BackgroundThe total bacterial community plays an important role in aquatic ecosystems. In this study, bacterial communities and diversity along the shores of the Upper Gulf of Thailand were first characterized. The association between bacterial communities and types of land use was also evaluated.ResultsThe bacterial communities and diversity of seawater in the Upper Gulf of Thailand, with regard to types of land use, were first revealed by using Illumina next-generation sequencing. A total of 4953 OTUs were observed from all samples in which 554 OTUs were common. The bacterial communities in sampling sites were significantly different from each other. The run-off water from three types of land use significantly affected the community richness and diversity of marine bacteria. Aquaculture sites contained the highest levels of community richness and diversity, followed by mangrove forests and tourist sites. Seawater physicochemical parameters including salinity, turbidity, TSS, total N, and BOD5, were significantly different when grouped by land use. The bacterial communities were mainly determined by salinity, total N, and total P. The species richness estimators and OTUs were positively correlated with turbidity. The top ten most abundant phyla and genera as well as the distribution of bacterial classes were characterized. The Proteobacteria constituted the largest proportions in all sampling sites, ranging between 67.31 and 78.80%. The numbers of the Marinobacterium, Neptuniibacter, Synechococcus, Candidatus Thiobios, hgcI clade (Actinobacteria), and Candidatus Pelagibacter were significantly different when grouped by land use.ConclusionsType of land use significantly affected bacterial communities and diversity along the Upper Gulf of Thailand. Turbidity was the most influential parameter affecting the variation in bacterial community composition. Salinity, total N, and P were the ones of the important factors that shaped the bacterial communities. In addition, the variations of bacterial communities from site-to-site were greater than within-site. The Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, Cyanobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Euryarchaeota, Planctomycetes, Firmicutes, Deep Sea DHVEG-6, and Marinimicrobia were the most and common phyla distributed across the Upper Gulf of Thailand.