We compare a large sample of galaxies between 0.5View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1307.0514
1.5) are consistent with a model in which the ISM conditions are more extreme at high redshift than seen in the global spectra of local galaxies. We speculate that global spectra of our high redshift galaxies may be dominated by HII regions similar to the extreme clumpy, dense star-forming complexes in the Antennae and M82. The transition to local-type conditions occurs between 0.8 1.5). We use our theoretical models to derive a new redshift-dependent classification line that utilizes the standard optical diagnostic line ratios [OIII]/H-beta and [NII]/H-alpha. Our new line can be used to separate star-forming galaxies from AGN between z=0 to z~3.5. We anticipate that our redshift-dependent optical classification line will be useful for future large surveys with near-infrared multi-object spectrographs. We apply our classification line to a sample of gravitationally lensed galaxies at z~2.5. Although limited by small numbers, we show that our classification line is consistent with the position of AGN that have been independently confirmed via other methods.