Coral reefs represent one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. The Moorea Coral Reef Long-term Ecological Research (MCR LTER) site was established by the National Science Foundation in 2004 as a model system to better understand factors that mediate coral community structure and function. A primary goal of the MCR LTER is to explore the effects of external drivers such as disturbance and global climate change on the resilience of coral reefs. This goal is achieved through long term-observations, experimental tests and models. Long-term trends in community structure are used to generate hypotheses that tested experimentally. These empirical studies are then synthesized and modeled to gain novel insight into the responses of coral reefs to changing environments.