Aerobic anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria (AAnP) were recently proposed to be significant contributors to global oceanic carbon and energy cycles. However, AAnP abundance, spatial distribution, diversity and potential ecological importance remain poorly understood. Here we present metagenomic data from the Global Ocean Sampling expedition indicating that AAnP diversity and abundance vary in different oceanic regions. Furthermore, we show for the first time that the composition of AAnP assemblages change between different oceanic regions, with specific bacterial assemblages adapted to open ocean or coastal areas respectively. Our results support the notion that marine AAnP populations are complex and dynamic, and compose an important fraction of bacterioplankton assemblages in certain oceanic areas.