Microorganisms dominate terrestrial environments in the polar regions and Arctic soils are known to harbour significant microbial diversity, far more diverse and numerous in the region than was once thought. Furthermore, the geographic distribution and structure of Arctic microbial communities remains elusive, despite their important roles in both biogeochemical cycling and in the generation and decomposition of climate active gases. Critically, Arctic soils are estimated to store over 1500 Pg of carbon and, thus, have the potential to generate positive feedback within the climate system. As the Arctic region is currently undergoing rapid change, the likelihood of faster release of greenhouse gases such as CO2 , CH4 and N2 O is increasing. Understanding the microbial communities in the region, in terms of their diversity, abundance and functional activity, is key to producing accurate models of greenhouse gas release. This review brings together existing data to determine what we know about microbial diversity and biogeography in Arctic soils.