In situ mesocosm experiments using a calcareous sand flat from a coastal area of the island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean Sea were performed in order to study the response of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) to controlled crude oil contamination, or heavy contamination with naphthalene. Changes in the microbial community caused by the contamination were monitored by a combination of comparative sequence analysis of 16S rRNA genes, fluorescence in situ hybridization, cultivation approaches and metabolic activity rates. Our results showed that crude oil and naphthalene negatively influenced the total microbial community as the natural increase in cell numbers due to the seasonal dynamics was attenuated. However, both contaminants enhanced the sulfate reduction rates, as well as the culturability of SRB. Our results suggested the presence of autochthonous deltaproteobacterial SRBs that were able to degrade crude oil or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons such as naphthalene in anaerobic sediment layers.