Investigating the Environmental Properties of Galaxies in the SDSS-MaNGA Survey

Spindler, Ashley (2018). Investigating the Environmental Properties of Galaxies in the SDSS-MaNGA Survey. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis presents a study of galaxy evolution in the local universe. I study how environments shape the structures of galaxies, and how internal and external processes affect star formation. I perform four investigations of galaxy properties: a study of the relations between size, mass and velocity dispersion of 124,524 galaxies from SDSS DR7; I estimate star formation rates using Hα and Dn4000 for galaxies in the MaNGA survey; a study of the spatial distribution of star formation in 1494 MaNGA galaxies; and finally, a study of 215 barred and 402 unbarred galaxies, to investigate how bars affect star formation.

I find that environment plays a key role in the evolution of galaxies, both structurally and in terms of their star formation. Using core velocity dispersion to study the effects of minor mergers and tidal/ram pressure stripping, I find that central galaxies are up to 30% larger and more massive than satellites. I suggest that minor mergers play a crucial role in the increase in size and mass of centrals. In addition, I find that satellites have a uniform radial suppression of star formation, compared to centrals, which may be due to the strangulation of their cold gas supplies.

I study the internal processes that affect star formation and find that specific star formation rate is suppressed at all radii for high mass galaxies. Massive galaxies are more likely to have suppressed star formation in their cores, which I determined is caused by a combination of morphological quenching and AGN feedback. Finally, I study the role of galaxy bars in regulating the cirumnuclear and disk star formation in late-type galaxies. I find that barred galaxies have lower star formation in their disks than unbarred galaxies, and that they are more likely to have enhanced star formation in their cores.

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