Reconciling the results of the z ∼2 MOSDEF and KBSS-MOSFIRE Surveys

Jordan N. Runco, Naveen A. Reddy, Alice E. Shapley, Charles C. Steidel, Ryan L. Sanders, Allison L. Strom, Alison L. Coil, Mariska Kriek, Bahram Mobasher, Max Pettini, Gwen C. Rudie, Brian Siana, Michael W. Topping, Ryan F. Trainor, William R. Freeman, Irene Shivaei, Mojegan Azadi, Sedona H. Price, Gene C.K. Leung, Tara FetherolfLaura De Groot, Tom Zick, Francesca M. Fornasini, Guillermo Barro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The combination of the MOSDEF and KBSS-MOSFIRE surveys represents the largest joint investment of Keck/MOSFIRE time to date, with ∼3000 galaxies at 1.4 z 3.8, roughly half of which are at z ∼2. MOSDEF is photometric- and spectroscopic-redshift selected with a rest-optical magnitude limit, while KBSS-MOSFIRE is primarily selected based on rest-UV colours and a rest-UV magnitude limit. Analysing both surveys in a uniform manner with consistent spectral-energy- distribution (SED) models, we find that the MOSDEF z ∼2 targeted sample has higher median M ∗and redder rest U −V colour than the KBSS-MOSFIRE z ∼2 targeted sample, and smaller median SED-based SFR and sSFR (SFR(SED) and sSFR(SED)). Specifically, MOSDEF tar geted a larger population of red galaxies with U −V and V −J >1.25, while KBSS-MOSFIRE contains more young galaxies with intense star formation. Despite these differences in the z ∼2 targeted samples, the subsets of the surveys with multiple emission lines detected and analysed in previous work are much more similar. All median host-galaxy properties with the exception of stellar population age -i.e. M ∗, SFR(SED), sSFR(SED), A V , and UVJ colours -agree within the uncertainties. Additionally, when uniform emission-line fitting and stellar Balmer absorption correction techniques are applied, there is no significant offset between both samples in the [O III ] λ5008/H βversus [N II ] λ6585/H αdiagnostic diagram, in contrast to previously reported discrepancies. We can now combine the MOSDEF and KBSS-MOSFIRE surv e ys to form the largest z ∼2 sample with moderate-resolution rest-optical spectra and construct the fundamental scaling relations of star-forming galaxies during this important epoch.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3871-3892
Number of pages22
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • galaxies: ISM
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: high-redshift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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