For bioluminescence imaging studies in small animals, it is important to be able to accurately localize the three-dimensional (3D) distribution of the underlying bioluminescent source. The spectrum of light produced by the source that escapes the subject varies with the depth of the emission source because of the wavelength-dependence of the optical properties of tissue. Consequently, multispectral or hyperspectral data acquisition should help in the 3D localization of deep sources. In this paper, we describe a framework for fully 3D bioluminescence tomographic image acquisition and reconstruction that exploits spectral information. We describe regularized tomographic reconstruction techniques that use semi-infinite slab or FEM-based diffusion approximations of photon transport through turbid media. Singular value decomposition analysis was used for data dimensionality reduction and to illustrate the advantage of using hyperspectral rather than achromatic data. Simulation studies in an atlas-mouse geometry indicated that sub-millimeter resolution may be attainable given accurate knowledge of the optical properties of the animal. A fixed arrangement of mirrors and a single CCD camera were used for simultaneous acquisition of multispectral imaging data over most of the surface of the animal. Phantom studies conducted using this system demonstrated our ability to accurately localize deep point-like sources and show that a resolution of 1.5 to 2.2 mm for depths up to 6 mm can be achieved. We also include an in vivo study of a mouse with a brain tumour expressing firefly luciferase. Co-registration of the reconstructed 3D bioluminescent image with magnetic resonance images indicated good anatomical localization of the tumour.