Studying star formation at low and high redshift with integral field spectroscopy
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In this thesis I focus mainly in studying the process of star formation in both high redshift, and local star forming galaxies, by using an observational technique called integral field spectroscopy (IFS). Although these investigations are aimed at studying the star formation properties of these objects, throughout this work I will also discuss the geometric, kinematic, and chemical structures in the inter-stellar medium of these galaxies, which are intimately connected with the process of star formation itself. The studies presented here were conducted under the umbrella of two different projects. First, the HETDEX Pilot Survey for Emission Line Galaxies, where I have studied the properties of Ly-alpha emitting galaxies across the 2<z<4 range, with an emphasis in trying to understand the process by which Ly-alpha photons, produced in large quantities in the active star forming regions, are able to escape the ISM of these objects, allowing us to detect them in the Ly-alpha line. The second project from which results are presented here is the VIRUS-P Exploration of Nearby Galaxies (VENGA), an ongoing campaign to obtain spatially resolved spectroscopy over a broad wavelength range for large portions of the disks of 30 nearby spiral galaxies. In this thesis, the VENGA data is used to study the physical parameters that set the rate of star formation in the different environments present within galaxies in the local universe.