Kongsfjord is an open glacial fjord on the west coast of Svalbard, where the influence of the West Spitzbergen current ameliorates the effects of high latitude (79°N). The fjord is heavily influenced by glacial discharges of meltwater, ice and till, and related environmental gradients in sediments from the glaciers to the open sea include sediment deposition, organic content and disturbance. Other factors, such as the formation and break up of sea ice, also affect benthic communities. In this study spatial patterns in nematode and macrofaunal communities, in samples collected using box-corers and van Veen grabs during a cruise in September 1997, are described, compared and contrasted. Non-parametric multivariate analyses demonstrate that there were cleardifferences in community structure between stations in both macrofaunal and nematode assemblages. At stations where macrofauna were sampled using both box-cores and grabs there were also significant differences between samples collected by different methods, although there is evidence that these were influenced in part by slight differences in sampling location. Some evidence of disturbance to macrofaunal assemblages in the centre of the fjord is apparent. Macrofaunal community composition varied most closely with a combination of depth and sediment C:N ratio, whereas that of nematodes varied most closely with C:N alone. Proportions of feeding groups of nematodes showed little variation along the fjord. There is no evidence of a specialised nematode assemblage inhabiting the part of the fjord subject to the heaviest deposition of sediment. The taxonomic distinctness of nematodes decreased with increasing distance from the source of disturbance. This is in contrast to studies showing that the taxonomic distinctness of nematodes tends to decrease with increasing anthropogenic stress.