The bacterial community of Zostera marina-inhabited bulk sediment vs. root-associated bacteria was investigated by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and sequencing, and the spatial extension of the oxygen loss from roots was determined by oxygen microsensors. Extensive oxygen loss was found in the tip region of the youngest roots, and most of the rhizoplane of Z. marina roots was thus anoxic. A significant difference between the bacterial communities associated with the roots and bulk sediment was found. No significant differences were found between differently aged root-bundles. Terminal restriction fragments (TRFs) assigned to sulfate-reducing Deltaproteobacteria showed a relative mean distribution of 12% and 23% of the PCR-amplified bacterial community in the bulk-sediment at the two sites, but only contributed <2% to the root-associated communities. TRFs assigned to Epsilonproteobacteria showed a relative mean distribution of between 5% and 11% in the root-associated communities of the youngest root bundle, in contrast to the bulk-sediment where this TRF only contributed <1.3%. TRFs assigned to Actinobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria also seemed important first root-colonizers, whereas TRFs assigned to Deltaproteobacteria became increasingly important in the root-associated community of the older root bundles. The presence of the roots thus apparently selects for a distinct bacterial community, stimulating the growth of potential symbiotic Epsilon- and Gammaproteobacteria and/or inhibiting the growth of sulfate-reducing Deltaproteobacteria.