Sargassum Secrets: Lesson Plan

Sargassum is brown algae that washes up on the beach. New research shows that it is also a complex sea community and source of biodiversity in the Sargasso Sea.

UNC-TV Media

Alignment to NC Essential Standards

  • EEn.2.7.3 — Explain how human activities impact the biosphere.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will define biodiversity.
  2. Students will describe the characteristics of sargassum as a valuable ocean resource. 

Essential Vocabulary

  • nutrient cycling
  • nitrogen fixation


Have students watch the video What is Biodiversity? from PBS LearningMedia website.


Have students perform, and answer questions from, the Bean Biodiversity lab (click here to download the PDF).


Watch the NC Science Now video Sargassum Secrets. Share notes with another student.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Sargassum has recently been classified as an “Essential Fish Habitat.” What is it about sargassum that makes it essential?
  2. From the context of the video and other resources, define “nutrient cycling” and “nitrogen fixation.”


Additional Links:


  1. Define biodiversity.
  2. Infer from the materials: Why is biodiversity important to the hydrosphere?
  3. In a short paragraph, evaluate one advantage and one potential disadvantage of using turbine-powered energy sources that attach to the ocean floor.