The Cosmic Evolution of Galaxy Chemical Abundances and Baryon Cycling Over the Past 12 Billion Years
Understanding how galaxies assemble their baryonic content is one of the major open questions in galaxy formation and evolution. The key processes that govern the smooth secular growth of galaxies over time include gas accretion, star formation, energetic feedback, and outflows, collectively referred to as the cycle of baryons. The gas-phase metallicity of the interstellar medium in galaxies is sensitive to baryon cycling, and scaling relations between metallicity and global galaxy properties such as stellar mass and star-formation rate are valuable probes of gas flows and galaxy growth. I will present the latest observational constraints on the evolution of the mass-metallicity relation and the fundamental metallicity relation (mass-SFR-metallicity) from z=0 to z~3.3, spanning the past 12 Gyr of cosmic history. I will discuss the implications for outflow rates and mass loading factors of galactic winds. I will also examine future observational prospects to improve the connection between gas flows and the metal and gas content of galaxies, and to extend gas-phase abundance studies into the epoch of reionization with JWST.