Actinomycetes are widespread in the environment and are mainly organotrophic. Studies of their ecology have been primarily focussed on their detection and isolation, with comparatively little attention to the control mechanisms that determine their occurrence and behaviour in their natural environments. This session provided some diverse examples of approaches to this problem. Several actinomycete genera produce motile spores. The significance of flagella proteins and factors influencing spore motility and germination are considered. The genus Frankia forms nitrogen-fixing associations with non-leguminous plants. Molecular techniques have been used to clarify the endophyte-host relationships. Micromonospora species are common in the environment. The growth and physiology of a gentamicin-producing strain are described. Thermophilic actinomycetes in the genus Thermoactinomyces are common in composts and other self-heating environments. Novel isolates from acid soil, which grow and produce enzymes active at high temperatures and in acidic conditions, are discussed.