Virtually all living organisms carry out some form of respiration. This Annals issue presents a collection of review articles from speakers at the Third International Congress of Respiratory Science, held July 6–10, 2014 in Bad Honnef, Germany, covering a wide range of topics that reflect the integrative and interdisciplinary nature of respiratory science as a biological discipline. The respiratory-related topics discussed in this issue take readers on a journey that begins in the 1600s with a contribution on the early history of high-altitude physiology. We also learn about remarkable alternatives to oxygen respiration in microbes and how metabolic arrest in plants affects photosynthetic performance and thereby the production of oxygen. We see how toxic molecules can act as important players in cellular signaling for respiring plants and how vertebrates detect and cope with hypoxia. Stable isotopes analyzed in breaths teach us about “fuel” use in humans and various animals, and respiratory physiology is correlated to basic ecological phenomena and has implications for understanding climate change. A review of some recent advances related to the general functional and evolutionary morphology of the respiratory apparatus among terrestrial vertebrates rounds out this issue.