Galaxies in the EAGLE hydrodynamical simulation and in the Durham and Munich semi-analytical models

Quan Guo, Violeta Gonzalez-Perez, Qi Guo, Matthieu Schaller, Michelle Furlong, Richard G. Bower, Shaun Cole, Robert A. Crain, Carlos S. Frenk, John C. Helly, Cedric G. Lacey, Claudia del P. Lagos, Peter Mitchell, Joop Schaye, Tom Theuns

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We compare global predictions from the EAGLE hydrodynamical simulation, and two semi-analytic (SA) models of galaxy formation, L-GALAXIES and GALFORM. All three models include the key physical processes for the formation and evolution of galaxies and their parameters are calibrated against a small number of observables at z ≈ 0. The two SA models have been applied to merger trees constructed from the EAGLE dark matter only simulation. We find that at z ≤ 2, both the galaxy stellar mass functions for stellar masses M* < 1010.5 M and the median specific star formation rates (sSFRs) in the three models agree to better than 0.4 dex. The evolution of the sSFR predicted by the three models closely follows the mass assembly history of dark matter haloes. In both EAGLE and L-GALAXIES there are more central passive galaxies with M* < 109.5 Mthan in GALFORM. This difference is related to galaxies that have entered and then left a larger halo and which are treated as satellites in GALFORM. In the range 0 < z < 1, the slope of the evolution of the star formation rate density in EAGLE is a factor of ≈1.5 steeper than for the two SA models. The median sizes for galaxies with M* > 109.5 M differ in some instances by an order of magnitude, while the stellar mass–size relation in EAGLE is a factor of ≈2 tighter than for the two SA models. Our results suggest the need for a revision of how SA models treat the effect of baryonic self-gravity on the underlying dark matter. The treatment of gas flows in the models needs to be revised based on detailed comparison with observations to understand in particular the evolution of the stellar mass–metallicity relation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3457-3482
Number of pages26
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date24 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • astro-ph.GA
  • astro-ph.CO
  • methods: analytical
  • methods: numerical
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation
  • cosmology: theory
  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/L00075X/1
  • ST/K00042X/1
  • ST/K00087X/1
  • ST/H008519/1
  • ST/K003267/1


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