Amino acids and sugars in marine basin sediments, in particulate matter of overlying waters, and in solution in these waters were investigated. Comparison of the percentage distribution of amino acids in sediments with those dissolved or in suspended particulate matter in overlying waters reveals several interesting differences. Arginine decreases rapidly with depth in the particulate matter and is not present in the dissolved state, whereas it is highly abundant in the sediments. In contrast, ornithine, serine and glycine are relatively more abundant in the water. The high concentration of β-alanine in sediments and its absence in the sea may result from a possible decarboxylation of aspartic acid. With depth of burial, glutamic and aspartic acids increase. Experimental data suggest that part of the amino acids in sediments are produced biologically by microbes and burrowing animals in the early stages of diagenesis and that they are not merely survivors of diagenesis. Comparable biogeochemical differences between organic matter in the sea and that in sediments are observed in the case of sugars. Here again, carbohydrates are both products and survivors of diagenesis. Certain phenols and indoles also are found in the sediments and the sea. A tentative interpretation is offered as to the probable source of the organic matter in the sediments.