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Amala Mahadevan was amongst 50 fellows selected for a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.  As a result, she is spending a sabbatical year (2014-15) at Harvard University. During her fellowship year, Mahadevan is devoting time to understanding how the physical complexity of upper ocean dynamics at scales of 0.1–10 kilometers affects oceanic ecosystems. Life in the ocean relies on the photosynthetic production of phytoplankton in the sunlit surface layer, and the complex dynamics of this layer, coupled with the availability of light and nutrients, leads to highly heterogeneous growth and distribution of phytoplankton. Organisms rely on the aggregation of food for survival, with a large fraction of the biological activity concentrated in hot spots. Mahadevan would like examine how the variability and episodic nature of physical processes affects the heterogeneity productivity and resilience of oceanic ecosystems. For more information, see http://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/people/amala-mahadevan