The VIMOS Ultra Deep Survey: The reversal of the star-formation rate-density relation at 2 < z < 5

B. C. Lemaux, O. Cucciati, O. Le Fèvre, G. Zamorani, L. M. Lubin, N. Hathi, O. Ilbert, D. Pelliccia, R. Amorín, S. Bardelli, P. Cassata, R. R. Gal, B. Garilli, L. Guaita, M. Giavalisco, D. Hung, A. Koekemoer, D. MacCagni, L. Pentericci, B. RibeiroD. Schaerer, E. Shah, L. Shen, P. Staab, M. Talia, R. Thomas, A. R. Tomczak, L. Tresse, E. Vanzella, D. Vergani, E. Zucca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Utilizing spectroscopic observations taken for the VIMOS Ultra-Deep Survey (VUDS), new observations from Keck/DEIMOS, and publicly available observations of large samples of star-forming galaxies, we report here on the relationship between the star-formation rate (SFR) and the local environment (δgal) of galaxies in the early universe (2 < z < 5). Unlike what is observed at lower redshifts (z2; 2), we observe a definite, nearly monotonic increase in the average SFR with increasing galaxy overdensity over more than an order of magnitude in δgal. The robustness of this trend is quantified by accounting for both uncertainties in our measurements and galaxy populations that are either underrepresented or not present in our sample (e.g., extremely dusty star-forming and quiescent galaxies), and we find that the trend remains significant under all circumstances. This trend appears to be primarily driven by the fractional increase of galaxies in high-density environments that are more massive in their stellar content and are forming stars at a higher rate than their less massive counterparts. We find that, even after stellar mass effects are accounted for, there remains a weak but significant SFR-δgal trend in our sample implying that additional environmentally related processes are helping to drive this trend. We also find clear evidence that the average SFR of galaxies in the densest environments increases with increasing redshift. These results lend themselves to a picture in which massive gas-rich galaxies coalesce into proto-cluster environments at z3; 3, interact with other galaxies or with a forming large-scale medium, subsequently using or losing most of their gas in the process, and begin to seed the nascent red sequence that is present in clusters at slightly lower redshifts.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA33
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Techniques: photometric
  • Techniques: spectroscopic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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