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. With the pen for visual communication, pipette for scientific research, and the pangolin for education, awareness, and conservation work - my goal is to understand the world of natural history and save it's inhabitants in the process.
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. Currently my focus is diving into the world of wildlife disease ecology and the web of zoonotic, viral networks.
A mammal, just like you and I. Currently there are eight extant (living) pangolin species, all taxonomically grouped within a single taxonomically-recognized family, Manidae. All eight species live within two continents: 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 used in traditional medicine to falsely cure diseases and are also the most trafficked animals in the underground market. Consequently their 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. With the pangolin as my longtime favorite animal, I strive to illustrate (all) poorly-known species in dire need of our help, to spark a conversation for conservation's sake, and provide the opportunity to educate others on the existence, importance, and stewardship of endless forms most beautiful.
Check out Save Pangolins, an organization that I collaborate with, trust, and also know that their work is helping to conserve pangolin species around the world by transforming the dynamics between human and wildlife conflict. Their networks around the world are set up to maximize communication and expertise surrounding global pangolin conservation and education efforts.