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Growth of microorganisms takes place during the short summer season in the Arctic and Antarctic, although some habitats are sterile. Both polar regions may be characterized by low metabolic activity due to a number of factors which are a result of the physical and chemical environment. In the Arctic in addition to temperature there is low pH, and low oxidation-reduction potential because of low concentrations of oxygen. The Antarctic is characterized by low temperature, moisture, high osmotic pressure, antibiotic (s) in rookeries, limited organic matter in most habitats, and possible toxic ions, especially in those areas where moisture is low.