In order to extend previous comparisons between coastal marine bacterioplankton communities and their open ocean and freshwater counterparts, here we summarize and provide new data on a clone library of 105 SSU rRNA genes recovered from seawater collected over the western continental shelf of the USA in the Pacific Ocean. Comparisons to previously published data revealed that this coastal bacterioplankton clone library was dominated by SSU rRNA gene phylotypes originally described from surface waters of the open ocean, but also revealed unique SSU rRNA gene lineages of beta Proteobacteria related to those found in clone libraries from freshwater habitats. beta Proteobacteria lineages common to coastal and freshwater samples included members of a clade of obligately methylotrophic bacteria, SSU rRNA genes affiliated with Xylophilus ampelinus, and a clade related to the genus Duganella. In addition, SSU rRNA genes were recovered from such previously recognized marine bacterioplankton SSU rRNA gene clone clusters as the SAR86, SAR11, and SAR116 clusters within the class Proteobacteria, the Roseobacter clade of the alpha subclass of the Proteobacteria, the marine group A/SAR406 cluster, and the marine Actinobacteria clade. Overall, these results support and extend previous observations concerning the global distribution of several marine planktonic prokaryote SSU rRNA gene phylotypes, but also show that coastal bacterioplankton communities contain SSU rRNA gene lineages (and presumably bacterioplankton) shown previously to be prevalent in freshwater habitats.