Alaska Science Center
Wildlife and Habitat Research
Welcome to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) web page for wildlife and habitat resources of Alaska. The USGS Alaska Science Center provides objective and timely data, information, and research findings to Federal, State, and local resource managers and the public to support sound decisions regarding natural resources, natural hazards, and landscapes in Alaska and circumpolar regions.
Terrestrial Wildlife and Habitats
The USGS conducts research on trust Department of Interior migratory bird and mammal species and their habitats to inform agencies such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service in their natural resource management decisions. The Alaska Science Center focuses its research on a wide range of species important to the Department, such as Landbirds, Waterfowl, Shorebirds, and Terrestrial Mammals. Much of this work takes place in the Arctic to inform energy development and natural resource management.
Wildlife Disease and Genetics
Alaska is a geographically important focus of the national biosurveillance program and the study of Wildlife Disease and Environmental Health because it lies within the migratory routes of birds that move between North America and East Asia. Several wildlife pathogens have emerged in East Asia that have been economically damaging to the U.S. Because of these migratory routes, Alaska is a likely location for initial introductions of foreign-origin avian diseases such as Avian Influenza. Thus, research and surveillance in Alaska informs not only wildlife disease issues in the state, such as Beak Deformities in Landbirds, but also biosecurity for all of North America. Much of this work involves the use of Genetics, but these methods are also used for many natural resource questions in Alaska.
Marine Wildlife and Habitats
The USGS conducts research on marine wildlife, habitats, and processes to provide science to inform our partners as they make decisions relative to species status, resource use, and human activities. Our team studies Polar Bears, Walruses, Sea Otters, and Seabirds which are trust species for the Department of Interior. In addition, significant work is done on processes in the Nearshore Ecosystem, status of Forage Fish upon which sea birds rely, the terrestrial influence on Glacial-marine Food Webs, the re-colonization of Kasatochi Island following a volcanic eruption in 2008, and the recovery of the Gulf of Alaska following the Exxon Valdez oil spill through the Gulf Watch program.
Fish and Aquatic Habitats in Alaska support important commercial, sport, and subsistence fisheries and provide forage fish that support wildlife populations. The USGS Alaska Science Center conducts interdisciplinary research to inform local, state, federal, and international policy makers regarding conservation of fish, aquatic species, and their habitats.