Discovering the underwater secrets of the Congo River

The Congo River is one of the world’s largest rivers, second only to the Amazon in size, but far less understood.

River surveys

Over three years, the international team covered 1700km of the river between Kinshasa and Kisangani, using sonar to measure river depth, and a technique called acoustic doppler current profiling to measure the water flow. They also measured the absolute elevation of the river above sea level, allowing them to map the slope of the river as it makes its way to the sea.

A group of people stood on a large boat sitting on the Congo river. One of them is holding a piece of scientific apparatus
The Congo River Survey boat and research team

Useful data

From the start, the ACBI consortium wanted to be sure the data they gathered could and would be used by those who live and work with the Congo. They involved local communities, government officials and international development agencies in the project right from the start, to ensure the research would meet their needs.

The Global Food Partnership 2022 annual meeting at the University of Leeds

Protecting infrastructure

In fact, the information gathered on the Congo is already being used even more widely than first envisaged.



The University of Leeds was founded in 1904, and its origins go back to the nineteenth century with the founding of the Leeds School of Medicine in 1831.

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