Samples of marine benthic invertebrates collected from two sites in the Antarctic have been analysed for both aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons in order to establish baseline concentrations for some classes of hydrocarbons. Samples from Signy Island, a pristine site, contained low concentrations of the hydrocarbons determined, whereas those from King Edward Cove, South Georgia, contained significantly higher concentrations. King Edward Cove has a known history of pollution from whaling operations. Platt & Mackie (1979) have suggested that the hydrocarbons in sediments from King Edward Cove are a result of the world-wide dissemination of the pyrolysis products of fossil fuels. Our work suggests, in contrast, that the hydrocarbons in the benthos are derived from local sources.