Density, composition and domination structure of the sea ice microalgae in the Admiralty Bay (South Shetland Islands) were investigated in 1983. Algae were recorded both in discoloured and in colourless sea ice from June to October. The highest algae density, amounting to 5 x 105 cells in 1 cm3 was observed till the end of August, the diatoms Nitzschia cylindrus and N. curta being the dominant species. A total of 95 algal taxa. mostly diatoms, were recorded. Air temperature seems to be an important factor influencing the development of algae in sea ice.