The archaeal community and the effects of environmental factors on microbial community distribution were investigated at five sampling sites in the Changjiang Estuary hypoxia area and the adjacent East China Sea in June, August, and October 2006. Profiles of the archaeal communities were generated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of 16S rRNA genes followed by DNA sequence analysis, and the results were analyzed by multivariate statistical analysis. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis band patterns were analyzed by cluster analysis to assess temporal changes in the genetic diversity of the archaeal communities. Most of the October samples grouped together separately from those of June and August. Analysis of DNA sequences revealed that the dominant archaeal groups in the Changjiang Estuary hypoxia area and the adjacent East China Sea were affiliated with Euryarchaeota (mainly marine group II) and Crenarchaeota. The effects of environmental factors on the archaeal community distribution were analyzed by the ordination technique of canonical correspondence analysis. Salinity had a significant effect on the archaeal community composition.