The average star formation histories of galaxies in dark matter halos from z = 0-8

Peter S. Behroozi, Risa H. Wechsler, Charlie Conroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1653 Scopus citations


We present a robust method to constrain average galaxy star formation rates (SFRs), star formation histories (SFHs), and the intracluster light (ICL) as a function of halo mass. Our results are consistent with observed galaxy stellar mass functions, specific star formation rates (SSFRs), and cosmic star formation rates (CSFRs) from z = 0 to z = 8. We consider the effects of a wide range of uncertainties on our results, including those affecting stellar masses, SFRs, and the halo mass function at the heart of our analysis. As they are relevant to our method, we also present new calibrations of the dark matter halo mass function, halo mass accretion histories, and halo-subhalo merger rates out to z = 8. We also provide new compilations of CSFRs and SSFRs; more recent measurements are now consistent with the buildup of the cosmic stellar mass Density at all redshifts. Implications of our work include: halos near 10 12 M are the most efficient at forming stars at all redshifts, the baryon conversion efficiency of massive halos drops markedly after z ∼ 2.5 (consistent with theories of cold-mode accretion), the ICL for massive galaxies is expected to be significant out to at least z ∼ 1-1.5, and dwarf galaxies at low redshifts have higher stellar mass to halo mass ratios than previous expectations and form later than in most theoretical models. Finally, we provide new fitting formulae for SFHs that are more accurate than the standard declining tau model. Our approach places a wide variety of observations relating to the SFH of galaxies into a self-consistent framework based on the modern understanding of structure formation in ΛCDM. Constraints on the stellar mass-halo mass relationship and SFRs are available for download online.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number57
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 10 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • dark matter galaxies: abundances
  • galaxies: evolution
  • methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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