Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Physics & Astrophysics

First Advisor

Wayne Barkhouse


The evolution of galaxies in dense environments can be affected by close encounters with neighboring galaxies and interactions with the intracluster medium (ICM). Dwarf galaxies may be especially susceptible to these effects due to their low mass. The goal of my dissertation research is to look for signs of star formation in cluster dwarf galaxies by measuring and comparing the r- and u-band luminosity functions of 15 low redshift Abell galaxy clusters using archival data from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). Luminosity functions, dwarf-to-giant ratios, and blue fractions are measured in four cluster-centric annuli from stacked cluster data. To account for differences in cluster optical richness, each cluster is scaled according to r200, where r200 is the radius of a sphere, centered on the cluster, whose average density is 200 times the critical density of the universe. The outer region of the cluster sample shows an increase in the faint-end slope of the u-band luminosity function relative to the r-band, indicating star formation in dwarf galaxies. The blue fraction for dwarf galaxies steadily rises with increasing cluster-centric radii. The change in the blue fraction of giant galaxies also increases, but at a lower rate. Additionally, the inner regions of clusters ranging from 0.185 < z < 0.7 from the “Cluster Lensing and Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH)” are used to generate blue- and red-band luminosity functions, dwarf-to-giant ratios, and blue fractions. Comparisons of the inner region of the CLASH and CFHT clusters show an increase in the blue fraction of dwarf galaxies with redshift that is not present in giant galaxies.