The effects of the anti-methanogenic compound, bromochloromethane (BCM), on rumen microbial fermentation and ecology were examined in vivo. Japanese goats were fed a diet of 50 % Timothy grass and 50 % concentrate and then sequentially adapted to low, mid and high doses of BCM. The goats were placed into the respiration chambers for analysis of rumen microbial function and methane and H2 production. The levels of methane production were reduced by 5, 71 and 91 %, and H2 production was estimated at 545, 2941 and 3496 mmol/head per d, in response to low, mid and high doses of BCM, respectively, with no effect on maintenance feed intake and digestibility. Real-time PCR quantification of microbial groups showed a significant decrease relative to controls in abundance of methanogens and rumen fungi, whereas there were increases in Prevotella spp. and Fibrobacter succinogenes, a decrease in Ruminococcus albus and R. flavefaciens was unchanged. The numbers of protozoa were also unaffected. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and quantitative PCR analysis revealed that several Prevotella spp. were the bacteria that increased most in response to BCM treatment. It is concluded that the methane-inhibited rumen adapts to high hydrogen levels by shifting fermentation to propionate via Prevotella spp., but the majority of metabolic hydrogen is expelled as H2 gas.