Chun was born in Höchst, today a part of Frankfurt, and studied zoology at the University of Leipzig, where from 1878 to 1883 he was privat-docent of zoology and an assistant to Rudolf Leuckart. After professorial posts in Königsberg (1883-1891) and Breslau (1891-1898), he returned to Leipzig as a professor of zoology.
He initiated and led the German deep sea expedition (1898/99 "Valdivia" Expedition), which set out on July 31, 1898 from Hamburg to explore the deep sea in the subantarctic seas. They visited Bouvetøya, the Kerguelen Islands, and other islands in the area, before returning to Hamburg, where they arrived on May 1, 1899.
He died on April 11, 1914 in Leipzig, Germany, aged 61.
- Aus den Tiefen des Weltmeeres, Jena 1900.
- Allgemeine Biologie, Leipzig 1915.
- Die Cephalopoden, 2 volumes., Jena 1910.
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