Alaska Science Center

Understanding Ecological Change in Intertidal Areas of Coastal Regions in Alaska Important to the Department of the Interior Through Long-Term Monitoring and Process Studies

Development of monitoring study designs to detect change in intertidal regions; process studies to understand causes of change.


The thousands of kilometers of Northeast Pacific coast contained within National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska represent some of the most remote, pristine coastal areas in the United States. The apex biological resources such as marine mammals, seabirds, salmon, and bears that are central to enabling legislation and are so much a part of the visitor experience, depend on healthy prey bases and habitats and the broader oceanographic and climatic factors affecting them. The biologically rich and productive coastal communities are facing increased anthropogenic pressures. At the present time, it is difficult to determine if observed changes in species or variations in habitat are a result of natural forces or anthropogenic factors, including climate change. To detect change within these spatially extensive biological communities, appropriately designed monitoring is needed. The causes of changes observed during the monitoring or anticipated from other studies are investigated through process-based studies.
Title Type
Alaska Science Center PublicationsPublication


Irvine, Gail V., 907.786.7069

Status: completed
Start Year: 1994
End Year: 2012

Project Sites

NPS - Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
NPS - Katmai National Park and Preserve

USGS Mission Area and Program
EcosystemsStatus and Trends

Major Initiatives
USGS - Marine and Freshwater Ecology