The Roseobacter lineage is a phylogenetically coherent, physiologically heterogeneous group of alpha-Proteobacteria comprising up to 25% of marine microbial communities, especially in coastal and polar oceans, and it is the only lineage in which cultivated bacteria are closely related to environmental clones. Currently 41 subclusters are described, covering all major marine ecological niches (seawater, algal blooms, microbial mats, sediments, sea ice, marine invertebrates). Members of the Roseobacter lineage play an important role for the global carbon and sulfur cycle and the climate, since they have the trait of aerobic anoxygenic photosynthesis, oxidize the greenhouse gas carbon monoxide, and produce the climate-relevant gas dimethylsulfide through the degradation of algal osmolytes. Production of bioactive metabolites and quorum-sensing-regulated control of gene expression mediate their success in complex communities. Studies of representative isolates in culture, whole-genome sequencing, e.g., of Silicibacter pomeroyi, and the analysis of marine metagenome libraries have started to reveal the environmental biology of this important marine group.