Clustering of K-selected galaxies at 2 < z < 3.5: Evidence for a color-density relation

Ryan Quadri, Pieter Van Dokkum, Eric Gawiser, Marijn Franx, Danilo Marchesini, Paulina Lira, Gregory Rudnick, David Herrera, Jose Maza, Mariska Kriek, Ivo Labbé, Harold Francke

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75 Scopus citations


We study the clustering properties of K-selected galaxies at 2 < z < 3.5 using deep multiwavelength imaging in three fields from the MUSYC survey. These are the first measurements to probe the spatial correlation function of K-selected galaxies in this redshift range on large scales, allowing for robust conclusions about the dark matter halos that host these galaxies. The K-selected galaxies with K < 21 have a correlation length r0 ∼ 6 h -1 Mpc, larger than typical values found for optically selected galaxies. The correlation length does not depend on K-band magnitude in our sample but does increase strongly with color; the J - K > 2.3. distant red galaxies (DRGs) have r0 ∼ 11 h-1 Mpc. Furthermore, contrary to findings for optically selected galaxies, K-selected galaxies that are faint in the R band cluster more strongly than brighter galaxies. These results suggest that a color-density relation was in place at z > 2; it will be interesting to see whether this relation is driven by galaxies with old stellar populations or by dusty star-forming galaxies. Irrespective of the cause, our results indicate that K-bright blue galaxies and K-bright red galaxies are fundamentally different, having different clustering properties. Using a simple model of one galaxy per halo, we infer halo masses ∼5 × 1012 M for K < 21 galaxies and ∼2 × 1013 M for DRGs. A comparison of the observed space density of DRGs to that of their host halos suggests large halo occupation numbers; however, this result conflicts with the lack of a strong small-scale excess in the angular correlation function. Using the predicted evolution of halo mass to investigate relationships between galaxy populations at different redshifts, we find that the z = 0 descendants of the galaxies considered here reside primarily in groups and clusters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-152
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Infrared: galaxies
  • Large-scale structure of universe


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