This study describes the ostracode faunal composition and distribution on the continental shelf of the southern Marmara Sea in Turkey. Twenty-three bottom samples were collected from the shelf. These samples are characterized by silt-clay (mud), sand and gravel in the studied area. A total of 46 species belonging to 32 genera were determined from these samples. Seven species were dominant from 46 ostracode species. Three assemblages were identified by their dominant species. These are characterized by: Costa edwardsii (Roemer); a mixed assemblage which consists of Cytheridea neapolitana Kollmann, Pterygocythereis ceratoptera (Bosquet), Tegmenia rugosa (Costa), Acanthocythereis hystrix (Reuss) and Xestoleberis communis (G.W. Muller); and Aurila convexa (Baird). The relations between the dominant species, lithology and CaCO3 concentration have been investigated, and the results are compared with other shelf environments within the Mediterranean and Aegean regions. Pterygocythereis, Costa, Tegmenia and Cytheridea are abundant in muddy substrates; Aurila and Acanthocythereis are abundant in sandy substrates. Acanthocythereis hystrix (Reuss), Aurila convexa (Baird), Buntonia subulata Ruggieri, Carinocythereis antiquata (Baird), Carinocythereis carinata (Roemer), Costa batei (Brady), Costa edwardsii (Roemer), Cytheridea neapolitana Kollmann, Celtia quadridentata (Baird), Loxoconcha rhomboidea (Fischer), Pterygocythereis jonesii (Baird) and Semicytherura acuticostata (Sars) are common, and similar species are recorded from other continental shelves of the Mediterranean. Copyright (C) 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.