Mass-metallicity and star formation rate in galaxies: A complex relation tuned to stellar age

Publication date: 
Main author: 
Duarte Puertas, S.
IAA authors: 
Duarte Puertas, S.;Vilchez, J. M.;Iglesias-Páramo, J.;Pérez-Montero, E.;Kehrig, C.
Duarte Puertas, S.;Vilchez, J. M.;Iglesias-Páramo, J.;Mollá, M.;Pérez-Montero, E.;Kehrig, C.;Pilyugin, L. S.;Zinchenko, I. A.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Publication type: 
Context. In this work we study the stellar mass-metallicity relation (MZR) of an extended sample of star-forming galaxies in the local Universe and its possible dependence on the star formation rate (SFR). <BR /> Aims: We selected a sample of approximately 195 000 Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) star-forming galaxies up to z = 0.22 with the aim of analysing the behaviour of the MZR with respect to SFR whilst taking into account the age of their stellar populations. <BR /> Methods: For the first time, with this sample, we obtained aperture corrected oxygen and nitrogen-to-oxygen abundances (O/H and N/O, respectively) and SFR using the empirical prescriptions from the Calar Alto Legacy Integral Field Area (CALIFA) survey. To perform this study we also make use of the stellar mass of the galaxies and the parameter D<SUB>n</SUB>(4000) as a proxy for the age of the stellar population. <BR /> Results: We derive a robust MZR locus, which is found to be fully consistent with the `anchoring' points of a selected set of well-studied nearby galaxies for which the chemical abundance has been derived using the direct method. We observe a complex relation between MZR and SFR across the whole range of galaxy mass and metallicity, where the slope changes seen in the O/H-SFR plane present a pattern that seems to be tuned to the stellar age of the galaxies, and therefore stellar age has to be taken into account in the stellar mass-metallicity-SFR relation. <BR /> Conclusions: In order to provide an answer to the question of whether or not the MZR depends on the SFR, it is essential to take into account the age of the stellar populations of galaxies. A strong dependence of the MZR on SFR is observed mainly for star-forming galaxies with strong SFR values and low D<SUB>n</SUB>(4000). The youngest galaxies of our SDSS sample show the highest SFR measured for their stellar mass. <P />Full Table 1 with the values of oxygen and nitrogen-to-oxygen abundance ratios for ∼195 000 SDSS star-forming galaxies and related relevant data is only available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href=""></A> ( or via <A href=""></A>
ADS Bibcode: 
galaxies: general;galaxies: star formation;galaxies: abundances;galaxies: evolution;Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies