Bacterial diversity in Tyrrhenian Sea sediments was assessed using cultivation-dependent and -independent approaches. Samples collected from the different sediment layers (up to 30cm) relative to four seamount and non-seamount stations, at depths from 3425 to 3580m, were subjected to DNA extraction and 16S rRNA amplification targeting the V3 region. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) showed several heterogeneous profiles and 27 single bands were excised and sequenced. Sequence analysis revealed the presence of Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Chloroflexi in 26% of the DGGE bands and a predominance of sequences affiliated to cultivable and uncultivable clones of Gammaproteobacteria (55%). To corroborate these findings, cultivation attempts were performed that allowed the isolation of 87 strains assigned to the proteobacterial classes. Identification was achieved by means of automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) and by 16S rDNA sequencing. The isolates were related to the gamma, alpha and beta subclasses of Proteobacteria with respective percentages of 77, 17 and 6%. The most predominant Gammaproteobacteria isolates, assigned to the Psychrobacter marincola and P. submarinus clade (n=53) and to Halomonas aquamarina (n=14), showed a huge intraspecific diversity with 29 distinct ARISA haplotypes. The detection by both approaches of these psychrophilic and moderately halophilic species and their extensive microdiversity indicated their predominance in Tyrrhenian Sea sediments where they constituted the indigenous microflora.