Sean Vidal Edgerton, M.Sc.
Virologist, Evolutionary and
My name is Sean Vidal Edgerton and I have dedicated my studies to natural history, biodiversity, conservation, and visual communication. As a Science Illustrator, my work under the Pen & the Pangolin is driven by my innate passion to blend the worlds of art and science. I create art in the service of science and for the purpose of education. My portfolio focuses on the beauty of natural history, biodiversity, and organisms poorly understood and in dire need of our conservation efforts.
After studying Plant Sciences and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz, I completed the graduate program in Science Illustration at CSU Monterey Bay. Since then I've has worked as Wildlife illustrator in Madagascar, entomological Illustrator at the Smithsonian, and now botanical and scientific illustrator at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Recently completed an M.Sc. degree in Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation Biology through the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) and San Francisco State University, with a focus in virology. Alongside my work as an illustrator and freelance artist, I work as a virologist in the Microbiology Department at the California Academy of Sciences, studying the evolution of infectious diseases, with a specific focus on mosquito-borne viruses.
There are eight extant (living) pangolin species, all taxonomically grouped within a single family, Manidae. All eight species live in the tropics: four in Africa, and four in Asia. Every pangolin species is listed as threatened to critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Pangolins are the most trafficked animal on the black market and populations have declined substantially in the past few decades. Fortunately, international conservation efforts have increased dramatically over the years to raise awareness and protect all eight species from extinction. As my longtime favorite animal, I strive to illustrate poorly known species in dire need of our help and to spark a conversation for conservation's sake, as well as providing the opportunity to educate others on the existence, importance, and conservation of pangolins.