Reversal or no reversal: the evolution of the star formation rate-density relation up to z tilde 1.6

F. Ziparo, P. Popesso, A. Finoguenov, A. Biviano, S. Wuyts, D. Wilman, M. Salvato, M. Tanaka, K. Nandra, D. Lutz, D. Elbaz, M. Dickinson, B. Altieri, H. Aussel, S. Berta, A. Cimatti, D. Fadda, R. Genzel, E. Le Floc'h, B. MagnelliR. Nordon, A. Poglitsch, F. Pozzi, M. S. Portal, L. Tacconi, F. E. Bauer, W. N. Brandt, N. Cappelluti, M. C. Cooper, J. S. Mulchaey

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We investigate the evolution of the star formation rate (SFR)–density relation in the Extended Chandra Deep Field South and the Great Observatories Origin Deep Survey fields up to z ∼ 1.6. In addition to the ‘traditional method’, in which the environment is defined according to a statistical measurement of the local galaxy density, we use a ‘dynamical’ approach, where galaxies are classified according to three different environment regimes: group, ‘filament-like’ and field. Both methods show no evidence of an SFR–density reversal. Moreover, group galaxies show a mean SFR lower than other environments up to z ∼ 1, while at earlier epochs group and field galaxies exhibit consistent levels of star formation (SF) activity. We find that processes related to a massive dark matter halo must be dominant in the suppression of the SF below z ∼ 1, with respect to purely density-related processes. We confirm this finding by studying the distribution of galaxies in different environments with respect to the so-called main sequence (MS) of star-forming galaxies. Galaxies in both group and ‘filament-like’ environments preferentially lie below the MS up to z ∼ 1, with group galaxies exhibiting lower levels of star-forming activity at a given mass. At z > 1, the star-forming galaxies in groups reside on the MS. Groups exhibit the highest fraction of quiescent galaxies up to z ∼ 1, after which group, ‘filament-like’ and field environments have a similar mix of galaxy types. We conclude that groups are the most efficient locus for SF quenching. Thus, a fundamental difference exists between bound and unbound objects, or between dark matter haloes of different masses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-474
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date2 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: groups: general
  • galaxies: star formation
  • infrared: galaxies


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