Trends of dissolved oxygen content of the surface and bottom layers of the northern Adriatic Sea are analysed for the period 1911-1984. An increase in the surface layer and a decrease in the bottom layer are observed in all seasons except winter. Although the oxygen content of the water column as a whole has not changed significantly, it is inferred, from the increasing difference between the surface and the bottom layer, that the primary productivity of the northern Adriatic Sea is increasing. As the average midsummer oxygen content of the bottom layer decreases, the frequency of mass mortality in the benthic fauna is expected to increase, especially in the northern and western subareas. © 1987.
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