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The KLEVER survey: nitrogen abundances at z ∼ 2 and probing the existence of a fundamental nitrogen relation

Hayden-Pawson, Connor; Curti, Mirko; Maiolino, Roberto; Cirasuolo, Michele; Belfiore, Francesco; Cappellari, Michele; Concas, Alice; Cresci, Giovanni; Cullen, Fergus; Kobayashi, Chiaki; Mannucci, Filippo; Marconi, Alessandro; Meneghetti, Massimo; Mercurio, Amata; Peng, Yingjie; Swinbank, Mark; Vincenzo, Fiorenzo

The KLEVER survey: nitrogen abundances at z ∼ 2 and probing the existence of a fundamental nitrogen relation Thumbnail


Connor Hayden-Pawson

Mirko Curti

Roberto Maiolino

Michele Cirasuolo

Francesco Belfiore

Michele Cappellari

Alice Concas

Giovanni Cresci

Fergus Cullen

Chiaki Kobayashi

Filippo Mannucci

Alessandro Marconi

Massimo Meneghetti

Amata Mercurio

Yingjie Peng

Fiorenzo Vincenzo


We present a comparison of the nitrogen-to-oxygen ratio (N/O) in 37 high-redshift galaxies at z ∼ 2 taken from the KMOS Lensed Emission Lines and VElocity Review (KLEVER) Survey with a comparison sample of local galaxies, taken from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). The KLEVER sample shows only a mild enrichment in N/O of +0.1 dex when compared to local galaxies at a given gas-phase metallicity (O/H), but shows a depletion in N/O of −0.35 dex when compared at a fixed stellar mass (M*). We find a strong anticorrelation in local galaxies between N/O and SFR in the M*–N/O plane, similar to the anticorrelation between O/H and SFR found in the mass–metallicity relation (MZR). We use this anticorrelation to construct a fundamental nitrogen relation (FNR), analogous to the fundamental metallicity relation (FMR). We find that KLEVER galaxies are consistent with both the FMR and the FNR. This suggests that the depletion of N/O in high-z galaxies when considered at a fixed M* is driven by the redshift evolution of the mass–metallicity relation in combination with a near redshift-invariant N/O–O/H relation. Furthermore, the existence of an fundamental nitrogen relation suggests that the mechanisms governing the fundamental metallicity relation must be probed by not only O/H, but also N/O, suggesting pure-pristine gas inflows are not the primary driver of the FMR, and other properties such as variations in galaxy age and star formation efficiency must be important.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 1, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 4, 2022
Publication Date 2022-05
Deposit Date May 27, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 27, 2022
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 512
Issue 2
Pages 2867-2889
Public URL


Published Journal Article (2.9 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal astronomical Society ©: 2022 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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