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SDSS-IV MaNGA: the chemical co-evolution of gas and stars in spiral galaxies


Michael J. Greener

Thomas Peterken

Elizaveta Sazonova

Roan Haggar

Dmitry Bizyaev

Joel R. Brownstein

Richard R. Lane

Kaike Pan


We investigate archaeologically how the metallicity in both stellar and gaseous components of spiral galaxies of differing masses evolve with time, using data from the SDSS-IV MaNGA survey. For the stellar component, we can measure this evolution directly by decomposing the galaxy absorption-line spectra into populations of different ages and determining their metallicities. For the gaseous component, we can only measure the present-day metallicity directly from emission lines. However, there is a well-established relationship between gas metallicity, stellar mass and star formation rate which does not evolve significantly with redshift; since the latter two quantities can be determined directly for any epoch from the decomposition of the absorption-line spectra, we can use this relationship to infer the variation in gas metallicity over cosmic time. Comparison of present-day values derived in this way with those obtained directly from the emission lines confirms the validity of the method. Application of this approach to a sample of 1619 spiral galaxies reveals how the metallicity of these systems has changed over the last 10 billion years since cosmic noon. For lower-mass galaxies, both stellar and gaseous metallicity increase together, as one might expect in well-mixed fairly isolated systems. In higher-mass systems, the average stellar metallicity has not increased in step with the inferred gas metallicity, and actually decreases with time. Such disjoint behaviour is what one might expect if these more massive systems have accreted significant amounts of largely pristine gas over their lifetimes, and this material has not been well mixed into the galaxies.


Greener, M. J., Aragón-Salamanca, A., Merrifield, M., Peterken, T., Sazonova, E., Haggar, R., …Pan, K. (2022). SDSS-IV MaNGA: the chemical co-evolution of gas and stars in spiral galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 516(1), 1275–1288.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 17, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 22, 2022
Publication Date 2022-10
Deposit Date Aug 26, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 26, 2022
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 516
Issue 1
Pages 1275–1288
Keywords Space and Planetary Science; Astronomy and Astrophysics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society following peer review. The version of record Michael J Greener, Alfonso Aragón-Salamanca, Michael Merrifield, Thomas Peterken, Elizaveta Sazonova, Roan Haggar, Dmitry Bizyaev, Joel R Brownstein, Richard R Lane, Kaike Pan, SDSS-IV MaNGA: the chemical co-evolution of gas and stars in spiral galaxies, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 516, Issue 1, October 2022, Pages 1275–1288, is available online at:


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