The recent discovery of complete ammonia oxidizers (comammox), which convert ammonia to nitrate in a single organism, revolutionized the conventional understanding that two types of nitrifying microorganisms have to be involved in the nitrification process for more than 100 years. However, how different types of nitrifiers in response to salinity change remains largely unclear. This study not only investigated nitrifier community (including ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), comammox and nitrite-oxidizing Nitrospira) in the Nanliu estuary to find the ecological relationship between salinity and functional communities and also studied the physiology of a typical comammox Nitrospira inopinata in response to a salinity gradient. Based on sequences retrieved with four sets of functional gene primes, comammox Nitrospira was in general, mainly composed of clade A, with a clear separation of clade A1 subgroup in all samples and clade A2 subgroup in low salinity ones. As expected, group I.1b and group I.1a AOA dominated the AOA community in low- and high-salinity samples, respectively. Nitrosomonas-AOB were detected in all samples while Nitrosospira-AOB were mainly found in relatively high-salinity samples. Regarding general Nitrospira, lineages II and IV were the major groups in most of the samples, while lineage I Nitrospira was only detected in low-salinity samples. Furthermore, the comammox pure culture of N. inopinata showed an optimal salinity at 0.5‰ and ceased to grow at 12.8‰ for ammonia oxidation, but remained active for nitrite oxidation. These results show new evidence regarding niche specificity of different nitrifying microorganisms modulated mainly by salinity, and also a clear response by comammox N. inopinata to a wide range of simulated salinity levels.