The Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA technique was used to assess the level of genetic diversity in Bryum argenteum from Ross Island and southern Victoria Land, Antarctica. Samples were collected from three separate transects, and from other geographically distinct populations within 150 km of Ross Island. Moss growth in two transects, sampled down small exposed meltstream channels at Cape Royds and Cape Chocolate, was very sparse with no other moss colonies found within 0.4 or 4 km, respectively. However, samples from these channels showed similar levels of genetic variation to those From a transect at Granite Harbour, where moss colonies were large, luxuriant and turf-like between boulders. In all transects, high levels of genetic diversity were apparent both within and between colonies, and some spatial relationships were observed down the length of the channels, with more extensive variation at the top than the bottom of two transects. Samples from other sites in the region showed varying but high levels of genetic diversity; overall, the majority showed some clustering according to site of collection, with short-distance dispersal of propagules by water and transmission between sites presumably by wind. The extensive genetic diversity observed appears mainly due to somatic mutation within colonies, with some contribution by immigration of propagules from elsewhere into established colonies.