Despite extensive microbial biodiversity studies around the globe, studies focusing on diversity and community composition of Bacteria in Antarctic coastal regions are still scarce. Here, we studied the diversity and development of bacterioplankton communities from Prydz Bay (Eastern Antarctic) during spring and early summer 2002–2003. Additionally, we investigated the possible shaping effects of solar UV radiation (UV-R: 280–400 nm) on bacterioplankton communities incubated for 13–14 days in 650-L minicosm tanks. Ribosomal DNA sequence analysis of the natural bacterioplankton communities revealed an initial springtime community composed of three evenly abundant bacterial classes: Cytophaga–Flavobacteria–Bacteroidetes (CFB), Gammaproteobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria. At the end of spring, a shift occurred toward a CFB-dominated community, most likely a response to the onset of a springtime phytoplankton bloom. The tail end of Prydz Bay clone library diversity revealed sequences related to Deltaproteobacteria, Verrucomicrobiales, Planctomycetes, Gemmatimonadetes and an unclassified bacterium (ANT4E12). Minicosm experiments showed that incubation time was the principal determinant of bacterial community composition and that UV-R treatment significantly changed the composition in only two of the four experiments. Thus, the successional maturity of the microbial community in our minicosm studies appears to be a greater determinant of bacterial community composition rather than the nonprofound and subtle effects of UV-R.