Evolution of the galaxy stellar mass function: Evidence for an increasing M∗ from z = 2 to the present day

N. J. Adams, R. A.A. Bowler, M. J. Jarvis, B. Häußler, C. D.P. Lagos

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7 Citations (Web of Science)


Utilizing optical and near-infrared broad-band photometry covering >5 deg2 in two of the most well-studied extragalactic legacy fields (COSMOS and XMM-LSS), we measure the galaxy stellar mass function (GSMF) between 0.1 < z < 2.0. We explore in detail the effect of two source extraction methods (SExtractor and ProFound) in addition to the inclusion/exclusion of Spitzer IRAC 3.6 and 4.5 μm photometry when measuring the GSMF. We find that including IRAC data reduces the number of massive (log10(M/M⊙) > 11.25) galaxies found due to improved photometric redshift accuracy, but has little effect on the more numerous lower-mass galaxies. We fit the resultant GSMFs with double Schechter functions down to log10(M/M⊙) = 7.75 (9.75) at z = 0.1 (2.0) and find that the choice of source extraction software has no significant effect on the derived best-fitting parameters. However, the choice of methodology used to correct for the Eddington bias has a larger impact on the high-mass end of the GSMF, which can partly explain the spread in derived M∗ values from previous studies. Using an empirical correction to model the intrinsic GSMF, we find evidence for an evolving characteristic stellar mass with δlog10(M∗/M⊙)/δz = 0.16 0.05, (-0.11 0.05), when using SExtractor (ProFound). We argue that with widely quenched star formation rates in massive galaxies at low redshift (z < 0.5), additional growth via mergers is required in order to sustain such an evolution to a higher characteristic mass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4933-4951
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


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