A study of soil microorganisms of Ross Island and the adjacent mainland was carried out during the brief austral summer of 1961-1962. In some cases, seasonal changes in microbial numbers were observed, although microorganisms could not be detected in some soils. Bacterial species common to temperate regions were isolated from a number of different samples. Thermophilic bacteria were present in some of the soils, and a significant portion of the bacterial population was capable of growth at 2 C. The soil microflora were capable of carrying out certain reactions of the nitrogen cycle at a very slow rate. In addition to temperature, other environmental factors which might influence growth and metabolic activity were discussed.