SARGASSO SEAWEED--"Generations of scientists have sailed forth to study the Sargasso Sea. Contrary to what the seaweed might suggest, it is not a jungle teeming with life but one of the great oceanic deserts of the earth. Where do the weeds come from? Columbus theorized that the drifting weeds were torn loose from great submerged beds of plants near the Azores, but no such beds have ever been found. The floating Sargassum gives every evidence of growing, reproducing and living an independent life in the Sea where it is found. Many oceanographers now favor the theory that the great bulk of the seaweed in the Sargasso Sea is native to the Sea itself. Its forebears may have come from beds on the bottom, but it has now evolved the ability to live a free, floating existence on the surface."