The physical properties of the faint blue galaxy population are reviewed in the context of observational progress made via deep spectroscopic surveys and Hubble Space Telescope imaging of field galaxies at various limits and theoretical models for the integrated star formation history of the universe. Notwithstanding uncertainties in the properties of the local population of galaxies, convincing evidence has emerged from several independent studies for a rapid decline in the volume-averaged star-formation rate of field galaxies since a redshift z ≈ 1. Together with the small angular sizes and modest mean redshift of the faintest detectable sources, these results can be understood in hierarchical models where the bulk of the star formation occurred at redshifts between z ≈ 1−2. The physical processes responsible for the subsequent demise of the faint blue galaxy population remain unclear. Considerable progress will be possible when the evolutionary trends can be monitored in the context of independent physical parameters such as the underlying galactic mass.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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