A nucleic acid-based approach was used to investigate the dynamics of a microbial community dominated by Xanthobacter autotrophicus GJ10 in the degradation of synthetic wastewater containing 1,2-dichloroethane (DCE). This study was performed over a 140-day period in a nonsterile continuous stirred-tank bioreactor (CSTB) subjected to different operational regimens: nutrient-limiting conditions, baseline operation, and the introduction of glucose as a cosubstrate. The microbial community was analyzed by a combination of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Under nutrient-limiting conditions, DCE degradation was restricted, but this did not affect the dominance of strain GJ10, determined by FISH to comprise 85% of the active population. During baseline operation, DCE degradation improved significantly to over 99.5% and then remained constant throughout the subsequent experimental period. DGGE profiles revealed a stable, complex community, while FISH indicated that strain GJ10 remained the dominant species. During the addition of glucose as a cosubstrate, DGGE profiles showed a proliferation of other species in the CSTB. The percentage of strain GJ10 dropped to 8% of the active population in just 5 days, although this did not affect the DCE biodegradation performance. The return to baseline conditions was accompanied by the reestablishment of strain GJ10 as the dominant species, suggesting that this system responds robustly to external perturbations, both at the functional biodegradation level and at the individual strain level.