Zahirah Suhaimi

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Santa Cruz, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9866

Approve Date

April 30, 2019

Project Title

Suhaimi, Zahirah (California, Santa Cruz, U. of) "Emergent Microbial Cultures: Harmful Algal Blooms in the Johor Straits"

ZAHIRAH SUHAIMI, then a graduate student at University of California, Santa Cruz, California, was awarded funding in April 2019 to aid research on ‘Emergent Microbial Cultures: Harmful Algal Blooms in the Johor Straits,’ supervised by Dr. Anna Tsing. Since 2009, harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the Johor Straits have indiscriminately smothered the coastlines of Singapore and Malaysia, killing several hundred thousand tons of farmed and wild marine life. Yet, scientific studies to understand these blooms have largely been confined to Singapore and Malaysia, with little exchange of data between the states. Through ethnographic fieldwork with Orang Seletar, Malay, and Chinese fish farmers, as well as collaborations with scientists in Singapore and Malaysia, new insights into recent toxic algal blooms emerge. Historical data, participant observation, and water sampling analysis piece together how projects of water management, coastal hardening, indigenous erasure, and infrastructure development have created the conditions of possibility for HABs in the Johor Straits.