Prokaryotic life along the salt gradient of the potash marsh resulting from mining waste at Schreyahn, Northern Germany, was screened for the distribution of total prokaryote (assessed by the 16S rRNA gene) and of N2-fixing (nifH gene), denitrifying (nosZ) and nitrifying (amoA) microorganisms. Information on prokaryotes was retrieved from the different soil sites (a) by culturing in conventional media, (b) by isolating the DNA, amplifying the target genes by PCR followed by sequencing, (c) by employing the recently developed computer program (TReFID [Rösch, C., Bothe, H., 2005. Improved assessment of denitrifying, N2-fixing, and total-community bacteria by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis using multiple restriction enzymes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 71, 2026–2035]) based on tRFLP data. New sequences were obtained as well as ones that were almost identical to those found at far distant locations. Whereas the distribution of plants strictly follows the salt gradient, this is apparently not the case with prokaryotes. Bacteria of hypersaline areas coexist with salt-non-tolerant species. The recently developed TReFID program is successfully applied to characterize a prokaryote community structure. Characterization of a prokaryotic community of a potash marsh provided information on the occurrence of many unusual prokaryotes and their horizontal distribution.