Marine Biology Simulation

Case Study

Distribution File Contents


The Java-based Marine Biology Simulation case study presents a simplified version of a simulation program that could be used to help marine biologists study fish movement in a small, bounded environment such as a lake or bay.  It was a required part of the AP Computer Science  A and AB curricula from 2003-2004 through 2006-2007.

When you unzip the distribution file, it creates a folder or directory called JavaMBS. That folder contains an older version of this file (index.html) and several sub-folders.

These folders are described below.

This folder contains the source (*.java) files for the classes students will study as part of the case study. It also contains two libraries (mbsbb.jar and mbsgui.jar) of additional, pre-compiled classes required by the application. Students will need to read the documentation for some of these classes (found in the Documentation folder), but they do not need to understand (or even look at) their implementations.

Students will study a few classes in each chapter of the case study. The table below shows which classes are introduced in the each of the chapters of the case study; the ones in bold are the ones whose implementation or class documentation were tested on the Advanced Placement exam.

Chapter Classes Students Study
(Code Folder)

Class Documentation
Students Read

Other Classes Mentioned
1 SimpleMBSDemo1

MBSGUI (for running)

2 Simulation
3 Fish (modified)    
4 DarterFish
5 (AB) Environment
SquareEnv MBSGUI (further testing)

This folder contains a number of data files that provide initial configurations for fish in an environment. Each file in this folder specifies the dimensions of a bounded environment and the initial locations and directions for a number of fish. The case study narrative directs students to use several of these files, but they are encouraged to experiment with all of them. There is another folder inside the DataFiles folder called UnboundedEnvDataFiles, used in Chapter 5.

Documentation   (Class Documentation)
This folder contains documentation for all the classes in the case study whose implementation or class documentation students study. The documentation was created using the standard javadoc documentation tool. (For those coming to Java from C++, the class documentation created by this tool is similar to the information found in C++ header files.)

The Documentation folder also contains the help file for the graphical user interface provided as part of this distribution.  You can read this help file by choosing "Help..." from the program's Help menu or by viewing it directly in a web browser.

This folder contains information (or pointers to information) about compiling and running the Marine Biology Simulation in several common environments, including DOS and UNIX/Linux/OS X command lines, BlueJ, CodeWarrior, JCreator, and TextPad. 

This folder contains the narrative for the Marine Biology Simulation case study in PDF format.  The narrative consists of 5 chapters that introduce students to an existing program, describe modifications to it, and provide discussion questions and programming exercises for students to explore the program's design and implementation. The APCS A exam covered material in chapters 1 - 4; the AB exam covered the material in all 5 chapters.

This file is a variation of a file written by Alyce Brady and copyrighted© 2002 by the College Entrance Examination Board ( The College Board is no longer distributing or maintaining the Marine Biology Simulation case study.
*AP and Advanced Placement are registered trademarks of the College Entrance Examination Board, which has not endorsed this website.
Last modified on 5 January 2019 by Alyce Brady.