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Weekly Highlights for 3-29-2012

Departmental/Bureau News

USGS and USDA Collaborate on Study Investigating the Role of Aquatic Invertebrates as a Vector for Avian Influenza Virus
USGS Alaska Science Center wildlife biologist Brandt Meixell will be conducting laboratory experiments with Mark Borchardt, Ph.D. Research Microbiologist and other scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Marshfield, WI April 16 – 20. Dr. Borchardt operates a research program on water-borne pathogens that is jointly supported by the USDA and the USGS Wisconsin Water Science Center. The focus of the current joint research is to investigate the ability of filter-feeding aquatic invertebrates (Daphnia maga) to accumulate avian influenza from lake water and assess the potential role of Daphnia species as a vector of avian influenza to aquatic birds in Alaska and elsewhere in North America. Results will inform the understanding of biotic and environmental factors on avian influenza transmission and maintenance in aquatic systems.
Contact: Brandt Meixell Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7157

New USGS Geodatabase Published for Augustine Volcano, Alaska
Collaboration between scientists from the USGS Alaska Science Center and Volcano Science Center has produced a newly published geospatial (GIS) database of recent volcanic deposits on Augustine Volcano, Alaska. The U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 677 publication is the database for Professional Paper 1762, which features geologic mapping by Richard Waitt and Jim Beget, and can be found online at: . The database would be of interest to anyone studying the eruptive history and volcanic deposits of Augustine Island.
Contact: Jacqueline McIntire, (907) 786-7000

USGS Provides Outreach on Polar Bear Program to North Slope Borough
On March 28, USGS Alaska Science Center research biologist, Lily Peacock presented an overview of the USGS polar bear research program to the North Slope Borough. The talk discussed filed work currently being conducted in the southern Beaufort Sea between Barrow, Alaska and the Canadian border. Data from this fieldwork will be used to refine population estimates and vital rates, evaluate polar bear health and diet, monitor polar bear body metrics, and examine polar bear habitat use and movement patterns. The presentation was part of an ongoing effort to keep our partners, Native communities, and the public informed about our research. For more information about ongoing polar bear research please visit
Contact: Lily Peacock Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7000

Press Inquiries/Media

USGS Alaska Science Center scientists Karen Oakley and Lily Peacock answered questions regarding polar bear biology and the arctic environment for an article that was published in The Washington Post National on March 25. The article entitled “Captivity could help polar bears survive global warming assault, some zoos say” may be found at
Contact: Lily Peacock Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7000

Lily Peacock, USGS Alaska Science Center scientist, participated in a call in radio show on March 20 concerning polar bear issues and the USGS upcoming polar bear field work along the North Slope of Alaska. The show was broadcast in Barrow, AK and gave community members the opportunity to ask questions or voice their concerns.
Contact: Lily Peacock Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7000


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