Alaska Science Center

Antibiotic resistant bacteria in migratory birds: evidence for factors driving emergence and the potential for redistribution by wild birds

Antibiotic resistant bacteria have recently been detected in remote northern Alaska near Barrow, suggesting that these evolved bacterial strains are potentially widely distributed amongst avian populations and in proximity to human settlements. The USGS is collaborating with colleagues who initially detected these resistant strains in Alaska to develop a broader perspective on antibiotic resistant bacteria across Alaska.


Antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose challenges to healthcare delivery systems globally; however, limited information is available regarding the prevalence and spread of such bacteria in the environment. The aim of this project was to compare the prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in large-bodied gulls (Larus spp.) at urban and remote locations in southcentral Alaska to gain inference into the association between antibiotic resistance in wildlife and anthropogenically influenced habitats.
Title Type
Sampling, antimicrobial resistance testing, and genomic typing of E. coli in gulls (Larus spp.) on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, 2016Data
Increased prevalence of antibiotic-resistant E. coli in gulls sampled in southcentral Alaska is associated with urban environmentsPublication
Sampling and Resistance and Genomic Typing of Cephalosporin-resistant E. coli in Gulls (Larus spp.) and Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in Southcentral Alaska, 2016Data
Antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli in migratory birds inhabiting remote AlaskaPublication
USGS: Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Migratory BirdsProject Website


Ahlstrom, Christina , 907-786-7174
Ramey, Andrew M., 907-786-7174

Status: onGoing
Start Year: 2015
End Year: 2020

Project Sites

City of Soldotna
Middleton Island
Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge

USGS Mission Area and Program
EcosystemsWildlife Program
Environmental Health → Contaminant Biology

Major Initiatives
USGS - Wildlife Disease Program

Biological Classification > Animals/Vertebrates > Birds