Insights on the stellar mass-metallicity relation from the CALIFA survey

R. M. Gonzalez Delgado*, R. Cid Fernandes, R. Garcia-Benito, E. Perez, A. L. de Amorim, C. Cortijo-Ferrero, E. A. D. Lacerda, R. Lopez Fernandez, S. F. Sanchez, N. Vale Asari, J. Alves, J. Bland-Hawthorn, L. Galbany, A. Gallazzi, B. Husemann, S. Bekeraite, B. Jungwiert, A. R. Lopez-Sanchez, Adriana De Lorenzo-Caceres Rodriguez, R. A. MarinoD. Mast, M. Molla, A. del Olmo, P. Sanchez-Blazquez, G. van de Ven, J. M. Vilchez, C. J. Walcher, L. Wisotzki, B. Ziegler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


We use spatially and temporally resolved maps of stellar population properties of 300 galaxies from the CALIFA
integral field survey to investigate how the stellar metallicity (Z*) relates to the total stellar mass (M*) and the local
mass surface density (μ*) in both spheroidal- and disk-dominated galaxies. The galaxies are shown to follow a
clear stellar mass–metallicity relation (MZR) over the whole 109–1012MΘ range. This relation is steeper than the
one derived from nebular abundances, which is similar to the flatter stellar MZR derived when we consider only
young stars.We also find a strong relation between the local values of μ* and Z* (the μZR), betraying the influence
of local factors in determining Z*. This shows that both local (μ*-driven) and global (M*-driven) processes are
important in determining metallicity in galaxies. We find that the overall balance between local and global effects
varies with the location within a galaxy. In disks, μ* regulates Z*, producing a strong μZR whose amplitude is
modulated by M*. In spheroids it is M* that dominates the physics of star formation and chemical enrichment, with
μ* playing a minor, secondary role. These findings agree with our previous analysis of the star formation histories
of CALIFA galaxies, which showed that mean stellar ages are mainly governed by surface density in galaxy disks
and by total mass in spheroids.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL16
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2014


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • galaxies: stellar content
  • galaxies: structure
  • Digital Sky Survey
  • Field area survey
  • Spiral galaxies
  • Evolution


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