Soil samples were collected from the summit of Mt Erebus and Mt Melbourne geothermal areas. Previous sampling of this area (1980) indicated the absence of bacteria which are common in other hot springs with similar pH and temperature profiles. The aim of this investigation was to confirm these findings and to determine the dominant bacteria at these sites. In addition, culturing of any novel ... organisms that might be present was initiated. Four groups of thermophilic bacteria were mainly investigated: Thermus, archaebacteria, hydrogen-oxidising eubacteria and cellulolytic eubacteria. Several samples were obtained at the summit of Mt Erebus from the sites at Tramway Ridge and on the side of the Southern Crater. Samples were also taken at the base of several steaming fumaroles (ice towers), from soil and ice around the summit rim and within the southern crater. One day was spent sampling on the Mt Melbourne summit. The pH and temperature at each sampling site was measured. Extraction of DNA from soil samples were completed and the specific amplification of the 16srRNA gene and it subsequent sequence analysis was used to identify culturable organism. Results of culturing confirmed earlier findings that Thermus is absent from the Mt Erebus thermal sites and aerobic spore forming Gram positive bacilli are the dominant aerobic bacteria present.