The mass-metallicity-star formation rate relation at z > 2 with 3D Hubble Space Telescope

F. Cullen, M. Cirasuolo, R. J. McLure, J. S. Dunlop, R. A. A. Bowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We present new accurate measurements of the mass, metallicity and star-formation rate of a statistically significant sample of 93 galaxies at z greater than or similar to 2 using near-infrared spectroscopy taken as part of the 3D-Hubble Space Telescope survey. We derive a mass-metallicity relation (MZR) for our sample with metallicities based on the oxygen and Hβ nebular emission lines. We find the MZR derived from our data to have the same trend as previous determinations in the range 0 <z <3 with metallicity decreasing with stellar mass. However, we find that our MZR is offset from a previous determination at z greater than or similar to 2 which used metallicities derived from the [N ii]/Hα ratio. Incorporating star formation rate information, we find that our galaxies are also offset from the fundamental metallicity relation (FMR) by similar to 0.3 dex. Using the Baldwin-Phillips-Terlevich (BPT) diagram we argue that, if the physical conditions of star-forming regions evolve with redshift, metallicity indicators based on [N ii] and Hα, calibrated in the local Universe, may not be consistent with the ones based on oxygen lines and Hβ. Our results thus suggest that the evolution of the FMR previously reported at z similar to 2-3 may be an artefact of the differential evolution in metallicity indicators and caution against using locally calibrated empirical metallicity relations at high redshift, which do not account for evolution in the physical conditions of star-forming regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2300-2312
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume440
Issue number3
Early online date4 Apr 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: star formation
  • EXTRAGALACTIC LEGACY SURVEY
  • EMISSION-LINE GALAXIES
  • ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEI
  • HIGH-REDSHIFT GALAXIES
  • FORMING GALAXIES
  • STELLAR MASS
  • DEEP SURVEY
  • PHYSICAL CONDITIONS
  • OXYGEN ABUNDANCE
  • DUST EXTINCTION

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