A total of 220 strains of staphylococci isolated from marine and estuarine surface water samples were examined for 62 morphological, physiological, and biochemical characteristics. The taxonomic data were analyzed by numerical taxonomy; 86% of the cultures were classified as or , 5% were classified as , and 9% were classified as spp. An association was observed between species of isolated from surface water samples and geographic source. , the most common of the coagulase-negative staphylococci encountered in clinical laboratories, was the dominant species in samples of polluted water, whereas , a less common species in clinical specimens, was dominant in water samples collected from unpolluted regions. The phenetic characteristics of the environmental staphylococcal isolates are presented.


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