The Physical Relation between Age and Metallicity in Galaxies
We present unified chemical and spectrophotometric evolutionary synthesis models that allow to describe composite stellar populations in a chemically consistent way. Keeping track of the ISM abundance at birth of each star and using sets of input physics (stellar yields, tracks, spectra) for different metallicities we account for the increasing initial metallicity of successive stellar generations. For any galaxy type its Star Formation History determines the physical relation between the ages and metallicities of its stars. As compared to models using solar metallicity input physics only, differences are significant, both for the ISM enrichment evolution and for the spectrophotometric evolution, and they increase with lookback time. Results are used to interprete Damped Ly Absorbers. Knowledge of the chemical evolution of the ISM allows to predict abundances of stars, star clusters, and tidal dwarf galaxies that may form when spirals merge at any redshift.