First Light And Reionization Epoch Simulations (FLARES) VII: The star formation and metal enrichment histories of galaxies in the early Universe

Stephen M. Wilkins, Aswin P. Vijayan, Christopher C. Lovell, William J. Roper, Erik Zackrisson, Dimitrios Irodotou, Louise T. C. Seeyave, Jussi K. Kuusisto, Peter A. Thomas, Joseph Caruana, Christopher J. Conselice

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The star formation and metal enrichment histories of galaxies – at any epoch – constitute one of the key properties of galaxies, and their measurement is a core aim of observational extragalactic astronomy. The lack of deep rest-frame optical coverage at high redshift has made robust constraints elusive, but this is now changing thanks to JWST. In preparation for the constraints provided by JWST, we explore the star formation and metal enrichment histories of galaxies at z = 5–13 using the First Light And Reionization Epoch Simulations (FLARES) suite. Built on the EAGLE model, the unique strategy of FLARES allows us to simulate galaxies with a wide range of stellar masses (and luminosities) and environments. While we predict significant redshift evolution of average ages and specific star formation rates, our core result is mostly a flat relationship of age and specific star formation rate with stellar mass. We also find that galaxies in this epoch predominantly have strongly rising star formation histories, albeit with the normalization dropping with redshift and stellar mass. In terms of chemical enrichment, we predict a strong stellar mass–metallicity relation present at z = 10 and beyond alongside significant α-enhancement. Finally, we find no large-scale environmental dependence of the relationship between age, specific star formation rate, or metallicity with stellar mass.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3935-3948
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date17 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • astro-ph.GA
  • methods: numerical
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: extinction
  • infrared: galaxies
  • UKRI
  • STFC
  • ST/K00042X/1
  • ST/P002293/1
  • ST/R002371/1
  • ST/S002502/1
  • ST/R000832/1

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