Author(s): , , , , , , ,
Institution(s): 1. IRAM, 2. IRAP, 3. MPIA, 4. OSU, 5. University of Alberta, 6. University of Exeter, 7. University of Illinois
The structure of the molecular interstellar medium on the scale of individual giant molecular clouds (GMCs) is an important quantity for models of star formation, and one that is often invoked to explain the correlations between tracers of gas and star formation obtained by kiloparsec-scale observations of nearby galaxies. In this talk, I will highlight new results from recent wide-field, cloud-scale imaging surveys of CO emission in nearby galaxies that have provided important new insights into the timescales of GMC evolution, the dominant processes of GMC formation and destruction, and the emergence of a kiloparsec-scale star formation law from the physical properties of individual clouds. These results underscore the importance of galactic environment on the evolution of GMCs, and on a galaxy's global pattern of star formation.