Tracing the evolution of active galactic nuclei host galaxies over the last 9 Gyr of cosmic time

A. D. Goulding, W. R. Forman, R. C. Hickox, C. Jones, S. S. Murray, A. Paggi, M. L.N. Ashby, A. L. Coil, M. C. Cooper, J. S. Huang, R. Kraft, J. A. Newman, B. J. Weiner, S. P. Willner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


We present the results of a combined galaxy population analysis for the host galaxies of active galactic nuclei (AGN) identified at 0 < z < 1.4 within the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Boötes, and DEEP2 surveys. We identified AGN in a uniform and unbiased manner at X-ray, infrared, and radio wavelengths. Supermassive black holes undergoing radiatively efficient accretion (detected as X-ray and/or infrared AGN) appear to be hosted in a separate and distinct galaxy population than AGN undergoing powerful mechanically dominated accretion (radio AGN). Consistent with some previous studies, radiatively efficient AGN appear to be preferentially hosted in modest star-forming galaxies, with little dependence on AGN or galaxy luminosity. AGN exhibiting radio-emitting jets due to mechanically dominated accretion are almost exclusively observed in massive, passive galaxies. Crucially, we now provide strong evidence that the observed host-galaxy trends are independent of redshift. In particular, these different accretion-mode AGN have remained as separate galaxy populations throughout the last 9 Gyr. Furthermore, it appears that galaxies hosting AGN have evolved along the same path as galaxies that are not hosting AGN with little evidence for distinctly separate evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number40
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: statistics
  • infrared: galaxies
  • radio continuum: galaxies
  • surveys
  • X-rays: galaxies


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