Cold-mode accretion: Driving the fundamental mass-metallicity relation at z ∼ 2

Glenn G. Kacprzak, Freeke Van De Voort, Karl Glazebrook, Kim Vy H Tran, Tiantian Yuan, Themiya Nanayakkara, Rebecca J. Allen, Leo Alcorn, Michael Cowley, Ivo Labbé, Lee Spitler, Caroline Straatman, Adam Tomczak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the star formation rate (SFR) dependence on the stellar mass and gas-phase metallicity relation at z = 2 with MOSFIRE/Keck as part of the ZFIRE survey. We have identified 117 galaxies (1.98 ≤ z ≤ 2.56), with 8.9 ≤ log(M/M o) ≤ 11.0, for which we can measure gas-phase metallicities. For the first time, we show a discernible difference between the mass-metallicity relation, using individual galaxies, when dividing the sample by low (<10 M o yr-1) and high (>10 M o yr-1) SFRs. At fixed mass, low star-forming galaxies tend to have higher metallicity than high star-forming galaxies. Using a few basic assumptions, we further show that the gas masses and metallicities required to produce the fundamental mass-metallicity relation and its intrinsic scatter are consistent with cold-mode accretion predictions obtained from the OWLS hydrodynamical simulations. Our results from both simulations and observations are suggestive that cold-mode accretion is responsible for the fundamental mass-metallicity relation at z = 2 and it demonstrates the direct relationship between cosmological accretion and the fundamental properties of galaxies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL11
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2016


  • cosmology: observations
  • galaxies: abundances
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • intergalactic medium


Dive into the research topics of 'Cold-mode accretion: Driving the fundamental mass-metallicity relation at z ∼ 2'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this