Carl Chun, German zoologist, studied at the universities of Göttingen and Leipzig, graduating at the latter university in 1874. He became a lecturer at the University of Leipzig in 1878, professor at the University of Königsberg in 1883, and at the University of Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland) in 1891. From 1898 he was professor at Leipzig, where he served as rector during 1907-1908. In the course of his career he also worked at the zoological station in Naples, Italy, and in 1887-1888 in the Canary Islands. His research was on deep sea fauna (especially free swimming animals), oceanography, and botany, leading to many papers, books and monographs on, among others, the Siphonophora (Class Hydrozoa) of the Canary Islands (1891-1892) and of the East African coast (1896); the Coelenterata (issued in parts, 1889-1916); arctic and antarctic plankton (1897); and the Cephalopoda of the Michael Sars North Atlantic deap sea expedition (1910).
During 1898-1899 Chun headed the Deutsche Tiefsee-Expedition, in the steamer Valdivia, with professor Andreas F.W. Schimpers* as botanist. They visited the Cape and investigated South African waters, collecting marine invertebrates in False Bay and Algoa Bay, and on the Agulhas Bank. Chun published a popular account of the expedition, Aus den Tiefen des Weltmeeres: Schilderungen von der Deutschen Tiefsee-Expedition... (1900), which included a description of the southern Cape and Agulhas Bank (pp. 151-162). A second edition appeared in 1903, and a Dutch translation in 1905. The scientific findings were published in Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der Deutschen Tiefsee-Expedition auf dem Dampfer "Valdivia", 1898-1899 (1908). This work included an extensive contribution on the botany of the Cape Colony, written by H.W. Rudolph Marloth*, as Schimpers had died. Chun was commemorated in the name of the South African marine mollusc Siliquaria chuni. The University of Oslo awarded him an honorary doctoral degree in 1911.