Galaxy and mass assembly (GAMA): the mass-metallicity relationship

C. Foster*, A. M. Hopkins, M. Gunawardhana, M. A. Lara-López, R. G. Sharp, O. Steele, E. N. Taylor, S. P. Driver, I. K. Baldry, S. P. Bamford, J. Liske, J. Loveday, P. Norberg, J. A. Peacock, M. Alpaslan, A. E. Bauer, J. Bland-Hawthorn, S. Brough, E. Cameron, M. CollessC. J. Conselice, S. M. Croom, C. S. Frenk, D. T. Hill, D. H. Jones, L. S. Kelvin, K. Kuijken, R. C. Nichol, M. S. Owers, H. R. Parkinson, K. A. Pimbblet, C. C. Popescu, M. Prescott, A. S G Robotham, A. R. Lopez-Sanchez, W. J. Sutherland, D. Thomas, R. J. Tuffs, E. Van Kampen, D. Wijesinghe

*Corresponding author for this work

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    39 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Context. The mass-metallicity relationship (MMR) of star-forming galaxies is well-established, however there is still some disagreement with respect to its exact shape and its possible dependence on other observables. Aims.We measure the MMR in the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey. We compare our measured MMR to that measured in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and study the dependence of the MMR on various selection criteria to identify potential causes for disparities seen in the literature. Methods.We use strong emission line ratio diagnostics to derive oxygen abundances. We then apply a range of selection criteria for the minimum signal-to-noise in various emission lines, as well as the apparent and absolute magnitude to study variations in the inferred MMR. Results. The shape and position of the MMR can differ significantly depending on the metallicity calibration and selection used. After selecting a robust metallicity calibration amongst those tested, we find that the mass-metallicity relation for redshifts 0.061 ≲ z ≲ 0.35 in GAMA is in reasonable agreement with that found in the SDSS despite the difference in the luminosity range probed. Conclusions. In view of the significant variations of the MMR brought about by reasonable changes in the sample selection criteria and method, we recommend that care be taken when comparing the MMR from different surveys and studies directly. We also conclude that there could be a modest level of evolution over 0.06 ≤ z ≤ 0.35 within the GAMA sample.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberA79
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages9
    JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
    Volume547
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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