Vertical distribution and quantitative and qualitative phytoplankton composition were studied in Ezcurra Inlet, Admiralty Bay, South Shetland Islands in the austral summer 1977/78. Nannoplankton flagellates, 12—15 μm in diameter and 4—6 μm "monads" were the principal algae of the plankton. Diatoms, present in a low abundance, were dominated by Thalassiosira antarctica and several species of the genera Nitzschia and Chaetoceros. Peaks of cell numbers within the 1—10 m surface stratum and at the bottom of the euphotic zone were characteristic of the vertical distribution of phytoplankton. Light, water movements and density micro-gradients were the likely factors controlling the vertical distribution of algae.