Using different techniques of molecular biology we investigated the bacterial diversity of the chemocline of the meromictic Lake Cadagno. Cloning of a total community 16S rDNA PCR product and subsequent screening with a combination of amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis and temporal temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TTGE) analysis revealed that 30 of 47 randomly selected clones were unique. Partial sequencing and comparative analysis indicated a high bacterial diversity dominated by the gamma-Proteobacteria (33.3%). Most of these rDNA clone sequences were not closely related to any 16S rDNA sequence in the database. In a second approach, the TTGE pattern from an environmental sample was compared with the migration of the cloned 16S rDNA fragments. Four clone types were identified on the environmental pattern by excising and sequencing comigrating bands, three of which were well represented in the library: two Chromatiaceae species and one sequence affiliated with the Desulfobulbus assemblage. Using the fluorescent in situ hybridization technique we essentially confirmed the results of the cloning experiments and the TTGE analysis.