Starbursts are galaxies with extreme star-forming properties. These objects are known to produce numerous super star clusters, are believed to ignite powerful active galactic nuclei, and may have been an important source of ionizing photons during the reionization epoch of the Universe
But how is the starburst phase triggered? How long does it last? And how important are starbursts for galaxy evolution in general and how do they relate to other galaxy types? To address these issues, members of our group are using a combination of observations, numerical models and large astronomical databases.