The Pan-STARRS1 medium-deep survey: The role of galaxy group environment in the star formation rate versus stellar mass relation and quiescent fraction out to z ~ 0.8

Lihwai Lin, Hung Yu Jian, Sebastien Foucaud, Peder Norberg, R. G. Bower, Shaun Cole, Pablo Arnalte-Mur, Chin Wei Chen, Jean Coupon, Bau Ching Hsieh, Sebastien Heinis, Stefanie Phleps, Wen Ping Chen, Chien Hsiu Lee, William Burgett, K. C. Chambers, L. Denneau, P. Draper, H. Flewelling, K. W. HodappM. E. Huber, N. Kaiser, R. P. Kudritzki, E. A. Magnier, N. Metcalfe, Paul A. Price, J. L. Tonry, R. J. Wainscoat, C. Waters

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69 Scopus citations


Using a large optically selected sample of field and group galaxies drawn from the Pan-STARRS1 Medium-Deep Survey (PS1/MDS), we present a detailed analysis of the specific star formation rate (SSFR) - stellar mass (M *) relation, as well as the quiescent fraction versus M * relation in different environments. While both the SSFR and the quiescent fraction depend strongly on stellar mass, the environment also plays an important role. Using this large galaxy sample, we confirm that the fraction of quiescent galaxies is strongly dependent on environment at a fixed stellar mass, but that the amplitude and the slope of the star-forming sequence is similar between the field and groups: in other words, the SSFR-density relation at a fixed stellar mass is primarily driven by the change in the star-forming and quiescent fractions between different environments rather than a global suppression in the star formation rate for the star-forming population. However, when we restrict our sample to the cluster-scale environments (M > 1014 M ), we find a global reduction in the SSFR of the star-forming sequence of 17% at 4σ confidence as opposed to its field counterpart. After removing the stellar mass dependence of the quiescent fraction seen in field galaxies, the excess in the quiescent fraction due to the environment quenching in groups and clusters is found to increase with stellar mass, although deeper and larger data from the full PS1/MDS will be required to draw firm conclusions. We argue that these results are in favor of galaxy mergers to be the primary environment quenching mechanism operating in galaxy groups whereas strangulation is able to reproduce the observed trend in the environment quenching efficiency and stellar mass relation seen in clusters. Our results also suggest that the relative importance between mass quenching and environment quenching depends on stellar mass - the mass quenching plays a dominant role in producing quiescent galaxies for more massive galaxies, while less massive galaxies are quenched mostly through the environmental effect, with the transition mass around 1-2 × 1010 M in the group/cluster environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Feb 2014


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: groups: general
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • large-scale structure of universe


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