Presentation #341.09 in the session AGN and Quasars.
Different theories have been put forward describing the formation processes of the first black hole seeds, some of which grew into the supermassive black holes we see at the centers of galaxies today. While these black hole seeds remain very difficult to detect and identify in the early universe, some may be detectable as intermediate mass black holes (IMBHs) in present day dwarf galaxies. However, connecting the numbers and properties of IMBHs to the properties of black hole seeds requires an understanding of the growth history of these black holes in dwarf galaxies. The extent to which IMBHs in dwarf galaxies grew during galaxy mergers, either through the accretion of gas or black hole mergers, remains debated. To determine whether black hole accretion is enhanced during dwarf galaxy mergers, we have searched for evidence of AGN activity in a sample of 177 merging dwarf galaxies identified based on morphological features. We have searched Sloan Digital Sky Survey for existing optical spectra and have classified the galaxies as star forming or AGN based on emission line ratios. We present the AGN fraction among different subsamples of dwarf galaxy mergers, including early and late-stage mergers.