My primary research interests lie in the study of galaxy evolution, with a particular focus on the role of galaxy-galaxy interactions and mergers. My earlier work in this area developed the use of close galaxy pairs as a probe of the galaxy merger rate, in both the nearby universe (e.g., Patton et al. 2000; Patton & Atfield 2008) and in the higher redshift (more distant) universe (e.g., Patton et al. 2002, Lin et al. 2004, 2008). In recent years, my efforts have shifted to the properties of interacting and merging galaxies, using both observations and simulations. An overview of this research is given below.
My collaborators and I have used the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to show that galaxies which have close companions have enhanced star formation rates, higher asymetries, diluted metallicities, bluer colours and higher active galactic nucleus fractions than galaxies which do not have close companions (e.g., Patton et al. 2011, Ellison et al. 2011, Scudder et al. 2012, Patton et al. 2013, Satyapal et al. 2014). Patton et al. 2016). We have found similar results in galaxies which have recently merged (Ellison et al. 2013; Ellison et al. 2015). Sample images of these pairs and post-mergers are shown below.
I am now involved in a new effort to explore
the role of interactions between the least luminous (dwarf) galaxies in
the universe. This project,
dubbed TiNy Titans (TNT),
is being undertaken in collaboration with researchers at the University of Virginia,
the University of Arizona, Columbia University and the University of Florida.
The observational part of this project began with the selection of dwarf pairs from SDSS,
and we continue to acquire follow-up multi-wavelength observations of these pairs using various
world-class observatories. We are comparing these data with state-of-the-art simulations
from the Illustris Project.
We have recently published our first four TNT papers
(Stierwalt et al. 2015,
Pearson et al. 2016,
Stierwalt et al. 2017,
Privon et al. 2017).
For additional information, please see my List of Publications or contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.Dave Patton