Witnessing the Formation of Massive, Distant Galaxies in the (Sub)Millimeter Regime
In order to understand galaxy formation it is crucial to obtain sensitive observations of the emission of dust and molecular gas both of which constrain the on-going star formation or AGN activity and the future potential of the galaxy to grow. Constraining the growth of ensemble of galaxies in the distant universe and not simply the most active ones, is one of the primary goals of current and planned (sub)mm facilities such as ALMA or SPICA. I will discuss two major questions in galaxy formation and assembly: 1) are dusty galaxies vigorously forming stars embedded within large scale structures at z>1.5; and 2) do dusty starbursts exist at the highest redshift. To shed light on these obscure topics, I will present our on-going observations of dust and molecular gas with a number of different (sub)mm facilities such as Herschel, APEX, IRAM or ALMA of one important star forming galaxy population in the distant universe: submillimeter selected galaxies (SMGs). My presentation will be complemented by our recently initiated census of the molecular gas reservoirs of nearby galaxies with optical IFU coverage. The local analogs serve as a reference sample for current and future studies of high-z galaxy populations.
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