Seven Gram-negative strains, isolated in 1990 from a 10(6)-fold dilution series of seawater from Resurrection Bay, a deep fjord of the Gulf of Alaska, were identified in a polyphasic taxonomic study. Analysis of 16S rDNA sequences and DNA-homology studies confirmed the phylogenetic position of all strains in the genus Sphingomonas and further indicated that all of the strains constitute a single homogeneous genomic species, distinct from all validly described Sphingomonas species. The ability to differentiate the species, both phenotypically and chemotaxonomically, from its nearest neighbours justifies the proposal of a new species name, Sphingomonas alaskensis sp. nov., for this taxon. Strain LMG 18877T (= RB2256T = DSM 13593T) was selected as the type strain.