Commercial synthetic polymers namely Polycarbonate (PC), Low density polyethylene (LDPE), High density polyethylene (HDPE), and Polypropylene (PP) coupons were immersed for a period of 12 months (Feb 2006 - Feb 2007) in Bay of Bengal, East coast, India. Samples were retrieved every month and the extent of biofouling and biodegradation were monitored. Biofouling was found to depend not only on the season but also on the chemical nature of the polymer. Surface energy of all the four polymers is positively correlated with fouling only at the initial stages (three months) while surface roughness had a negative correlation. The later increased during the study period. Total suspended solids and organic matter were more abundant on HDPE, followed by PP and LDPE, indicating that among polyolefins hydrophobic surfaces (lower surface energy) favor biofouling over one year. Maximum fouling was observed on polycarbonate during initial three months. Chlorophyll a showed a decreasing trend during the study, as secondary foulers such as Balanus amphitrite, were dominant after the monsoon (6th month in the present study). Maximum weight loss was seen in LDPE (1.9%), followed by that in HDPE (1.6%), PC (0.69%) and finally in PP (0.65%) samples in the 12 months time period. FTIR spectra of PC displayed a decrease in carbonate carbonyl index, while an initial increase and a decrease in carbonyl index of polyolefins as a function of time indicated biodegradation. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.