Phlorotannins are metabolites found only in the Phaeophyceae (brown algae) and have a variety of metabolic roles, including both primary (e.g. cell wall construction) and secondary (e.g. herbivore defence and UV protection). This study aimed to establish the level of variation of phlorotannins in two species of dominant Antarctic macroalgae (Desmarestia anceps and D. menziesii). Thirteen samples were taken from specific locations throughout the thallus of multiple individuals at two depths at three locations near Anvers Island, Antarctica. Overall average concentrations were 0.117±0.003 g g-1dwt in D. anceps and 0.052±0.002 g g-1dwt in D. menziesii. Concentrations varied greatly at the 13 sampling locations in each individual, but not in any consistent manner. Significant variation occurred between locations in both species and between depths in D. anceps. © Springer-Verlag 2005.