Culture-independent molecular biological techniques, including 16S rRNA gene and functional gene clone libraries and microarray analyses using pmoA (encoding a key subunit of particulate methane monooxygenase), were applied to investigate the methanotroph community structure in alkaline soil from a Chinese coal mine. This environment contained a high diversity of methanotrophs, including the type II methanotrophs Methylosinus/Methylocystis, type I methanotrophs related to Methylobacter/Methylosoma and Methylococcus, and a number of as yet uncultivated methanotrophs. In order to identify the metabolically active methane-oxidizing bacteria from this alkaline environment, DNA stable isotope probing (DNA-SIP) experiments using 13CH4 were carried out. This showed that both type I and type II methanotrophs were active, together with methanotrophs related to Methylocella, which had previously been found only in acidic environments. Methylotrophs, including Methylopila and Hyphomicrobium, were also detected in soil DNA and after DNA-SIP experiments. DNA sequence information on the most abundant, active methanotrophs in this alkaline soil will facilitate the design of oligonucleotide probes to monitor enrichment cultures when isolating key alkaliphilic methanotrophs from such environments.