16S rDNA clone library analysis was used to identify bacterial biodiversity in a variety of sea-ice microbial communities (SIMCO). DNA was extracted from seven Antarctic sea-ice samples and one Arctic sea-ice sample and 16S rDNA PCR-amplified using universal and Archaea-specific primers. Recombinant 16S rDNA clones were obtained and dereplicated using restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis (RFLP). After RFLP analysis, 100 distinct phylotypes (a unique clone or group of clones with sequence similarity of >0.98) were defined. From the clone libraries 16S rDNA sequences of bacterial and eukaryotic origin were detected, however Archaea were not detected either with universal or Archaea-specific 16S rDNA primer sets. Bacterial phylotypes grouped within the alpha and gamma proteobacteria, the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroides division, the Gram-Positive bacteria and the orders Chlamydiales and Verrucomicrobiales. The majority of bacterial phylotypes were affiliated with heterotrophic taxa and many grouped closely with cultivated genera and species. Eukaryotic clones were affiliated with a variety of autotrophic and heterotrophic nanoplankton and included a large number of chloroplast 16S rDNA genes. The findings of this investigation corroborated culture data indicating bacterial biodiversity increased in SIMCO displaying high levels of primary production, however the bacterial communities within SIMCO were highly heterogeneous at the genus/species-level between different samples. A comparison of Antarctic and Arctic SIMCO revealed certain sea-ice dwelling bacterial genera are common at both poles.