Document Type


Publication Date



Understanding whether the bulge or the halo provides the primary link to the growth of supermassive black holes has strong implications for galaxy evolution and supermassive black hole formation itself. In this paper, we approach this issue by investigating extragalactic globular cluster (GC) systems, which can be used to probe the physics of both the bulge and the halo of the host galaxy. We study the relation between the supermassive black hole masses (MBH) and the GC system velocity dispersions (σGC) using an updated and improved sample of 21 galaxies. We exploit the dichotomy of GC system colours, to test if the blue and red GCs correlate differently with black hole mass. This may be expected if they trace the potentially different formation history of the halo and of the bulge of the host galaxy, respectively. We find that MBH correlates with the total GC system velocity dispersion, although not as strongly as claimed by recent work of Sadoun & Colin. We also examine the MBH-σGC relation for barred/barless and core/non-core galaxies, finding no significant difference, and for the first time we quantify the impact of radial gradients in the GC system velocity dispersion profile on the MBH-σGC relation. We additionally predict MBH in 13 galaxies, including dwarf elliptical galaxies and the cD galaxy NGC 3311. We conclude that our current results cannot discriminate between the bulge/halo scenarios. Although there is a hint that the red GC velocity dispersion might correlate better with MBH than the blue GC velocity dispersion, the number statistics are still too low to be certain.


Copyright © 2013 Oxford University Press. The published article may be found at :