The growth of typical star-forming galaxies and their supermassive black holes across cosmic time since z ˜ 2

João Calhau, David Sobral, Andra Stroe, Philip Best, Ian Smail, Bret Lehmer, Chris Harrison, Alasdair Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding galaxy formation and evolution requires studying the interplay between the growth of galaxies and the growth of their black holes across cosmic time. Here, we explore a sample of Hα-selected star-forming galaxies from the High Redshift Emission Line Survey and use the wealth of multiwavelength data in the Cosmic Evolution Survey field (X-rays, far-infrared and radio) to study the relative growth rates between typical galaxies and their central supermassive black holes, from z = 2.23 to z = 0. Typical star-forming galaxies at z ˜ 1-2 have black hole accretion rates (dot{M}_BH) of 0.001-0.01 M⊙ yr-1 and star formation rates (SFRs) of ˜10-40 M⊙ yr-1, and thus grow their stellar mass much quicker than their black hole mass (3.3±0.2 orders of magnitude faster). However, ˜3 per cent of the sample (the sources detected directly in the X-rays) show a significantly quicker growth of the black hole mass (up to 1.5 orders of magnitude quicker growth than the typical sources). dot{M}_BH falls from z = 2.23 to z = 0, with the decline resembling that of SFR density or the typical SFR (SFR*). We find that the average black hole to galaxy growth (dot{M}_BH/SFR) is approximately constant for star-forming galaxies in the last 11 Gyr. The relatively constant dot{M}_BH/SFR suggests that these two quantities evolve equivalently through cosmic time and with practically no delay between the two.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-311
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2016


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: star formation
  • cosmology: observations


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