Résumé : During spring blooms 1998 and 1999, three complementary methods were used to evaluate the in situ feeding activities of the dominant copepod species of the Belgian coastal zone: gut pigment content analysis using HPLC, the 14C tracer method, and cell count experiments. The results obtained by all three methods consistently showed that Phaeocystis globosa is not an adequate food source for the spring copepods in the Belgian coastal zone. Our results demonstrated that, among the potential prey, copepods strongly selected diatoms and microzooplankton, and that these types of prey accounted for the major part of the ingested carbon. However, diatoms and microzooplankton ingestion did not always seem sufficient in terms of carbon to avoid food limitation. Comparison of clearance rates exerted on different potential prey types during the P. globosa peak with those before and after the P. globosa peak showed that the copepods' feeding pressure on diatoms was reduced during the P. globosa peak while that on microzooplankton was not. The low grazing pressure on P. globosa, together with the preferential grazing on diatoms, which reduces the competition for nutrients, and the predation on microzooplankton organisms, which reduces the microzooplankton grazing pressure on P. globosa cells, are likely to favour the P. globosa bloom in the Southern Bight of the North Sea.