climate on the length and condition of forage fish in the Gulf of Alaska

Climatic drivers of the size and body condition of forage fish in the North Pacific are poorly known. We hypothesized that length and condition of forage fish in the Gulf of Alaska (GoA) should vary in relation to ocean temperature on multiple scales. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed morphometric data for capelin (Mallotus catervarius) and...

Sarah Ann Thompson; Marisol Garcia-Reyes; William Sydeman; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Scott Hatch; Piatt, John F.

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Year Published: 2019

Circumpolar patterns of Arctic freshwater fish biodiversity: A baseline for monitoring

1. Climate change, biological invasions, and anthropogenic disturbance pose a threat to the biodiversity and function of Arctic freshwater ecosystems. Understanding potential changes in fish species distribution and richness is necessary, given the great importance of fish to the function of freshwater ecosystems and as a resource to humans....

Laske, Sarah M.; Amundsen, Per-Arne; Christoffersen, Kirsten; Erkinaro, Jaakko; Guðbergsson, Guðni; Hayden, Brian; Heino, Jani; Holmgren, Kerstin; Kahilainen, Kimmo K.; Lento, Jennifer; Orell, Panu; Östergren, Johan; Power, Michael; Rafikov, Ruslan; Romakkaniemi, Atso; Svenning, Martin-A.; Swanson, Heidi K.; Whitman, Matthew; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2019

Reanalysis of the U.S. Geological Survey Benchmark Glaciers: Long-term insight into climate forcing of glacier mass balance

Mountain glaciers integrate climate processes to provide an unmatched signal of regional climate forcing. However, extracting the climate signal via intercomparison of regional glacier mass balance records can be problematic when methods for extrapolating and calibrating direct glaciological measurements are mixed or inconsistent. To address this...

O'Neel, Shad; McNeil, Christopher J.; Sass, Louis C.; Florentine, Caitlyn; Baker, Emily; Peitzsch, Erich; McGrath, Daniel J; Fountain, Andrew G.; Fagre, Daniel B.

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Year Published: 2019

DNA Sequencing confirms Tundra Bean Goose (Anser serrirostris serrirostris) occurrence in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley in Arkansas, USA

—First sighting records of rare occurrences may become increasingly important for recognizing changes in distribution, changes in migratory strategies, or increases in hybridization. We focumented the first record of a Tundra Bean Goose in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, the outlet and historic floodplain for much of North America and one of the...

Osborne, Douglas C.; Wilson, Robert E.; Carlson, Lindsay; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2019

Factors promoting the recolonization of Oahu, Hawaii, by Bristle-thighed Curlews

Suitable habitat for Arctic-breeding migratory shorebirds is decreasing at their traditional wintering islands and atolls in the Central Pacific Flyway (i.e., Oceania) due to habitat degradation, reclamation, and sea-level rise. To maintain the size and resiliency of their populations, migratory shorebirds will need to expand their winter ranges...

Tibbitts, Lee; Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Underwood, Jared G.; Patil, Vijay P.

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Year Published: 2019

Reference intervals for blood-based biochemical analytes of southern Beaufort Sea polar bears

Accurate reference intervals (RI) for commonly measured blood-based analytes are essential for health monitoring programs. Baseline values for a panel of analytes can be used to monitor physiologic and pathophysiologic processes such as organ function, electrolyte balance, and protein catabolism. Our reference population includes 651 serum...

Fry, Tricia; Friedrichs, Kristen R.; Atwood, Todd C.; Duncan, Colleen G.; Simac, Kristin S.; Goldberg, Tony

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Year Published: 2019

Evaluation of maternal penning to improve calf survival in the Chisana Caribou Herd

Predation is a major limiting factor for most small sedentary caribou (Rangifer tarandus) populations, particularly those that are threatened or endangered across the southern extent of the species’ range. Thus, reducing predation impacts is often a management goal for improving the status of small caribou populations, and lethal predator removal...

Adams, Layne G.; Farnell, Richard G.; Oakley, Michelle P.; Jung, Thomas; Larocque, Lorne; Lortie, Grant; McLelland, Jamie; Reid, Mason; Roffler, Gretchen H.; Russell, Don

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: 986
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.

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

Canning River with Brooks Range in the background
April 24, 2019

Canning River with Brooks Range in the background

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

Knik River bridge aerial view
April 22, 2019

Knik River bridge aerial view

Knik River bridge aerial view

Twentymile River bridge
March 27, 2019

Twentymile River bridge

Twentymile bridge

A photo from the sky of a coastline showing areas of sediment and water as well as land features like roads.
February 26, 2019

Orthophotomosaic image, north coast of Barter Island, July 1, 2014

Aerial photographs were collected from a small, fixed-wing aircraft over the coast of Barter Island, Alaska on July 01 2014, September 07 2014. Precise aircraft position information and structure-from-motion photogrammetric methods were combined to derive a high-resolution orthophotomosaic. This orthophotomosaic contain 3-band, 8-bit, unsigned raster data (red/green/blue;

...
Evidence of turbidity currents in Eklutna Lake triggered by shaking during the 2018 Mw7.1 Anchorage earthquake
February 16, 2019

Evidence of turbidity currents in Eklutna Lake

USGS scientists, working with researchers from the University of Ghent, probed the floor of Eklutna Lake, Anchorage Borough, Alaska, for evidence of turbidity currents triggered by strong shaking during the 2018 Mw7.1 Anchorage earthquake. In this photo, USGS scientist Peter Haeussler points to a dark layer at the top of a sediment core taken from the floor of Eklutna Lake

...
house next to landslide with snowcovered ground
December 31, 2018

Landslide near Potter Hill, Anchorage, Alaska

Landslide near Potter Hill, Anchorage, Alaska, after 2018 Anchorage earthquake.

Map of AK showing probability of change occurrence
December 31, 2018

Map of AK showing probability of change occurrence

Map of Alaska showing probability (%) of change occurrence. Insets show fire boundaries from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Large Fire Database and Landsat 8 imagery (bottom right; 2016) north of Fairbanks, Alaska.

USGS researcher Erich Peitzsch holds a tree cross section to look for irregular rings.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

USGS researcher Erich Peitzsch holds a tree cross section to look for irregular rings.

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 247
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. 

Alaska Geologic Map
January 5, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A new digital geologic map of Alaska is being released today providing land users, managers and scientists geologic information for the evaluation of land use in relation to resource extraction, conservation, natural hazards and recreation.

Caribou walking in a line in the winter in Northern Alaska
December 18, 2015

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer, of course, is another common name for caribou (Rangifer tarandus) a large, cold-adapted, herding herbivore related to deer, elk and moose.

Current probability of near-surface permafrost in Alaska
November 30, 2015

Using statistically modeled maps drawn from satellite data and other sources, U.S. Geological Survey scientists have projected that the near-surface permafrost that presently underlies 38 percent of boreal and arctic Alaska would be reduced by 16 to 24 percent by the end of the 21st century under widely accepted climate scenarios.

Planned US Topo map production schedule for the next three- year revision cycle
November 19, 2015

With the release of new US Topo maps for Illinois and South Dakota, the USGS has completed the second, three-year cycle of revising and updating electronic US Topo quadrangles. This means that since late 2009, the USGS has published nearly every map in the conterminous U.S., twice.

Thermokarst
November 12, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Large and severe tundra fires cause top down permafrost thaw, playing a major role in altering Arctic landscapes according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 19, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A new scientific study predicts that some of Alaska’s mammal species will respond to future climate warming by concentrating in northern areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska. If true, for many species, this would be a significant northward shift into tundra habitats where they are currently absent.

Image: Repairing Seismic Stations in Alaska
October 15, 2015

The Alaska Volcano Observatory has recently completed repairs to seismic monitoring equipment on Aniakchak Volcano on the Alaska Peninsula that have restored ground-based monitoring at the volcano.

Image: Blueberry
October 6, 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey today announced the publication of a new study examining how Alaska’s tribal environmental managers and local observer networks view statewide trends in wild berry harvests.

Image: Severe Coastal Erosion During an El Niño Storm
September 21, 2015

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The projected upsurge of severe El Niño and La Niña events will cause an increase in storm events leading to extreme coastal flooding and erosion in populated regions across the Pacific Ocean, according to a multi-agency study published today in Nature Geoscience.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 10, 2015

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Some of the inner workings of Earth’s subduction zones and their “megathrust” faults are revealed in a paper published today in the journal “Science.” U.S. Geological Survey scientist Jeanne Hardebeck calculated the frictional strength of subduction zone faults worldwide, and the stresses they are under.

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.