A popcorn shrimp in its mushroom coral, photo by Daniel Gearyat Atmosphere Resort Philippines

Last month our marine biologist, Kirsty Richards, launched the new (and exclusive) PADI Critters Specialty course at Atmosphere. I’ve always loved collecting things, whether it is Polaroid photographs, Pokémon cards or PADI Specialties. When I discovered that at the end of this particular specialty, I’d be better able to find a spotted porcelain crab, or an ornate ghost pipefish – I was sold. Despite being in from the get-go, I had to patiently wait my turn as the course has been an instant hit at Atmosphere. Marine Biology 101 One balmy October evening, we communed for the first part of …

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Blue Ringed octopus by Donald Tan at Atmosphere Resorts & Spa Philippines

Octopus season is upon us! At least seven species are seen along Dauin’s coast (if you know where to look). However, there is more to these clever cephalopods than meets the eye. What you don’t know about octopuses… They’re related to your common garden snail Octopuses are members of the Phylum “Mollusca”, which puts them in the same mixing pot as snails, nudibranchs and scallops. All molluscs have some form of shell and bilateral symmetry (split them in half & the two sections appear the same). One heart just isn’t enough – they have 3! The main heart pumps blood …

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Atmosphere launches the new PADI Critter Specialty course

We are incredibly excited to launch our new PADI Critters of Dauin specialty course! The incredible diversity of critters along Dauin’s coast has long been a well-kept secret. But not anymore. As the cat slowly gets teased out of the bag, we are launching the PADI Critters Specialty, unique to Atmosphere! Are you a diver who loves cryptic and colourful critters and would like to know more about what makes them tick? Do you think “how on earth did they find that?” when your dive guide points out a tiny hairy shrimp, then this specialty is for you. Kirsty created and …

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Anemonefish in Dauin, Philippines, at Atmopshere Resorts & Spa. Photo by Kirsty Richards

Among the shrimp, frogfish and octopus of Dauin’s coastline, you can find a plethora of anemonefish/clownfish (same, same). We don’t just have one, two, or three, but at least seven different species of this characterful and famous little fish! Found within the fleshy tentacles of 10 species of anemone, anemonefish spend their whole lives in the vicinity of their host. Their relationship is win-win (technical term = obligatory symbionts). In short, the fish are protected from predation by living within the stinging tentacles (a thick mucus protects the fish from being stung). At the same time, it provides cleaning and …

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The humble sea cucumber is not a marine creature which gets a lot of love. Although, spend a few minutes reading up on them and you’ll discover they’re quite the creature with plenty of hidden secrets! Closely related to starfish within the group “Echinoderms”, sea cucumbers have diverged from the 5 fold symmetry of a starfish to a single, cucumber-like, body. With over 1,250 different species, sea cucumbers can be found from the shallowest of tropical lagoons to the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean. Vacuum cleaners of the ocean Ever seen links of what looks like sand poop? It’s …

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