The spatial and temporal distribution of cadmium (Cd) and phosphate in the Southern Ocean are related to biology and hydrography. During a period of 18 days between transects 5/6 and 11, a phytoplankton spring bloom developed in the Polar Frontal region. Upper water Cd concentrations were not depleted and ranged from 0.2 to 0.8 nM at about 10 m depth. These relatively high Cd concentrations are attributed to upwelling of Upper Circumpolar Deep Water (0.5–1.2 nM in the core) in combination with low biological productivity (0.2 to 0.3 mg m−3 chlorophyll-a, 0.3 g C m−2 d−1). Total particulate Cd concentrations at 40 m depth were between 0.02 and 0.14 nM with the maximum in concentration in the Polar Frontal region. Most of the particulate Cd at this depth (85–94%) was detected in the first phase of a sequential chemical leaching treatment which includes adsorbed Cd as well as Cd incorporated in algae. The Polar Frontal region was characterized by minima in Cd concentration and Cd/phosphate ratio of seawater at both transects; values were the lowest at transect 11 after development of the spring bloom which was dominated by diatoms. This decreasing Cd/phosphate ratio in seawater during spring bloom development was attributed to preferential Cd gross uptake which more than compensated the process of preferential Cd recycling. Within the Upper Circumpolar Deep Water, Cd showed a maximum in concentration similar to that of the major nutrients. Both the Cd concentration and the Cd/phosphate ratio of the deeper water increased in southern direction, from 0.4 to 0.7 nM and from 0.2 to 0.3 nM/μM, respectively. Antarctic Intermediate Water has a Cd concentration of 0.21 nM with a Cd/phosphate ratio of 0.10 nM/μM. In Antarctic Bottom Water, Cd concentrations ranged from 0.60 to 0.82 nM.