ABSTRACT: A rapid clustering scheme for Vibrio specieswas developed based on the analysis of 16S rDNA, which compriseda group-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragmentlength polymorphisms (RFLP) of the PCR-amplified 16S rDNA. The group-specificPCR, using a specific primer Vib1F, clustered the Vibrio speciesinto two large groups: Vib1F+ group and Vib1F– group.The PCR-RFLP, using ScaI and BlnI, further dividedthese groups into smaller groups. Finally, 46 Vibrio speciesand eight related species could be clustered into 14 groups usingthis rapid clustering method. Seasonal dynamics of the Vibrio communityin Yoshimi Bay, Hibiki-nada Sea, Japan, were examined based on therapid clustering method. In both seawater and sediments, the groupcomprised Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio alginolyticus, Vibriocampbellii, Vibrio carchariae, Vibrio harveyi and Vibrionatriegens and was predominant when the seawater temperaturewas above 20°C, whereas the group of Vibrio splendidus biotypeI and Vibrio lentus was abundant when the temperature wasaround or below 20°C.