The average stellar mass (M*) of high-mass galaxies (log M*/M > 11.5) is expected to grow by ∼30% since z ~ 1, largely through ongoing mergers that are also invoked to explain the observed increase in galaxy sizes. Direct evidence for the corresponding growth in stellar mass has been elusive, however, in part because the volumes sampled by previous redshift surveys have been too small to yield reliable statistics. In this work, we make use of the Stripe 82 Massive Galaxy Catalog (S82-MGC) to build a mass-limited sample of 41,770 galaxies log M*/M > 11.2) with optical-to-near-IR photometry and a large fraction (> 55%) of spectroscopic redshifts. Our sample spans 139 deg2, significantly larger than most previous efforts. After accounting for a number of potential systematic errors, including the effects of M* scatter, we measure galaxy stellar mass functions over 0.3 < z < 0.65 and detect no growth in the typical M* of massive galaxies with an uncertainty of 9%. This confidence level is dominated by uncertainties in the star formation (SF) history assumed for M* estimates, although our inability to characterize low-surface-brightness outskirts may be the most important limitation of our study. Even among these high-mass galaxies, we find evidence for differential evolution when splitting the sample by recent SF activity. While low-SF systems appear to become completely passive, we find a mostly subdominant population of galaxies with residual, but low rates of SF (∼1 M yr-1) whose number density does not evolve. Interestingly, these galaxies become more prominent at higher M*, representing ∼10% of all galaxies at 1012 M and perhaps dominating at even larger masses.




This work was supported by the World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI Initiative), MEXT, Japan. This work was supported by Kakenhi Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research 24740119 from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Keywords and Phrases

Galaxies: Abundances

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0004-637X; 1538-4357

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2017 The American Astronomical Society, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Dec 2017

Included in

Physics Commons