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Cosmic CARNage II: the evolution of the galaxy stellar mass function in observations and galaxy formation models

Asquith, Rachel; Pearce, Frazer R.; Almaini, Omar; Knebe, Alexander; Gonzalez-Perez, Violeta; Benson, Andrew; Blaizot, Jeremy; Carretero, Jorge; Castander, Francisco J.; Cattaneo, Andrea; Cora, Sofía A.; Croton, Darren J.; Devriendt, Julien E.; Fontanot, Fabio; Gargiulo, Ignacio D.; Hartley, Will; Henriques, Bruno; Lee, Jaehyun; Mamon, Gary A.; Onions, Julian; Padilla, Nelson D.; Power, Chris; Srisawat, Chaichalit; Stevens, Adam R.H.; Thomas, Peter A.; Vega-Martínez, Cristian A.; Yi, Sukyoung K.


Rachel Asquith

Professor of Astrophysics

Alexander Knebe

Violeta Gonzalez-Perez

Andrew Benson

Jeremy Blaizot

Jorge Carretero

Francisco J. Castander

Andrea Cattaneo

Sofía A. Cora

Darren J. Croton

Julien E. Devriendt

Fabio Fontanot

Ignacio D. Gargiulo

Will Hartley

Bruno Henriques

Jaehyun Lee

Gary A. Mamon

Julian Onions

Nelson D. Padilla

Chris Power

Chaichalit Srisawat

Adam R.H. Stevens

Peter A. Thomas

Cristian A. Vega-Martínez

Sukyoung K. Yi


We present a comparison of the observed evolving galaxy stellar mass functions with the predictions of eight semi-analytic models and one halo occupation distribution model. While most models are able to fit the data at low redshift, some of them struggle to simultaneously fit observations at high redshift. We separate the galaxies into ‘passive’ and ‘star-forming’ classes and find that several of the models produce too many low-mass star-forming galaxies at high redshift compared to observations, in some cases by nearly a factor of 10 in the redshift range 2.5 < z < 3.0. We also find important differences in the implied mass of the dark matter haloes the galaxies inhabit, by comparing with halo masses inferred from observations. Galaxies at high redshift in the models are in lower mass haloes than suggested by observations, and the star formation efficiency in low-mass haloes is higher than observed. We conclude that many of the models require a physical prescription that acts to dissociate the growth of low-mass galaxies from the growth of their dark matter haloes at high redshift.


Asquith, R., Pearce, F. R., Almaini, O., Knebe, A., Gonzalez-Perez, V., Benson, A., …Yi, S. K. (2018). Cosmic CARNage II: the evolution of the galaxy stellar mass function in observations and galaxy formation models. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 480(1), 1197–1210.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 9, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 14, 2018
Publication Date Oct 11, 2018
Deposit Date Jul 17, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jul 17, 2018
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 0035-8711
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 480
Issue 1
Pages 1197–1210
Keywords methods:numerical, galaxies:haloes, galaxies: evolution, cosmology:theory, dark matter
Public URL
Publisher URL


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