Astronomy Seminar: Star clusters as footprints of star formation, stellar feedback and assembly history of galaxies

Star clusters are gravitationally bound stellar systems commonly formed in star formation events. These systems form in the densest regions of giant molecular clouds and host the majority of the massive stars forming in these regions. A quick look at the cluster population in our Milky Way already proves that these bound stellar systems have continuously formed during the assembly history of our own galaxy, as witnessed by globular clusters, open clusters, young star clusters. I will present some key results that relates the most recent efforts to link the statistical properties of cluster populations in local galaxies (i.e. mass functions, dissolution time scales, formation efficiency) to the global physical properties of galaxies, such has star formation per unit area, gas surface density, and dynamics. I will show how key events for galaxy evolution, such as mergers or increased gas fraction change the properties of the stellar clusters formed during these enhanced star formation events, therefore making them tracers of the assembly history of galaxies. I will conclude presenting some preliminary results about the effect of cluster feedback on their immediate surroundings and at galactic scales showing that star clusters are fundamental components of the star formation cycle of galaxies.