Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Robert Michael Lewis

Committee Members

Daniel A. Cristol

Rex K. Kincaid


The biological phenomenon of symbiosis is a fascinating area of biomathematical study. However, research has primarily focused on competition and predator-prey interactions, leaving other associations relatively unexamined. In this study, we investigated the mutualistic relationship between clownfish and sea anemones. Our initial goal was to build a model that accurately captured the interactions and relationship between these species; our hope was that this model would predict such information as the parameters and initial conditions needed to maintain steady state populations. Upon consideration of our initial model, we determined that its specificity outweighed its ability to produce biologically realistic results. The model was theoretically reasonable, and while some of the data we found in academic journals proved sufficient, two important factors had no available information: the association rate between free-living clownfish and free-living anemones, and the association rate between free-living clownfish and symbiotic pairs. These rates drove the model and thus became the focus of our study. We were forced to drastically simplify our model in order to arrive at something manageable, as is common in biological models, but this necessary step led us to inspect the sensitivity of the association rates and other parameters and examine the accuracy of our model.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

Included in

Mathematics Commons