Texas Tech University's students, faculty and staff set a world record during the Arbor Day celebrations on April 29 for the most people in one place wearing frog masks, according to the World Records Academy.
About 700 people donned the froggy faces for the coinciding Save the Frogs Day, organized by Ximena Bernal, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Her lab studies the amphibians and dwindling frog populations.
Undergraduate and graduate student researchers from Bernal's lab also assisted in the day's event.
"I am very excited and extremely proud of the great job carried by the undergraduate and graduate students in my lab, but also proud of our community at Tech that quickly responded positively to our plea for amphibians," Bernal said. "We are in the process of submitting the documentation to the Guinness Book World Record Committee, and we hope to have their final approval soon. I see breaking this world record as yet another way to increase the group of people we are reaching to share our concerns about the plight of frogs and toads."
Frogs face threats internationally on several fronts, from pollution, disease, habitat loss, climate change and overharvesting by the pet and food industries, Bernal said. About 200 amphibian species have vanished during the last 30 years – a loss of one species every two months.
"The event was a fun way to make people aware of a very serious problem," Bernal said. "Frogs are very important to our ecosystem. They eat insects such as mosquitoes that carry diseases that harm humans and animals. And they in turn are food for other creatures. If frogs disappear, then the food chain is disrupted, and we do not know what kind of negative ramifications that would have on other species."
Information from: Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University