The effects of alum [KAl(SO4)2] on free-living and copepod-associated Vibrio cholerae O1 and O139 were investigated by using plate counts and immunofluorescence direct viable counting (DVC). Growth of alum-treated cells in 0.5/1000 Instant Ocean seawater was inhibited, i.e., no growth was obtained on Luria-Bertani (LB) agar or thiosulfate-citrate-bile salt-sucrose (TCBS) agar. However, a significant number of the inhibited cells maintained viability, as measured by DVC. In comparison, a significant number of V. cholerae organisms associated with zooplankton, most of which were crustacean copepods, were viable but nonculturable, with only a small number of cells retaining culturability on LB and TCBS agar. Both DVC and viable plate counts (CFU) were significantly greater for V. cholerae O1 and O139 associated with zooplankton than for V. cholerae in water alone, i.e., without copepods. It is concluded that alum is an effective coagulant but not an effective killing agent for V. cholerae and that association with copepods offers protection for V. cholerae O1 and O139 against alum and chlorine treatments.