What do you get when you combine a photosynthesis-challenged fungus with a sugar-producing alga? Lichens – in this case, the British soldier lichen. Look at this beautiful Lorenzen model and you are immediately struck by the bright “Redcoat” colour that inspired the lichen’s name. The red areas are where the spores are produced. These spores are spread by the wind to form a new fungus, which then needs an alga to join with it before a new lichen can be created. Common in Nova Scotia, the British soldier lichen (and others like it) helps to break down decaying wood, hastening the return of nutrients to the soil.