The Ordovician and Silurian rocks of the Southern Uplands of Scotland have been interpreted as sediments deposited on the northern margin of the Iapetus Ocean. Trace fossils are abundant at many localities in ocean-floor turbidites and mudstones that usually lack all other evidence of life. Twelve ichnogenera are present, and they are mainly meandering locomotion and feeding trails and burrow networks: Dictyodora, Caridolites, Helminthoida, Neonereites, Nereites, Protovirgularia, Gordia, Megagrapton, Paleodictyon, Chondrites, Plano-lites and Skolithos. The trace fossils occur in at least five distinct assemblages and the composition of these was probably controlled by the frequency and nature of the turbidity currents, and possibly by the oxygen content of the mudstones. Where turbidity currents were weak, abundant Dictyodora, together with Caridolites, Neonereites, Nereites, Protovirgularia and Gordia occur in various combinations. Where currents were stronger, traces such as Gordia, Paleodictyon and Megagrapton may be exhumed and cast on turbidite soles, and the sand may contain Skolithos. The ‘deep-sea’ Nereites trace fossil facies is divisible into several assemblages, presumably environmentally controlled.