Résumé : Copper based paints are used to prevent fouling on the hulls of ships. The widely documented effect of copper on hull assemblages may be primarily due to direct effects on the invertebrates themselves or indirect effects from copper absorbed into the microbial biofilm before settlement has commenced. Artificial units of habitat were exposed to varied regimes of copper to examine (1) the photosynthetic efficiency and pigments of early-colonising biofilms, and (2) subsequent macroinvertebrate assemblage change in response to the different regimes of copper. Macroinvertebrate assemblages were found to be less sensitive to the direct effects of copper than indirect effects as delivered through biofilms that have been historically exposed to copper, with some species more tolerant than others. This raises further concern for the efficacy of copper as a universal antifoulant on the hulls of ships, which may continue to assist the invasion of copper-tolerant invertebrate species.