Carl Chun

Carl Friedrich Chun ( born October 1, 1852 in Höchst am Main, † April 11, 1914 in Leipzig ) was a German zoologist and deep sea explorer. His life's work is the organization and implementation of the first German deep-sea expedition on the steamer " Valdivia " in the years 1898 / 1899. Chun himself was a specialist in ctenophores and squid.



He was with Lily Vogt, a daughter of Professor Carl Vogt, married. Carl Vogt (1817-1895) was a member of the Frankfurt National Assembly and from 1852 professor at the University of Geneva.

Carl and Lily Chun's 1887 born daughter, the social democratic politician Lily Pringsheim, was married to the plant physiologist Ernst Georg Pringsheim.

Scientific career

Born on October 1, 1852 in High aM Carl Chun spent his school days at the Frankfurt School, where he attended the lectures at the Theatrum anatomicum the Senckenberg foundations. He studied zoology at the universities of Göttingen and Leipzig with Rudolf Leuckart, in which he received his doctorate in 1875 as a doctor of medicine. Later he worked as an assistant to his teacher. In 1876 he went to the Zoological Station Anton Dohrn Naples. With a monograph on the comb jellies, which was published in the series " Fauna and Flora of the Bay of Naples " in 1880, he gained worldwide recognition as a biologist. His main interest was in the depth of sea life, which he examined with self- closing nets constructed on the coasts of Corsica, Dalmatia and the Canary Islands. From 1878, he worked as a lecturer at the University of Leipzig, later in 1883 he received a full professor position at the University of Königsberg. In 1881 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina. Holiday stays on the Mediterranean Chun took to perfect his fishing techniques for pelagic marine animals. In the result of a trip to the Canary Islands in the winter 1887/88 published Chun a thesis entitled: " The pelagic fauna in greater depths and its relation to surface fauna ", thereby founding his reputation as a pioneer of plankton research. In 1889 he participated in the German Plankton Expedition, where he edited the ctenophores and siphonophores. 1891 received Chun, who represented now an authority on marine biology, professor of zoology at the University of Breslau.

His dream of a global exploration of the deep sea he presented in September 1897 at the Assembly of German Natural Scientists and Physicians in Brunswick his colleagues before. With a resolution of the Company was authorized to Chun " highest point " to ask for the realization of his plan. Emperor, the Bundesrat and the Reichstag in favor in January 1898, the high financial demands Chun. In 1898 he was appointed professor of zoology at the University of Leipzig. In a record time the former mail steamer " Valdivia " for the claims an oceanographic expedition was fitted. On 31 July 1898, the Valdivia began her journey through the Atlantic around the southern tip of Africa in the Indian Ocean. On December 16, 1898, she reached the southernmost place in front of the Antarctic Enderby Land and then headed for Sumatra. From there, the ship began the journey home, which led to the east coast of Africa over Sri Lanka and the Seychelles. The last of a total of 268 processed stations was made in the vicinity of Cape Guardafui. On April 28, 1899, the expedition reached the home port of Hamburg. Chun devoted addition to his teaching -intensive publication of the results of the Valdivia expedition, in which he himself wrote the scientific part of the cephalopods.

Total impacted on the processing of the collection material over 70 scientists, among them also the organizer of the Challenger expedition of Sir John Murray. The full publication of the published in 24 volumes and 95 individual deliveries work lasted until 1940. Carl Chun did not live to complete this work. He died on April 11, 1914 a longstanding heart condition in Leipzig. Large parts of the scientific papers of Carl Chun are now at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin and in the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt am Main


  • The ctenophores of the Gulf of Naples and adjacent marine sections: a monograph. Flora and fauna of the Gulf of Naples and adjacent marine sections ed. of the Zoological Station at Naples, 1: xviii, 313 p, Stazione Zoologica Napoli, Leipzig: Engelmann, 1880
  • Catechism of the microscopy. Weber's illustrated catechisms. 138 pp., Leipzig: S.Weber, 1885
  • The pelagic animal world in greater depths and their relationships to the surface fauna. Bibliotheca Zoologica 1 (1): 66 S., Cassel: Fischer, 1887
  • Relations between the Arctic and Antarctic plankton. 64 S., Stuttgart: Naegele, 1897
  • From the depths of the ocean. 1st edition, 549 pp., Jena: Fischer, 1900
  • From the depths of the ocean. 2nd edition, 592 pp., Jena: Fischer, 1903
  • The cephalopods T. 2: Myopsida, Octopoda. Scientific results of the German deep-sea expedition on the steamer Valdivia 1898-1899, 18 ( 2), Jena: Fischer, 1910