This study presents a detailed description of gastrulation in the white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus, using scanning electron microscopy, histology, and time-lapse filming and video microscopy. This morphological analysis describes the similarity of gastrula structure in the sturgeon and the amphibian Xenopus laevis, and suggests that the species share many developmental mechanisms. It also identifies important differences, such as the equatorial dorsal lip in sturgeon, and provides a basis for interpreting experiments that test the effect of these differences on gastrulation. The onset of gastrulation in the sturgeon is marked by the appearance of a blastoporal equatorial pigment line that forms as the apices of bottle cells contract and concentrate surface pigment granules. Bottle cell formation at the blastopore lip and involution of surface material through the blastopore are strikingly similar to the equivalent processes in amphibian embryos. As gastrulation continues, a distinct cleft of Brachet forms between pre-involution and post-involution material. Following involution, the prospective axial mesoderm located on the dorsal surface of the late blastula (Ballard and Ginsburg: J. Exp. Zool., 213:69-103, 1980) ingresses from a central zone in the posterior archenteron roof surface in a process that is unlike any in Xenopus, but resembles events in other amphibians (Purcell, 1992; Smith: Dev. Biol., 98:250-254, 1983; King: Biol. Bull., 4:287-300, 1903). The detailed comparison of similarities and differences in gastrulation in different vertebrate lineages yields insights into the function and versatility of common developmental mechanisms.