James Webb Space Telescope Feed Post

Date: 7/10/2024

Harvard ADS: Does the Fundamental Metallicity Relation Evolve with Redshift? II: The Evolution in Normalisation of the Mass-Metallicity Relation

Paper abstract: The metal content of galaxies is a direct probe of the baryon cycle. A hallmark example is the relationship between a galaxy's stellar mass, star formation rate (SFR), and gas-phase metallicity: the Fundamental Metallicity Relation (FMR). While low-redshift (z<~4) observational studies suggest that the FMR is redshift-invariant, recent JWST data indicate deviations from this model. In this study, we utilize the FMR to predict the evolution of the normalisation of the mass-metallicity relation (MZR) using the cosmological simulations Illustris, IllustrisTNG, EAGLE, and SIMBA. Our findings demonstrate that a z = 0 calibrated FMR struggles to predict the evolution in the MZR of each simulation. To quantify the divergence of the predictions, we introduce the concepts of a ''static'' FMR, where the role of the SFR in setting the normalization of the MZR does not change with redshift, and a ''dynamic'' FMR, where the role of SFR evolves over time. We find static FMRs in Illustris and SIMBA and dynamic FMRs in IllustrisTNG and EAGLE. We suggest that the differences between these models likely points to the subtle differences in the implementation of the baryon cycle. Moreover, we echo recent JWST results at z > 4 by finding significant offsets from the FMR in IllustrisTNG and EAGLE, suggesting that the observed FMR may be dynamic as well. Overall, our findings imply that the current FMR framework neglects important variations in the baryon cycle through cosmic time.