Vibrio sp. DI9, recently isolated from Tampa Bay, FL, has been found to be naturally transformed by the broad host range plasmid pKT230 in both filter transformation assays and sterile sediment microcosms. This is the first report of natural transformation by plasmid DNA of aVibrio sp. and of a marine bacterial isolate. Transformation frequencies ranged from 0.3 to 3.1×10−8 transformants per recipient. Transformants were detected by both plating and by selection for growth in liquid medium in the presence of streptomycin and kanamycin and confirmed by probing of southern transfers. Transformation was enhanced by multimeric forms of the plasmid. A technique using sediment microcosms, mixed populations ofVibrio sp. DI9 and another antibiotic resistant organism, and enrichment in liquid media has been developed which allows detection of transformation at frequencies too low to be detected by plating. This technique may serve as a model for the detection of natural transformation in the environment. These results suggest that natural transformation may be one mechanism of horizontal plasmid transfer in the marine environment, and may provide the methodology with which to detect this process in natural populations of bacteria.