Sediment samples were collected monthly from Acton Lake, a eutrophic reservoir located in an agricultural region of southwestern Ohio, from three stations (River, Middle, and Dam) during the period May 1995 through January 1997. Sedimentary microbial biomass and community structures from these stations were studied using phospholipid analysis. At the River and Middle stations, the water column remained aerobic throughout the year, whereas the water overlying the Dam station sediments became anaerobic during summer stratification. Sedimentary microbial biomass at the River and Middle stations, as measured by the phospholipid phosphate (PLP) method, ranged from 225 to 450 nmol PLP g?1 d.w. (dry weight). Sedimentary microbial biomass at the Dam station was typically greater and ranged from 500 to 1,500 nmol PLP g?1 d.w. Principal component analysis of phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profiles indicated that the sedimentary microbial communities at all three stations displayed seasonal patterns of change. Among these patterns of change was a shift from aerobic microorganisms during times of cold water to anaerobic microorganisms during times of warm water. The Dam station differed from the River and Middle stations in that sediments from this station had disproportionately more polyenoic fatty acids, whereas sediments from the River and Middle stations had disproportionately more bacterial fatty acids. These data suggest that the Dam station may be a depositional zone for microeukaryotic phytoplankton produced in the overlying water column. These findings have implications for the understanding of carbon flux in reservoirs and preservation of organic matter in aquatic systems.