Human activities are cumulatively driving the health of the world's oceans down a rapid spiral, and only prompt and wholesale changes will slow or perhaps ultimately reverse the catastrophic problems they are facing.

Bumblebees choose whether to search for food according to how stocked their nests are, say scientists from Queen Mary, University of London.

When bumblebees return to the nest from a successful foraging mission, they produce a pheromone which encourages their nest mates to also go out and find food. Scientists had originally thought that these pheromones elicited a standard response from all bees. But new research from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences has shown that bees' response to the pheromone changes according to their situation.

The first scientific mission with Sentry, a newly developed robot capable of diving as deep as 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) into the ocean, has been successfully completed by scientists and engineers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of Washington (UW).

The vehicle surveyed and helped pinpoint several proposed deep-water sites for seafloor instruments that will be deployed in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s planned Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI).

The prospect of climate change sparking food and water shortages in the Middle East is less likely than previously thought, with new research by an Australian climate scientist suggesting that rainfall will be significantly higher in key parts of the region.

Elephant seals are helping scientists overcome a critical blind-spot in their ability to detect change in Southern Ocean circulation and sea ice production and its influence on global climate.

According to a paper published today by a team of French, Australian, US and British scientists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, elephant seals fitted with special oceanographic sensors are providing a 30-fold increase in data recorded in parts of the Southern Ocean rarely observed using traditional ocean monitoring techniques.

Diamonds from Brazil have provided the answers to a question that Earth scientists have been trying to understand for many years: how is oceanic crust that has been subducted deep into the Earth recycled back into volcanic rocks? A team of researchers, led by the University of Bristol, working alongside colleagues at the STFC Daresbury Laboratory, have gained a deeper insight into how the Earth recycles itself in the deep earth tectonic cycle way beyond the depths that can be accessed by drilling.

1. Fast rise of scorching days predicted

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Douglas-fir, state tree of Oregon, towering king of old-growth forests and one of the tallest tree species on Earth, finally stops growing taller because it just can't pull water any higher, a new study concludes.

This limit on height is somewhere above 350 feet, or taller than a 35-story building, and is a physiological tradeoff between two factors in the tree's wood - a balance between efficiency and safety in transporting water to the uppermost leaves.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- There's little debate that, when a tree falls near a city street, it makes a sound. But other questions are more difficult to answer: Who is affected by the falling tree and how? Who is liable for the damage? And who is responsible for deciding how to replace the tree?

A paper written by an Indiana University professor and doctoral student, and presented at two international conferences, argues that thinking of street trees as a "common-pool resource" can help lead to better management of an under-appreciated community asset.

Inwood Hill Park survived the drastic modifications of Revolutionary War patriots, but preserving this last bastion of large-growth, mature trees in New York City is difficult with the proliferation of invasive species and hard human use, according to biologists. They suggest the situation warrants a plan in collaboration with those studying the park.