Accretion, feedback and galaxy bimodality: A comparison of the GalICS semi-analytic model and cosmological SPH simulations

Andrea Cattaneo*, Jérémy Blaizot, David H. Weinberg, Dusan Kereš, Stéphane Colombi, Romeel Davé, Julien Devriendt, Bruno Guiderdoni, Neal Katz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We compare the galaxy population of a smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) simulation to those predicted by the GalICS (Galaxies In Cosmological Simulations) N-body + semi-analytic model and a stripped down version of GalICS that omits the effects of supernova and active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback. The SPH simulation and the no-feedback GalICS model make similar predictions for the baryonic mass functions of galaxies and for the dependence of these mass functions on environment and redshift. The two methods also make similar predictions for the galaxy content of dark matter haloes as a function of halo mass and for the gas accretion history of galaxies. There is a fairly good correspondence between the 'cold' and 'hot' accretion modes of the SPH simulation and the rapid and slow cooling regimes of the GalICS calculation. Both the SPH and no-feedback GalICS models predict a bimodal galaxy population at. The 'red' sequence of gas poor, old galaxies is populated mainly by satellite systems, which are starved of fresh gas after they begin orbiting in larger haloes, while, contrary to observations, the central galaxies of massive haloes lie on the 'blue' star-forming sequence as a result of continuing hot gas accretion at late times. Furthermore, both models overpredict the observed baryonic mass function, especially at the high-mass end. In the full GalICS model, supernova-driven outflows reduce the masses of low and intermediate mass galaxies by about a factor of 2. AGN feedback suppresses gas cooling in large haloes, producing a sharp cut-off in the baryonic mass function and moving the central galaxies of these massive haloes to the red sequence. Our results imply that the observational failings of the SPH simulation and the no-feedback GalICS model are a consequence of missing input physics rather than computational inaccuracies. Truncating the accretion of gas in satellite galaxies automatically produces a bimodal distribution with a quenched population, but explaining the star formation shutdown in the most massive galaxies requires a mechanism like AGN feedback that suppresses the accretion of gas on to central galaxies in large haloes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-76
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Cooling flows
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: haloes
  • Galaxies: ISM


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