A study of heterotrophic bacteria and vibrios adhering to the copepod Tigriopus fulvus, which lives in Ligurian coast rock pools (Tyrrhenian Sea), was carried out from November 1990 to October 1991. Heterotrophic bacteria, which were always found both free in the water and bound to the T. fulvus organisms, showed a correlation with water temperature and salinity. Vibrio alginolyticus was found free in the water and bound to T. fulvus surfaces during the warmest months. Temperature is the main factor influencing the presence of V. alginolyticus in the rock pool. Attachment of this microorganism to the copepod provides a mechanism for its extended geographic distribution.