Although bacterioplankton and phytoplankton are generally perceived as closely linked in marine systems, specific interactions between discrete bacterioplankton and phytoplankton populations are largely unknown. However, measurements of bacterioplankton distributions during phytoplankton blooms may indicate specific microbial lineages that are responding to phytoplankton populations, and potentially controlling them by producing allelopathic compounds. Here we use a comprehensive molecular approach to identify, characterize and quantify bacterioplankton community responses to an Oregon coast diatom bloom. Total DAPI counts increased by nearly sevenfold in bloom samples, reaching 5.7 x 10(9) cells l(-1), and lineage-specific cell counts using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) indicated that Bacteria accounted for approximately 89% of observed increases. Several dominant members of the bacterial community present outside the bloom (SAR11 and SAR86) did not contribute significantly to observed increases in bloom samples. Clone library and FISH data indicated that uncultured planctomycetes most closely related to Pirellula, and members of the OM43 clade of beta proteobacteria, reached 0.5 x 10(8) and 1.2 x 10(8) cells l(-1), respectively, and were among the dominant lineages in bloom samples.