We investigate the ability of hierarchical models of quasi-stellar object (QSO) formation and evolution to match the observed luminosity, number counts and spatial clustering of quasars at redshift z < 2. These models assume that the QSO emission is triggered by galaxy mergers, that the mass of the central black hole (BH) correlates with halo properties and that quasars shine at their Eddington luminosity except, perhaps, during the very early stages of evolution. We find that models based on simple analytic approximations successfully reproduce the observed B-band QSO luminosity function (LF) at all redshifts, provided that some mechanisms is advocated to quench mass accretion within haloes larger than ~1013Msolar that host bright quasars. These models also match the observed strength of QSO clustering at z~ 0.8. At larger redshifts, however, they underpredict the QSO biasing which, instead, is correctly reproduced by semi-analytic models in which the halo merger history and associated BHs are followed by Monte Carlo realizations of the merger hierarchy. We show that the disagreement between the LF predicted by semi-analytic models and observations can be ascribed to the use of B-band data, which are a biased tracer of the quasar population, due to obscuration.
Marullif, ., Crocian, D., Volonteri, M., Branchini, E., Moscardini, L. (2006). Modelling the quasi-stellar object luminosity and spatial clustering at low redshifts. MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, 368, 1269-1280 [10.1111/j.1365-2966.2006.10195.x].