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Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA): linking star formation histories and stellar mass growth

Bauer, A.E.; Hopkins, A.M.; Gunawardhana, M.; Taylor, E.N.; Baldry, I.; Bamford, S.P.; Bland-Hawthorn, J.; Brough, S.; Brown, M.J.I.; Cluver, M.E.; Colless, M.; Conselice, C.J.; Croom, S.; Driver, S.; Foster, C.; Jones, D.H.; Lara-Lopez, M.A.; Liske, J.; López-Sánchez, Á.R.; Loveday, J.; Norberg, P.; Owers, M.S.; Pimbblet, K.; Robotham, A.; Sansom, A.E.; Sharp, R.

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A.E. Bauer

A.M. Hopkins

M. Gunawardhana

E.N. Taylor

I. Baldry

S.P. Bamford

J. Bland-Hawthorn

S. Brough

M.J.I. Brown

M.E. Cluver

M. Colless

C.J. Conselice

S. Croom

S. Driver

C. Foster

D.H. Jones

M.A. Lara-Lopez

J. Liske

Á.R. López-Sánchez

J. Loveday

M.S. Owers

K. Pimbblet

A. Robotham

A.E. Sansom

R. Sharp


We present evidence for stochastic star formation histories in low-mass (M* < 1010 M⊙) galaxies from observations within the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey. For ∼73 000 galaxies between 0.05 < z < 0.32, we calculate star formation rates (SFR) and specific star formation rates (SSFR = SFR/M*) from spectroscopic Hα measurements and apply dust corrections derived from Balmer decrements. We find a dependence of SSFR on stellar mass, such that SSFRs decrease with increasing stellar mass for star-forming galaxies, and for the full sample, SSFRs decrease as a stronger function of stellar mass. We use simple parametrizations of exponentially declining star formation histories to investigate the dependence on stellar mass of the star formation time-scale and the formation redshift. We find that parametrizations previously fit to samples of z ∼ 1 galaxies cannot recover the distributions of SSFRs and stellar masses observed in the GAMA sample between 0.05 < z < 0.32. In particular, a large number of low-mass (M* < 1010 M⊙) galaxies are observed to have much higher SSFRs than can be explained by these simple models over the redshift range of 0.05 < z < 0.32, even when invoking mass-dependent staged evolution. For such a large number of galaxies to maintain low stellar masses, yet harbour such high SSFRs, requires the late onset of a weak underlying exponentially declining star formation history with stochastic bursts of star formation superimposed.


Bauer, A., Hopkins, A., Gunawardhana, M., Taylor, E., Baldry, I., Bamford, S., …Sharp, R. (2013). Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA): linking star formation histories and stellar mass growth. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 434(1), 209-221.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 1, 2013
Deposit Date Jun 3, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jun 30, 2014
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 434
Issue 1
Pages 209-221
Keywords Galaxies: evolution, Galaxies: formation, Galaxies: general, Galaxies: starburst, Galaxies: star formation, Galaxies: stellar content.


Published Journal Article (4.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2013 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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