Education & Career
Andrei Sourakov studied Medicine in Moscow for two years and then transferred to the Biology Department of Moscow State University, majoring in Entomology and pursuing professionally his avocation as a lepidopterist. After moving to the United States in 1991, he volunteered at the American Museum of Natural History, where he received additional training in Lepidoptera taxonomy and worked on his first taxonomic revision of a genus of hairstreak butterflies. He received his M.S. (1994) and Ph. D. (1997) in Entomology from the University of Florida, where he also worked as a teaching and research assistant, participating in many projects related to Lepidoptera ecology, systematics, and conservation.
In 1998, Sourakov spent a year as a postdoc at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. He was later employed by the USDA’s Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, where his primary focus was on biological control, using wasp parasitoids to control pests. Simultaneously, he contributed his time to the planning of the McGuire Center’s construction and exhibits.
Sourakov’s field outside the United States has taken him to Central Asia, Caucasus, Far East, Latin American countries from Costa Rica to Argentina, Solomon Islands and several African countries.
Sourakov’s interest ranges from autecology and community ecology to taxonomy and systematics. He believes that Lepidoptera is an excellent model group for answering broad biological questions in many fields of science, partly thanks to the tremendous pool of knowledge and collections created by amateurs. Sourakov tries to promote appreciation of insects through photography, filming and popular writing in hope that this will lead to their conservation.