Atmosphere StaffMarine BiologyPADI CoursesScuba Diving

Meet Reiss – Our New Marine Biologist!

By 15th February 2024February 16th, 2024No Comments
Picture of Reiss Bush, the new marine biologist at Atmosphere Resorts & Spa, Dauin, Philippines

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be working here at Atmosphere in our little slice of tropical paradise. Taking over the position of in-house marine biologist from Kirsty and “Dr. Frogfish” is never going to be easy, but I am definitely up for the challenge! I hope to meet many of you in person and I will be posting regularly on this blog, so prepare yourself for plenty of dive and marine biology content. But first let me introduce a little bit about myself, how I became a marine biologist and what my role is here at Atmosphere.

I used to be scared of the ocean!

Growing up in a combination of England and the Middle East, I was fortunate enough to experience a mix of very different environments and cultures from an early age. This could be one of the reasons that for as long as I can remember, I’ve had an interest in animals and the environment – as a child I wanted to either be a vet, zookeeper or a park ranger. Believe it or not, when I was younger I was absolutely petrified of the ocean! I was so scared of sharks that when my brothers threw me into the shallow water on a beach in Australia, I cried… brotherly love or cruelty – I’ll let you decide.

How did I become a marine biologist?

Reiss Bush marine biologist at atmosphere, diving on a reefIn 2013 I went diving for the first time, completing my PADI Open Water course in Utila, Honduras. This sparked an interest which has brought me to where I am today. After completing my bachelor’s degree in Zoology in 2017, I decided to jump head first into a 4-month marine conservation internship with the Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Centre (WSORC) in Utila. Here I completed my PADI Divemaster, after which I was trained in coral reef ecology and survey techniques, so I could then collect survey data for long-term monitoring. I’d had my first real taste of marine science and I realised it was something I wanted to pursue as a career. After leaving WSORC I volunteered with some other marine research organisations in SE Asia before returning home to the UK.

Reiss Bush marine biologist at Atmosphere Resorts & Spa, with a flamboyant cuttlefish

Me with my favourite marine critter – the flamboyant cuttlefish!

I graduated with a master’s degree in Freshwater and Marine Ecology from Queen Mary University of London in 2020. My research here was based on a mixture of freshwater ecology in UK river systems, and marine ecology in the Cape Verde archipelago – my thesis was focused on investigating feeding ecology of loggerhead turtles there. I was supposed to travel to Cape Verde to collect skin samples for analysis, but a certain global pandemic put a stop to that…

After graduating I spent nearly two years working as an aquatic ecologist in the UK, but I always knew my heart was back in the tropics. In January 2023 I moved to the Philippines where I completed my PADI instructor qualification here in Dauin with Instructor Development Philippines, before working as an instructor in Moalboal for 6 months. Later that year, I was offered the job as marine biologist here at Atmosphere!

What does a day in the life of a marine biologist at Atmosphere look like?

That’s a difficult question! One of the things I love about my role is that two weeks or even two days rarely look the same, which keeps things fresh and interesting. You might see me teaching PADI scuba diving courses, accompanying guests on dives, giving marine biology presentations, teaching Fish ID and Critters of Dauin specialties, or practicing my underwater photography skills.

As well as my role as marine biologist, I am also a marketing assistant here at Atmosphere – in charge of setting up and running our new Atmosphere dive social media pages (Facebook – Atmosphere Dive; Instagram – @atmospheredive), as well as posting the dive/marine biology blog posts on our website.

We also regularly collaborate with our partners at the Institute for Marine Research (IMR) here in Dauin, which was co-founded by the owners of Atmosphere. IMR is a grassroots non-profit organisation that conducts long-term and fine-scale research on coastal marine ecosystems. They use this scientific evidence to educate, transform and encourage locally led marine conservation strategies within the Philippines. You might see them around Atmosphere performing scientific dives, giving evening presentations to our guests, or calibrating their equipment in our pool!

Interested in learning more about marine biology and conservation? You’ve come to the right place!

I love it when guests come to Atmosphere with a desire to learn more about marine biology and conservation. Here in Dauin we are located in the coral triangle, one of the most incredible and diverse marine areas in the world, and there is so much to learn about!

Here at Atmosphere, I regularly teach distinctive PADI specialties focused on marine life, so you can learn more about the amazing creatures we see here along the Dauin coast and Apo Island. Want to learn more about coral reefs and how we can protect them? Then Coral Reef Conservation is the one for you. Don’t know the difference between a parrotfish and a pipefish? Let’s dive into Fish ID. Do you think “how on earth did they find that?” when your dive guide points out a tiny hairy shrimp? Take the Critters of Dauin specialty course with me – created in-house and unique to Atmosphere!

Reiss, the new marine biologist at atmosphere resorts and spa, standing next to the critters of Dauin specialty boardIf you see me around the resort, come and say hi! If you have any questions for me about anything related to marine biology, feel free to leave a comment here, email me (reiss@atmosphereresorts.com), or send me a message on Instagram (@reiss_sea). I can’t wait to meet you all!

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