Lyman-α emitters are thought to be young, low-mass galaxies with ages of 10 8 yr (refs 1, 2). An overdensity of them in one region of the sky (the SSA 22 field) traces out a filamentary structure in the early Universe at a redshift of z 3.1 (equivalent to 15 per cent of the age of the Universe) and is believed to mark a forming protocluster. Galaxies that are bright at (sub)millimetre wavelengths are undergoing violent episodes of star formation, and there is evidence that they are preferentially associated with high-redshift radio galaxies, so the question of whether they are also associated with the most significant large-scale structure growing at high redshift (as outlined by Lyman-α emitters) naturally arises. Here we report an imaging survey of 1,100-m emission in the SSA 22 region. We find an enhancement of submillimetre galaxies near the core of the protocluster, and a large-scale correlation between the submillimetre galaxies and the low-mass Lyman-α emitters, suggesting synchronous formation of the two very different types of star-forming galaxy within the same structure at high redshift. These results are in general agreement with our understanding of the formation of cosmic structure.
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