Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, is the fourth of four Science Objects in the Coral Reef Ecosystems SciPack. It explores the natural and human causes of ecosystem stress. Human beings live near coral ecosystems and use them in a variety of ways. Increasing amounts of stress is brought on these ecosystems as humans continue to modify the surrounding environment as a result of population growth, technology, and consumption. Human destruction of habitats through direct harvesting, pollution, atmospheric changes, and other factors is threatening the stability and overall health of many coral reefs. Human activities may also exacerbate the impact of natural disturbances on coral reefs or compromise the ability of the reef to recover from events such as hurricanes, tsunamis, or disease.