The fish gill is a multipurpose organ that, in addition to providing for aquatic gas exchange, plays dominant roles in osmotic and ionic regulation, acid-base regulation, and excretion of nitrogenous wastes. Thus, despite the fact that all fish groups have functional kidneys, the gill epithelium is the site of many processes that are mediated by renal epithelia in terrestrial vertebrates. Indeed, many of the pathways that mediate these processes in mammalian renal epithelial are expressed in the gill, and many of the extrinsic and intrinsic modulators of these processes are also found in fish endocrine tissues and the gill itself. The basic patterns of gill physiology were outlined over a half century ago, but modern immunological and molecular techniques are bringing new insights into this complicated system. Nevertheless, substantial questions about the evolution of these mechanisms and control remain.