Bacterial community composition was determined by culture-independent PCR-based methods in two soils differing markedly in their water, C, N and P contents sampled from Mars Oasis on Alexander Island, western Antarctic Peninsula. 16S rRNA sequences of the phyla Actinobacteria, Cyanobacteria, α-Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria were commonly (>8% frequency) obtained from soil. Those of β-, γ- and δ-Proteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Bacteroidetes, Verrucomicrobia, Planctomycetes, Gemmatimonadetes and Firmicutes were less frequent. Comparisons of slopes of collector's curves and the Shannon–Weiner diversity index indicated no difference in overall bacterial diversity between the two soils, although sequences of δ-Proteobacteria and the cyanobacterial genus Leptolyngbya were more commonly derived from the soil with the higher water and nutrient content. The data suggest that different levels of soil water, C, N and P have only a minor effect on the bacterial community composition of maritime Antarctic soils.