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David Gregory-Kumar

David Gregory-Kumar Science & Environment correspondent, BBC News

From laboratories to landfills, the science and environment stories that affect you

Mysterious starling murmuration secrets unlocked?

  • 29 October 2014
  • From the section England
Starlings
Murmurations can involve up to 50,000 birds or more

A starling murmuration is an extraordinary sight.

Seen at dusk the sky darkens as thousands of birds flock to form complex shapes overhead - the only sound the beating of thousands of pairs of wings and the soft splot of droppings meaning a visit to the car wash and an umbrella if you get up close.

I'll never forget the first time I filmed one, but for such an amazing natural spectacle we know surprisingly little about why they happen and what they are for.

For the most part it's mathematicians and physicists who have carried out most of the research looking at the patterns and practicalities of how thousands of birds avoid smashing into each other.

Simple survey

But there's a bit of a gap in our biological knowledge explaining why murmurations actually occur.

Read full article Mysterious starling murmuration secrets unlocked?

Farm subsidies: does the CAP still fit for farmers?

  • 24 October 2014
  • From the section England
Farmer at work
It's hard to get on with your job without a clear idea of how the new Common Agricultural Policy will work

I do love a big pile of data and frankly they don't get bigger than farmsubsidy.org.

It's a website run by the European Fund for Investigative Journalism that allows you to search for cash paid out from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Read full article Farm subsidies: does the CAP still fit for farmers?

Are urban badgers a problem or a boon to city life?

  • 30 September 2014
  • From the section England
Peter Wall's garden
The badgers have found larvae and insects underneath the turf

So, badgers have invaded a garden in a Birmingham suburb and done a fair bit of damage to what should be a nice piece of lawn.

Owner Peter Wall got in touch with BBC Midlands Today, and he is certainly unhappy.

Read full article Are urban badgers a problem or a boon to city life?

My night testing out a brand new sleep laboratory

  • 23 September 2014
  • From the section England
Dr David Gregory-Kumar asleep in the lab
I am one of the university's early test subjects

I'm trying to go to sleep.

I am lying in a very comfortable bed. There is the calming white-noise of air conditioning somewhere. I could be in any modern hotel.

Read full article My night testing out a brand new sleep laboratory

Supercharging the humble 999 call with streaming video

  • 27 July 2014
  • From the section England
Smethwick fire
The fire in Smethwick involved 100,000 tonnes of plastic recycling material, produced a 6,000ft smoke plume and is thought to have caused £6m damage to the Jayplas depot

I recently went along to the West Midlands Fire Service HQ in Birmingham to hear them discuss some new ideas they've been looking at to "supercharge" the traditional 999 emergency call.

A year ago, the service was still dealing with one of the largest fires we've ever seen in the West Midlands.

Read full article Supercharging the humble 999 call with streaming video

Badger cull 'won't control bovine TB'

  • 2 July 2014
  • From the section England
Badger
The paper, written by the universities of Warwick and Cambridge, suggests a badger cull has only a small impact on the spread of bovine TB

Bovine TB is a slow moving, unpleasant disease that is having a huge impact on the health of our cattle and on our wildlife.

But we know surprisingly little about how it spreads and what is the most effective way to control it.

Read full article Badger cull 'won't control bovine TB'

Quinoa: From Bolivia to the fields of Shropshire

  • 1 July 2014
  • From the section England
Stephen Jones and David Gregory-Kumar
Stephen Jones expects to produce about 100 tonnes of quinoa in Ellesmere this year

So the UK's first commercial crop of quinoa is currently ripening in fields just south of Ellesmere in Shropshire.

Quinoa is a trendy grain that is booming in popularity.

Read full article Quinoa: From Bolivia to the fields of Shropshire

University of Warwick helps safeguard our vegetables

  • 12 June 2014
  • From the section England
Rows of plants

Who knows what difficulties the future farmers of the UK might face?

A lack of water, new diseases or insect pests could all cause problems for the crops they grow. But researchers at the University of Warwick are charged with protecting our lettuces, carrots and other vegetables with their seed bank.

Read full article University of Warwick helps safeguard our vegetables

Hunting the pine marten, the Midlands' rarest mammal

  • 1 June 2014
  • From the section England
Pine Marten
Photo of a Scottish Pine Marten

Pine Martens are some of our rarest Midlands mammals.

Possibly rare to the point of no longer being here.

Read full article Hunting the pine marten, the Midlands' rarest mammal

Adders and barn owls struggle after bad winter

  • 28 May 2014
  • From the section England
An adder

Last year was a pretty poor one for Midlands' wildlife. Filming this year's Springwatch we came across plenty of stories of low numbers and even talk of population crashes for some species.

We've focused in particular on the problems faced by adders and barn owls. Both are species that really suffered because of the snow and delayed spring in 2013.

Read full article Adders and barn owls struggle after bad winter

About David

David grew up in the rolling hills of Hertfordshire roaming the fields and helping out on local farms.

He studied physics at the University of Liverpool and stayed on after graduating to try his hand at research. This would lead to his PhD looking at the behaviour of atomic layers of potassium on silicon.

While writing up his research he tried freelance reporting and discovered he really enjoyed it. So after picking up his PhD he began working for the BBC.

His work for the corporation has taken him all over the world and through tornados, earthquakes, floods and riots. His favourite story remains the discovery of a nuclear fuel rod in a Tamworth scrap yard.

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