Rapid, easy and low cost semi-quantitative methods were tested to study the heterotrophic bacterial community of Posidonia oceanica meadows and were compared to techniques commonly used in microbial ecology. Free and pore-water bacterial densities were estimated by luminescence, and principal enzymatic activities, metabolic capabilities and benthic mineralisation processes were studied with microtitration methods: ApiZym galleries, Biolog microplates and BART™ tests. Bacterial densities varied little throughout the year and were around 5.0·105 and 6.0·106 cells ml−1 of free and pore-water, respectively. The combined use of the ApiZym gallery and the Biolog microtitration plate permitted highlighting bacterial enzymatic activities susceptible to degrade principal organic polymers present in the Posidonia meadow, and to correlate these enzymatic activities to the subsequent potential utilization of resulting monomeric products. Levels of enzymatic activities (1.80–8.36 nmolessubstrates h−1 ml−1) and energetic bacterial metabolism (1.80–6.42 nmolessubstrates h−1 ml−1) presented seasonality relying on the temperature regime and on the primary production (Posidonia and phytoplankton). Main mineralization processes of buried organic matter through sulfate and iron reduction activities were successfully detected. Despite the complexity of the studied ecosystem, results obtained by this semi-quantitative approach, compared to studies applying commonly used methods in microbial ecology, highlighted the same bacterial dominant key processes. Their low cost, rapid and easy use, and the low level of expertise and sophistication they require means that these techniques are of use to many employed in environmental surveys.