Meyer was born in Vitebsk. He received his education at the University of Dorpat (1813-14) as a student of Karl Friedrich von Ledebour, with whom he later embarked on a scientific journey to the Crimea (1818). In 1826, with Ledebour and Alexander G. von Bunge, he took part in an expedition to the Altay Mountains and the Kirghiz Steppe (Kazakhstan). Plants collected on the trip formed the basis of "Flora Altaica" (four volumes issued between 1829 and 1833).
In 1835 he began work as a botanist for the Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, where he conducted research with Friedrich Ernst Ludwig von Fischer. In 1844 he succeeded Carl Bernhard von Trinius as director of the academy's botanical museum, and in 1850 replaced Fischer as head of the imperial botanical garden. Meyer was the only botanist to have held both positions, being in charge of the garden and museum simultaneously until his death in Saint Petersburg in 1855.
- Enumeratio plantarum novarum a cl. Schrenk lectarum (with Friedrich Ernst Ludwig von Fischer), 1841–1842.
- Flora Altaica; scripsit Carolus Fridericus a Ledebour, adiutoribus Car. Ant. Meyer et Al. a Bunge. (with Karl Friedrich von Ledebour and Alexander Georg von Bunge), 1829–1833.
- Versuch einer Monographie der Gattung Ephedra: durch Abbildungen erläutert, 1846.
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