The Astrophysical Journal, 756(2):113, 9, 2012. Paper Website abstract bibtex
Making use of H I 21 cm line measurements from the ALFALFA survey (α.40) and photometry from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), we investigate the global scaling relations and fundamental planes linking stars and gas for a sample of 9417 common galaxies: the α.40-SDSS-GALEX sample. In addition to their H I properties derived from the ALFALFA data set, stellar masses (M *) and star formation rates (SFRs) are derived from fitting the UV-optical spectral energy distributions. 96% of the α.40-SDSS-GALEX galaxies belong to the blue cloud, with the average gas fraction f H I ≡ M H I /M * ~ 1.5. A transition in star formation (SF) properties is found whereby below M * ~ 109.5 M ⊙, the slope of the star-forming sequence changes, the dispersion in the specific star formation rate (SSFR) distribution increases, and the star formation efficiency (SFE) mildly increases with M *. The evolutionary track in the SSFR-M * diagram, as well as that in the color-magnitude diagram, is linked to the H I content; below this transition mass, the SF is regulated strongly by the H I. Comparison of H I and optically selected samples over the same restricted volume shows that the H I-selected population is less evolved and has overall higher SFR and SSFR at a given stellar mass, but lower SFE and extinction, suggesting either that a bottleneck exists in the H I-to-H2 conversion or that the process of SF in the very H I-dominated galaxies obeys an unusual, low-efficiency SF law. A trend is found that, for a given stellar mass, high gas fraction galaxies reside preferentially in dark matter halos with high spin parameters. Because it represents a full census of H I-bearing galaxies at z ~ 0, the scaling relations and fundamental planes derived for the ALFALFA population can be used to assess the H I detection rate by future blind H I surveys and intensity mapping experiments at higher redshift. Based on observations made with the Arecibo Observatory. The Arecibo Observatory is operated by SRI International under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (AST-1100968) and in alliance with Ana G. Méndez-Universidad Metropolitana and the Universities Space Research Association.