Marina Salas

Research themes

  • Animal welfare
  • Animal behaviour


My primary responsibility is to develop and supervise welfare and behaviour research projects in both Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO. I work closely with caretakers, caretakers’ coordinators, curators and students, as well as local and international collaborators.

Extra activities

  • Within the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA), I am member of the EAZA Animal Welfare Working Group and an instructor for the EAZA Academy for the Animal Welfare Assessments Workshop.
  • Lecturer at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB, Master’s Degree in Animal Welfare).

Research Interests

The principal focus of my research with zoo animals involves the study of different welfare indicators as well as the development and application of species-specific protocols. Among the advantages to this research are the ability to have earlier detection and closer examination of welfare issues, identify negative aspects and concerns, as well as creating strategies for sustainable long-term improvements.

Brief Biography

I am a veterinarian. I obtained a BVetMed at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in 2011 and a MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. I received a PhD in 2017 from the UAB about the assessment of welfare in zoo animals using physiological and behavioural indicators. Currently, I am working as a Postdoc and Research Coordinator for Animal Welfare at the Centre for Research and Conservation of Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO.

Key Publications

Berenice Quintanilla, Alessia Diana, and Marina Salas (2023) Enhancing welfare in a mixed exhibit: The impact of dispersed whole food on activity levels and feeding behaviours of Mexican military macaws and red-billed curassows. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research 11(4): 366-375, doi/org/10.19227/jzar.v11i4.771

Sarah Depauw,  Leen Verbist, Jeroen M.G. Stevens, and Marina Salas (2023) Feeding management of giraffe towards positive welfare. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research 11(4): 400-413,

Oriol Tallo-Parra, Marina Salas, and Xavier Manteca (2023) Zoo Animal Welfare Assessment: Where Do We Stand? Animals  13: 1996, doi: 10.3390/ani13121966

Alessia Diana, Marina Salas, Zjef Pereboom, Michael Mendl, and Tomas Norton (2021) A systematic review of the use of technology to monitor welfare in zoo animals: is there space for improvement? Animals 11: 3048, doi: 10.3390/ani11113048

Marina Salas, Amanda Fernández-Fontelo, Eva Martínez-Nevado, Jesús Fernández-Morán, Agustín López-Goya, and Xavier Manteca (2021) Caretaker score reliability for personality assessment of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Animals 11: 2073, doi: 10.3390/ani11072073

Marina Salas, Daan W. Laméris, Arno Depoortere, Lise Plessers, and Jonas Verspeek (2021) Zoo visitor attitudes are more influenced by animal behaviour than environmental enrichment appearance. Animals 11: 1971, doi: 10.3390/ani11071971

Daan W. Laméris, Jonas Verspeek, Arno Depoortere, Lise Plessers, and Marina Salas (2021) Effects of Enclosure and Environmental Enrichment on the Behaviour of Ring-Tailed Lemurs (Lemur catta). Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens 2: 164–173

Marina Salas, Xavier Manteca, Teresa Abáigar, Maria Delclaux, Conrad Enseñat, Eva Martínez-Nevado, Miguel Ángel Quevedo, Hugo Fernández-Bellon (2018) Using farm animal welfare protocols as a base to assess the welfare of wild animals in captivity - Case study: dorcas gazelles (Gazella dorcas). Animals 8: 111

Marina Salas, Déborah Temple, Teresa Abáigar, Mariano Cuadrado, Maria Delclaux, Conrad Enseñat, Vanessa Almagro, Eva Martínez-Nevado, Miguel Ángel Quevedo, Annaïs Carbajal, Oriol Tallo-Parra, Maria Sabés-Alsina, Marta Amat, Manel Lopez-Bejar, Hugo Fernández-Bellon, and Xavier Manteca (2016) Aggressive behaviour and hair cortisol levels in captive dorcas gazelles (Gazella dorcas) as animal-based welfare indicators. Zoo Biology 35: 467-473

Xavier Manteca, Marta Amat, Marina Salas and Déborah Temple (2016) Animal-based indicators to assess welfare in zoo animals. CAB Reviews 11: No. 010

More on ResearchGate