Flora, Fauna + Fungi with Dr. Sapphire McMullan-Fisher

July 19, 2021 Season 3 Episode 15
Flora, Fauna + Fungi with Dr. Sapphire McMullan-Fisher
Show Notes

Catie chats with Dr. Sapphire McMullan-Fisher, an ecologist with a special interest in biodiversity conservation, particularly macrofungi and mosses.

Sapphire is a renowned scientific researcher, speaker, teacher and author with a knack for communicating fungi’s vital ecological roles — and why we should all pay a lot more attention to these remarkable, all-connecting entities.

She's is also a pretty radical member of the community here in Naarm/Melbourne, who last year let Catie + George transform her suburban backyard into a market garden through the Growing Farmers program. 

Wise, lively and friend of the fungi, enjoy this cracking convo with Sapphire McMullan-Fisher.


  • Being a Gondwanan
  • Growing up in a mining town in the Pilbara.
  • From saving African animals to fungi fascination.
  • A fire and fungi pHD in Tasmania.
  • Overcoming dyslexia in academia. 
  • Ecosystems need fungi!
  • Decomposition + partners of plants. 
  • Why to leave the tree debris be.
  • Journey back to the Carboniferous period when all the coal and oil was formed.
  • Fungi eats wood, invertebrates eat fungi, birds eat invertebrates... hey presto!
  • Life goes on. (Even though we’re seriously messing with systems.) 
  • How an understanding of matter recycling gives an appreciation of post-humous existence.
  • Patterns + process + life = wow.
  • Where do humans fit in the bigger picture? Should we just hurry up and extinct ourselves, or…?
  • Making space + food in your garden for other organisms who deserve to be here in the landscape. 
  • How mindfulness of observing nature increase your understanding of it.
  • Find the things that make your curiosity pop. 
  • Ask: what is it? How do I found out more about it?
  • Re-activating our patterning brain.
  • Curiosity as a practice.
  • Being on the spectrum as a superpower. 
  • Growing up thinking you’re not clever. 
  • Absorbing information in tiny little bites.
  • Expanding communicating styles so that everyone gets it.
  • How expectations shape your view of self. 
  • Looking to ecosystems to confirm our need for diversity. 
  • Allowing ourselves to learn and love learning.
  • Biology is not a soft science!
  • How a car accident changed everything. 
  • Having trust that humans won’t be assholes.
  • They say you need a village to raise a child… I need a village just to survive!
  • The impossibility of going life alone.
  • How do you learn to ask people for help?
  • Letting people self select in how they help.
  • Ways to be be radical and resist the status quo.
  • Being sustainable within your limits.
  • What’s the #1 priority in taking action for the world?
  • Letting your inner child guide us towards more fulfilling life and work.


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