The diversity of culturable bacteria associated
with sandy intertidal sediments from the coastal regions of the Chinese Antarctic Zhongshan Station on the Larsemann Hills (Princess Elizabeth Land, East Antarctica) was investigated.A total of 65 aerobic heterotrophic bacterial strains
were isolated at 4�C. Microscopy and 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis indicated that the isolates were dominated by Gram-negative bacteria, while only 16 Gram-positive strains were isolated. The bacterial isolates fell in five phylogenetic groups: Alpha- and Gammaproteobacteria,Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes. Based on phylogenetic trees, all the 65 isolates were sorted into 29 main clusters, corresponding to at least 29 diVerent genera.Based on sequence analysis (<98% sequence similarity),the Antarctic isolates belonged to at least 37 diVerent bacterial
species, and 14 of the 37 bacterial species (37.8%) represented potentially novel taxa. These results indicated a high culturable diversity within the bacterial community of the Antarctic sandy intertidal sediments.