Wetlands are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems, providing numerous ecological, economic, and social benefits to society. Wetlands provide vital ecosystem services and processes, such as nutrient cycling, water purification, reducing pollution, carbon sequestration, groundwater recharge, flood reduction, erosion control, and habitats for aquatic flora/fauna, opportunities for education, aesthetics, and recreation. Wetlands help to conserve biodiversity by providing habitat for fish, planktons, aquatic plants, insects, and crustaceans, as well as feeding and resting areas for water birds. Food chains/food webs describe the structure of communities inhabiting a particular ecosystem and the associated energy as well as nutrient flows, and the interactions between species. Wetlands also aid in remediation through removal of nutrients (like nitrate, phosphate, etc.) and heavy metals from water.
The current issue (Sahyadri E News LXXX) presents the economic valuation of microalgae in the wetlands of Shivamogga district, Karnataka. Microalgae in wetlands provide several beneficial ecosystem services to the society, such as provisioning services, regulating services, and cultural services. Microalgae have been recognised as an indicator of trophic status and water quality in lakes. Microalgae serve as a source of proteins, fatty acids, minerals, and essential bioactive compounds, hence they are widely used for industrial and commercial purposes.