Star formation trends in high-redshift galaxy surveys: The elephant or the tail?

Martin Stringer, Shaun Cole, Carlos S. Frenk, Daniel P. Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Star formation rate and accumulated stellar mass are two fundamental physical quantities that describe the evolutionary state of a forming galaxy. Two recent attempts to determine the relationship between these quantities, by interpreting a sample of star-forming galaxies at redshift of z~ 4, have led to opposite conclusions. Using a model galaxy population, we investigate possible causes for this discrepancy and conclude that minor errors in the conversion from observables to physical quantities can lead to a major misrepresentation when applied without awareness of sample selection. We also investigate, in a general way, the physical origin of the correlation between star formation rate and stellar mass within the hierarchical galaxy formation theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1927-1936
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: high redshift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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