The MOSDEF survey: Differences in SFR and metallicity for morphologically selected mergers at z ∼2

Katelyn Horstman, Alice E. Shapley, Ryan L. Sanders, Bahram Mobasher, Naveen A. Reddy, Mariska Kriek, Alison L. Coil, Brian Siana, Irene Shivaei, William R. Freeman, Mojegan Azadi, Sedona H. Price, Gene C.K. Leung, Tara Fetherolf, Laura De Groot, Tom Zick, Francesca M. Fornasini, Guillermo Barro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We study the properties of 55 morphologically-identified merging galaxy systems at z ∼2. These systems are flagged as mergers based on features such as tidal tails, double nuclei, and asymmetry. Our sample is drawn from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey, along with a control sample of isolated galaxies at the same redshift. We consider the relationships between stellar mass, star formation rate (SFR), and gas-phase metallicity for both merging and non-merging systems. In the local universe, merging systems are characterized by an elevated SFR and depressed metallicity compared to isolated systems at a given mass. Our results indicate SFR enhancement and metallicity deficit for merging systems relative to non-merging systems for a fixed stellar mass at z ∼2, though larger samples are required to establish these preliminary results with higher statistical significance. In future work, it will be important to establish if the enhanced SFR and depressed metallicity in high-redshift mergers deviate from the 'fundamental metallicity relation,' as is observed in mergers in the local universe, and therefore shed light on gas flows during galaxy interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society.


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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