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The first positive genome-wide association study on gestational length and preterm delivery showed the involvement of an Se metabolism gene. In the present study, we examine the association between maternal intake of Se and Se status with gestational length and preterm delivery in 72 025 women with singleton live births from the population-based, prospective Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). A self-reported, semi-quantitative FFQ answered in pregnancy week 22 was used to estimate Se intake during the first half of pregnancy. Associations were analysed with adjusted linear and Cox regressions. Se status was assessed in whole blood collected in gestational week 17 (n 2637). Median dietary Se intake was 53 (interquartile range (IQR) 44–62) µg/d, supplements provided additionally 50 (IQR 30–75) µg/d for supplement users (n 23 409). Maternal dietary Se intake was significantly associated with prolonged gestational length (β per sd = 0·25, 95 % CI, 0·07, 0·43) and decreased risk of preterm delivery (n 3618, hazard ratio per sd = 0·92, 95 % CI, 0·87, 0·98). Neither Se intake from supplements nor maternal blood Se status was associated with gestational length or preterm delivery. Hence, the present study showed that maternal dietary Se intake but not intake of Se-containing supplements, during the first half of pregnancy was significantly associated with decreased risk of preterm delivery. Further investigations, preferably in the form of a large randomised controlled trial, are needed to elucidate the impact of Se on pregnancy duration.
We examine the metallicity trends in the Milky Way (MW) bulge – using APOGEE DR13 data – and explore their origin by comparing two N-body models of isolated galaxies which develop a bar and a boxy/peanut (b/p) bulge. Both models have been proposed as scenarios for reconciling a disc origin of the MW bulge with a negative vertical metallicity gradient. The first is a superposition of co-spatial disc populations, different scaleheights and metallicities (with flat gradients) where the thick, metal-poor populations contribute significantly to the stellar mass budget in the inner galaxy. The second model is a single disc with an initial steep radial metallicity gradient which gets mapped by the bar into the b/p bulge in such a way that the vertical metallicity gradient of the MW bulge is reproduced – as shown already in previous works in the literature. As we show here, the latter model does not reproduce the positive longitudinal metallicity gradient of the inner disc, nor the metal-poor innermost regions seen in the data. The model with co-spatial thin and thick disc populations reproduces all the aforementioned trends. We therefore see that it is possible to reconcile a (primarily) disc origin for the MW bulge with the observed trends in metallicity by mapping the inner thin and thick discs of the MW into a b/p.
We explore morphological, kinematic and chemical trends of boxy/peanut (b/p) bulges of Milky Way (MW)-type galaxies, to better understand the formation history of the MW’s bulge. We show, using N-body simulations with both a kinematically cold and a kinematically hot disc, that colder populations develop a more prominent bar and X-shaped peanut as compared to their hotter counterpart. Colder discs also exhibit lower line-of-sight velocities (when viewed edge-on) at the edges of the b/p compared to hot discs, in agreement with what is seen for the MW bulge. Furthermore, we explore an N-body model which has three co-spatial discs with metallicities which correspond to the stellar populations of the inner Milky Way, where the α-enhanced thick disc populations are massive and centrally concentrated. The metallicity trends seen in observations of the Bulge can be reproduced in the model without the need of adding any additional components, which hints to the disc origin of the MW’s bulge.
To explore the relation between bar formation and star formation in Milky Way-type galaxies quantitatively, we simulated gas-rich disk isolated galaxies. We find that the action of the stellar bar efficiently quenches star formation, reducing the star-formation rate by a factor of 10 in less than 1 Gyr. Analytical and self-consistent galaxy simulations with bars suggest that the action of the stellar bar increases the gas random motions within the co-rotation radius of the bar. Indeed, we detect an increase in the gas velocity dispersion at the end of the bar formation phase. The star formation efficiency decreases rapidly, and in all of our models, the bar quenches the star formation in the galaxy. The star-formation efficiency is much lower in simulated barred compared to unbarred galaxies and more rapid bar formation implies more rapid quenching.
We have recently discovered evidence for a population of radio-loud quasars that is reddened by dust. The dust is either along the line of sight to the quasars or is associated with the quasars. In the latter case the dust may be in molecular clouds in the quasar’s host galaxy, or in a molecular torus around the nucleus. We are planning to use 3 mm observations to search for molecular absorption lines (CO and HCO+) associated with dust at the redshift of these quasars. If any absorption systems are detected we will be able to deduce detailed information about the physical state of the molecular gas, hopefully showing which of the proposed locations of the dust is most likely.
The cosmic star formation rate density first increases with time towards a pronounced peak 10 Gyrs ago (or z=1-2) and then slows down, dropping by more than a factor 10 since z=1. The processes at the origin of the star formation quenching are not yet well identified: either the gas is expelled by supernovae and AGN feedback, or prevented to inflow. Morphological transformation or environment effects are also invoked. Recent IRAM/NOEMA and ALMA results are reviewed about the molecular content of galaxies and its dynamics, as a function of redshift. Along the main sequence of massive star forming galaxies, the gas fraction was higher in the past (up to 80%), and galaxy disks were more unstable and more turbulent. The star formation efficiency increases with redshift, or equivalently the depletion time decreases, whatever the position of galaxies, either on the main sequence or above. Attempts have been made to determine the cosmic evolution of the H2 density, but deeper ALMA observations are needed to effectively compare with models.
Current star-forming galaxies (SFGs) with CO measurements at z ~ 2 suffer from a bias toward high star formation rates (SFR) and high stellar masses (M*). It is yet essential to extend the CO measurements to the more numerous z ~ 2 SFGs with LIR < L⋆ = 4× 1011 L⊙ and M* < 2.5× 1010 M⊙. We have achieved CO, stars, and dust measurements in 8 such sub-L⋆ SFGs with the help of gravitational lensing. Combined with CO-detected galaxies from the literature, we find that the LIR, L′CO(1−0) data are best-fitted with a single relation that favours a universal star formation. This picture emerges because of the enlarged star formation efficiency spread of the current z>1 SFGs sample. We show that this spread is mostly triggered by the combination of redshift, specific SFR, and M*. Finally, we find evidence for a non-universal dust-to-gas ratio (DGR) with a clear trend for a lower DGR mean in z>1 SFGs by a factor of 2 with respect to local galaxies and high-redshift sub-mm galaxies at fixed about solar metallicity.
Observed massive galaxies in the distant Universe form stars at much higher rates than today. High levels of star formation are sustained by a continuous supply of fresh gas and high molecular gas fractions. But after a peak around redshift z=2-3, the star formation rate decreases by an order of magnitude. Is this evolution mostly driven by the available cold gas reservoir, or are the star formation processes qualitatively different near the star formation peak? The Kennicutt-Schmidt relation enables to characterize the star formation efficiency at low and high redshift, but resolved measurements at the scale of the star-forming regions themselves are still challenging at high redshift. Molecular gas observations carried out at the IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometer within the PHIBSS program (Tacconi, Combes et al.) permit us to study the star formation efficiency at sub-galactic scales around z=1.2 and 1.5 for a limited sample of galaxies, and thus help characterize the star formation processes at this epoch. Our results lay in the continuation of the resolved low-redshift measurements, but further studies would be necessary to complement our sample and validate our conclusions.
Wolf-Rayet HII galaxies are local metal-poor star-forming galaxies, observed when the most massive stars are evolving from O stars to WR stars, making them template systems to study distant starbursts. We have been performing a program to investigate the interplay between massive stars and gas in WR HII galaxies using IFS. Here, we highlight some results from the first 3D spectroscopic study of Mrk 178, the closest metal-poor WR HII galaxy, focusing on the origin of the nebular HeII emission and the aperture effects on the detection of WR features.
We resolve spatially the star formation history of 300 nearby galaxies from the CALIFA integral field survey to investigate: a) the radial structure and gradients of the present stellar populations properties as a function of the Hubble type; and b) the role that plays the galaxy stellar mass and stellar mass surface density in governing the star formation history and metallicity enrichment of spheroids and the disks of galaxies. We apply the fossil record method based on spectral synthesis techniques to recover spatially and temporally resolved maps of stellar population properties of spheroids and spirals with galaxy mass from 109 to 7×1011 M⊙. The individual radial profiles of the stellar mass surface density (μ⋆), stellar extinction (AV), luminosity weighted ages (〈logage〉L), and mass weighted metallicity (〈log Z/Z⊙〉M) are stacked in seven bins of galaxy morphology (E, S0, Sa, Sb, Sbc, Sc and Sd). All these properties show negative gradients as a sight of the inside-out growth of massive galaxies. However, the gradients depend on the Hubble type in different ways. For the same galaxy mass, E and S0 galaxies show the largest inner gradients in μ⋆; and Andromeda-like galaxies (Sb with log M⋆ (M⊙) ∼ 11) show the largest inner age and metallicity gradients. In average, spiral galaxies have a stellar metallicity gradient ∼ −0.1 dex per half-light radius, in agreement with the value estimated for the ionized gas oxygen abundance gradient by CALIFA. A global (M⋆-driven) and local (μ⋆-driven) stellar metallicity relation are derived. We find that in disks, the stellar mass surface density regulates the stellar metallicity; in spheroids, the galaxy stellar mass dominates the physics of star formation and chemical enrichment.
We study the stellar content of three galactic bulges with the high resolution gratings (R=7000) of the WiFeS integral field unit in order to better understand their formation and evolution. In all cases we find that at least 50% of the stellar mass already existed 12 Gyrs ago, more than currently predicted by simulations. A younger component (age between ∼1 to ∼8 Gyrs) is also prominent and its present day distribution seems to be much more affected by morphological structures, especially bars, than the older one. This in-depth analysis supports the notion of increasing complexity in bulges which cannot be achieved by mergers alone, but requires a non-negligible contribution from secular evolution.
The study of the star formation rate (SFR) is crucial for understanding the birth and evolution of the galaxies (Kennicutt 1998), with this aim in mind, we make use of a well-characterized sample of 380 nearby galaxies from the CALIFA survey that fill the entire color-magnitude diagram in the Local Universe. The availability of wide-field CALIFA IFS ensures a proper determination of the underlying stellar continuum and, consequently, of the extiction-corrected Hα luminosity. We compare our integrated Hα-based SFRs with single and hybrids tracers at other wavelengths found in the literature (Calzetti 2013). Then, we provide a new set of single-band and hybrid calibrators anchored to the extinction-corrected Hα luminosities. In the case of the hybrid calibrators we determine the best fitting aIR coefficients for different combinations of observed (UV or Hα) and dust-reprocessed (22μm or TIR) SFR contributions (where SFR ∝ Lobs + aIR × L[IR]). This analysis allow us to provide, for the first time, a set of hybrid calibrations for different morphological types and masses. These are particularly useful in case that the sample to be analyzed shows a different bias in terms of morphology or, more commonly, luminosity or stellar mass. We also study the dependence of this coefficient with color and ionized-gas attenuation. The distributions of aIR values are quite wide in all cases. We found that not single physical property can by itself explain the variation found in aIR.
Finally, we explore the spatial distribution of the SFR by measuring the contribution of disks to the total SFR in the Local Universe. Our preliminary spatially-resolved analysis shows that the disk to total (disk + spheroidal component) SFR ratio is on average ∼ 88%. The use of the 2D spectroscopic data is critical to properly determine the Hα luminosity function and SFR density in the Local Universe per galaxy components, the ultimate goal of this project.
For the first time in any ram pressure stripped galaxy, we detect large amounts of cold molecular gas in the X-ray bright, and star forming tail of ESO 137-001 in the Norma cluster. We find very low star formation efficiency in the stripped gas, similar to values found in the outer spiral disks where however molecular gas is mostly undetected. The results were recently published in Jáchym et al. (2014).
Methods to recover the fossil record of galaxy evolution encoded in their optical spectra have been instrumental in processing the avalanche of data from mega-surveys along the last decade, effectively transforming observed spectra onto a long and rich list of physical properties: from stellar masses and mean ages to full star formation histories. This promoted progress in our understanding of galaxies as a whole. Yet, the lack of spatial resolution introduces undesirable aperture effects, and hampers advances on the internal physics of galaxies. This is now changing with 3D surveys. The mapping of stellar populations in data-cubes allows us to figure what comes from where, unscrambling information previously available only in integrated form. This contribution uses our starlight-based analysis of 300 CALIFA galaxies to illustrate the power of spectral synthesis applied to data-cubes. The selected results highlighted here include: (a) The evolution of the mass-metallicity and mass-density-metallicity relations, as traced by the mean stellar metallicity. (b) A comparison of star formation rates obtained from Hα to those derived from full spectral fits. (c) The relation between star formation rate and dust optical depth within galaxies, which turns out to mimic the Schmidt-Kennicutt law. (d) PCA tomography experiments.
We continue our search for extragalactic Carbon Radio Recombination Lines (CRRL) in M82 with the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR; van Haarlem et al.2013). The goal of our project is to determine the physical conditions of the cold neutral gas in this object, for which low frequency radio recombination lines can provide a sensitive probe.
Our new compilation of interferometric CO data suggests that nuclear and extended molecular gas disks are common in the final stages of mergers. Comparing the sizes of the molecular gas disk and gas mass fractions to early-type and late-type galaxies, about half of the sample show similar properties to early-type galaxies, which have compact gas disks and low gas mass fractions. We also find that sources with extended gas disks and large gas mass fractions may become disk-dominated galaxies.