Community composition, biomass and primary production of phytoplankton were studied in the east- ernmost section of the Westerschelde estuary in 1984. Photosynthetic characteristics were compared with distribution of some dominant phytoplankton species along a salinity gradient from 5 to 22 Spring phytoplankton, with Cyclotella meneghiniana (freshwater) and Skeletonema costatum (marine) as the dominant species grew faster than summer phytoplankton. In summer, biomass achieved its maximum, due to the riverine Scenedesmus species and the marine diatoms Thalassiosira levanderi and Ditylum brightwellii, as dominants. Growth conditions were more favourable to phytoplankton communities above 15%, than below this salinity. The data were compared with previous studies (1972) of species composition in the area.