Abstract The behavioral pattern of Vibrio parahaemolytics during the winter season (December 1988 to March 1989) in the water column, sediment, plankton and sinking particles was determined in a eutrophic marine environment. A total of 15 environmental parameters and seven microbial characteristics were examined. This halophile was isolated sporadically from bottom water and plankton materials, whereas it was undetectable in the surface water and sediment samples. However, V. parahaemolyticus was isolated from the sinking particles continuously throughout the sampling period with highest counts during February 1989. Out of 195 strains identified, 10 Vibrio spp. and 3 Listonella spp. were observed of which V. alginolyticus was predominantly isolated irrespective of the samples tested. Simple correlation and multiple regression analyses show that the occurrence of V. parahaemolyticus is not governed by any single biotic or abiotic factor of the environment. Possibly, the cumulative effect of all these environmental parameters on the distribution of V. parahaemolyticus is conceivable.