Two main physiological groups of bacteria are known which are adapted to high saline environments, moderate and extreme halophiles. In order to clarify some aspects of the competition between these two groups in their natural habitats, continuous cultures were used to provide a changing spectrum of conditions of salt concentration, temperature, and nutrient concentration (dilution rate). The effects of these parameters on natural solar saltern populations were studied. Complex media were used to increase the range of competing microorganisms. Nineteen strains of halophilic bacteria were isolated and studied with respect to their growth response at different salt concentrations. The temperature seemed to be the decisive factor within the range of salt concentrations studied (20-30%, w/v), the moderate halophiles being favored by low temperatures. Within this group, motile, gram-negative rods, and spiral forms were the predominant morphological types. In general, microorganisms that showed high growth rates in batch cultures predominated in continuous cultures with high dilution rates (high nutrient concentrations); those that grew slowly in batch cultures predominated in cultures with low dilution rates.