Alaska Science Center

Avian health and ecology of wildlife disease in Alaska

Environmental health is defined by connections between the physical environment, ecological health, and human health. Current research within the 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 resources, Alaska is a critical area for future study of environmental health.


With more than 30 years of ecological research in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions and a state-of-the-art molecular genetics facility, the Alaska Science Center is uniquely positioned to respond to new and existing issues in wildlife disease and environmental health. Long-term research and monitoring programs focus on a diversity of species including resident and migratory birds, caribou, fish, sea otters, polar bears, and walrus and provide important baseline information about the health of Alaskan wildlife. Ecological data are integrated with surveillance efforts to provide a better understanding of the connections between climate change, disease, and demographic impacts on wildlife populations. This information is valuable to community, state, and federal partners, such as the Climate, Ecosystems and Human Health Work Group, an inter-agency group that addresses the effects of climate change on human health in Alaska.
Title Type
Cryptosporidium and Giardia Occurrence Data in Wildlife from Arctic Alaska, 2012-2017Data
Wildlife Disease and Environmental Health in AlaskaProject Website
Tissue Concentrations and Congener Profiles of Harmful Algal Toxins in Seabirds, Forage Fish, and Other OrganismsData
Data Associated with Poecivirus Testing of Individual Birds with Beak DeformitiesData
Algal toxins in Alaskan seabirds: Evaluating the role of saxitoxin and domoic acid in a large-scale die-off of Common MurresPublication
Avian keratin disorder of Alaska black-capped chickadees is associated with Poecivirus infectionPublication


Smith, Matthew M., 907-786-7184
Van Hemert, Caroline R., 907-786-7167

Status: onGoing
Start Year: 2012
End Year: 2024

Alaska Department of Fish and Game
FWS - Alaska Region

USGS Mission Area and Program
EcosystemsWildlife Program

Major Initiatives
USGS - Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative
USGS - Wetlands and Terrestrial Ecology